Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), whose 60-Member supermajority was shattered Tuesday night with Massachusetts Republican Scott Brown’s Senate victory, extended an olive branch to the GOP Wednesday and laid out an ambitious legislative agenda for 2010.
“Regardless of their outcomes, as I’ve said many times, the American people demand that we work together as partners, not partisans, to improve their lives,— Reid said on the floor.
Reid, who will now count 59 Members in his Conference, ticked off a list of legislative accomplishments from 2009, including the confirmation of Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor and the expansion of the Children’s Health Insurance Program, both of which he said were completed “even with the minority’s minimal help.— Brown defeated state Attorney General Martha Coakley (D) in the special election to replace the late Sen. Edward Kennedy (D). The upset means Reid will no longer enjoy a filibuster-proof majority.
Reid said Tuesday that the Senate has a large to-do list for the second half of the 111th Congress, and in Democrats’ pursuit to enact a series of economy-focused bills, “we will continue to leave a seat at the table for our Republican colleagues.—
“Whether their caucus comprises 40 or 41 members, each composes this body of 100,— Reid said. “We should all be united within the walls of this esteemed chamber, not defined by the aisle that divides its desks.—
Reid also maintained, “In the coming year, we will ensure all Americans can access affordable health care, deny insurance companies the ability to deny health care to the sick, and slash our deficit in the process.— Senate Democrats, already struggling to clear health care reform, face an even bigger hurdle to passing an overhaul now that they lack 60 votes.
But Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) responded and made the case that Brown’s shocking victory Tuesday night is proof that the Senate should start over on health care and avoid a major revamp this year.
“The American people have made it abundantly clear that they’re more interested in shrinking unemployment than expanding government,— McConnell said. “The voters have spoken. They want a course correction. We should listen to them.—