Washington, DC—Nevada Senator Harry Reid made the following remarks today in response to Republicans’ refusal to vote on their own extreme budget proposal. Below are his remarks as prepared for delivery:
“Since the moment Republican House of Representatives passed their budget – a bill called H.R. 1 – the country has been waiting to see whether the Senate would repeat the House’s mistake.
“The plan the Tea Party pushed through the House is an irresponsible plan. It’s a reckless plan. It’s dangerous for the health of our economy and our citizens.
“I’ve come to the floor a couple of times in the last few days and explained at length all the damage this Tea Party plan would do in the short-term and the long-term. Let me just briefly remind my colleagues what a few of these consequences are:
· It will fire 700,000 Americans – including 6,000 Nevadans. Our budget should create jobs, not cost jobs.
· It will kick 200,000 Head Start students – including hundreds in Nevada – out of that successful early-education program.
· It will slash college students’ Pell Grants – the financial aid so many rely on to afford school.
· It will eliminate job-training investments at a time we need them the most.
· It would pull the plug on 600 renewable-energy jobs at the largest solar plant in Nevada.
· It would fire 600 Nevadans who work at community health centers, which hurts those workers as well as the neediest Nevadans they help every day.
· It would arbitrarily slash programs that fight crime and keep our neighborhoods safe.
· And it would slash homeland security investments that keep Nevadans safe – and the millions who visit Nevada every year.
“In other words, the Republican plan they want to push through the Senate is all smoke and mirrors. It cuts the deficit in the name of a stronger future, but cuts the most important ways we strengthen our future. It’s counterproductive, and it’s bad policy.
“Their plan slashes billions from the budget and hopes no one will look past the price tag. Because Republicans know that once the country sees what’s in the fine print, it will run away from it as fast as they can.
“Now it seems Republicans themselves must have finally read their own budget. Because now even they’re running away from it.
“Let me explain how got here. Last Thursday the leaders of both houses of Congress and both parties met with the White House. Vice President Biden, Leader McConnell, Speaker Boehner, Leader Pelosi and I met and agreed on a way forward.
“We agreed to hold a vote on the Republican plan – H.R. 1 – and then vote on the Democratic plan, which makes much smarter cuts and more solid investments. Then we would return to the negotiating table and try again to find common ground.
“That was the deal. But now Republicans are reneging on that deal. They don’t want to vote on their own bill.
“As I’ve said before, the budget we outline – and our votes on that budget – reflect our values. Values like helping our nation recover and prosper, giving our children a strong education, encouraging innovation, and keeping America competitive.
“Another value I hold dear is keeping one’s word.
“Where I come from, people keep their word. I’m disappointed the Republicans refuse to keep theirs.”