Reid Vows to Move Financial Bill; Immigration Waits

Posted April 13, 2010 at 3:03pm

Updated: 5:03 p.m.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) on Tuesday laid out his agenda for this work period, saying that financial regulatory reform was among Democrats’ priorities and that overhauling immigration would have to wait.

Reid said his ability to accomplish the majority’s legislative priorities is complicated by Republican intransigence. But he said he expected the Senate to address measures dealing with food safety, energy, a long-term extension of unemployment benefits, and the confirmation of a series of White House nominees. Reid said he expects he’ll have to file cloture on many of those, and he is planning for several late-night votes.

“We have a lot of work to do, and we’re dealing — everyone has to understand — with the ‘party of no.’ They’re trying to stop everything. … Anything we bring up, they’re against,” Reid told reporters during a news conference. “We won’t get to immigration reform this work period; we won’t get to a Supreme Court justice this work period.”

The current seven-week work period runs until the Memorial Day weekend. Reid said he spent Tuesday’s weekly caucus lunch discussing the agenda with his Conference and his strategy for moving items forward. Reid, who is running for re-election, vowed during a recent campaign swing in Nevada that he would pursue immigration reform this year.

“Sen. Reid is committed to moving a comprehensive reform bill as soon as possible,” Reid spokesman Jim Manley said. “I expect that he will bring a bill to the floor as soon as it is reported out of the Senate Judiciary Committee.”

Meanwhile, Reid said ratification of the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty that President Barack Obama signed with Russia would likely have to wait until “the first of the year.” Obama has said he would like the treaty ratified by year’s end. Treaty ratification requires 67 votes.