They Insisted On The Two-Week Deadline, Now They Must Help Us Meet It
Washington, DC—Nevada Senator Harry Reid made the following remarks today regarding yesterday’s budget votes in the Senate. Below are his remarks as prepared for delivery:
“It’s time, once again, for us to get down to business. Yesterday’s budget votes didn’t bring us any closer to a conclusion, but it did make one thing very clear. That lesson is this: One party alone will not reach a resolution without the other’s cooperation and consent.
“We voted on the Republican budget proposal, and on the Democratic budget proposal. Neither plan came anywhere close to the 60 votes needed to pass, or even the 51 votes that would have represented a majority of the Senate.
“But the exercise was not in vain. We’ve demonstrated – publicly and on the record – that we know the answer lies somewhere in the middle. Now it’s time to find that answer in a budget that will reflect our values, keep the country running and create jobs.
“I can speak only for my caucus when I say we accept the lesson of yesterday’s votes. We know we will have to make sacrifices to reach consensus. We’re willing to do that.
“Republicans have to be willing to move their position, too. Perhaps they’re willing to finally acknowledge that given our deep debt, we can’t afford government giveaways to millionaires and oil companies making record profits. Both acknowledgements would help close the deficit gap. Both would be big pieces to the puzzle.
“Perhaps Republicans are willing to offer more reasonable cuts that the Democratic caucus can support. By reasonable cuts, I mean cuts that don’t arbitrarily kick Head Start students out of class or rob college students of their Pell Grants – both cuts the Senate resoundingly rejected yesterday.
“I mean cuts that don’t pull the plug on renewable-energy jobs, or cuts that fire thousands of workers at community health centers across the country. Perhaps Republicans are willing to look in our country’s substantial budget and find cuts more worthy than those that would weaken the law enforcement and border security that keep us safe. I hope they will.
“I hope they will join Democrats in saving money by tackling waste, fraud and abuse. I hope they will join us making tough choices and avoiding the temptation to make counterproductive cuts. Let’s come together to cut in a way that strengthens our economy, not weakens it. Let’s cut in a way that makes our neighborhoods, our schools and our borders stronger, not weaker.
“As the negotiation process begins anew, I remind my Republican friends that time is short. I also remind them that the deadline we face – March 18, one week from tomorrow – is a deadline that they set. Democrats warned from the start that this process would take a month. Republicans would agree only to a period half as long – two weeks. Those two weeks are up next Friday.
“So my message to my Republican colleagues is this: You set the deadline, and the responsibility of meeting it is as much yours as it is ours. Both parties also share a responsibility to be reasonable.
“Let’s get to work. We cannot negotiate this in the media. We cannot negotiate this if we are unwilling to give any ground. We cannot be stubborn and expect a solution.
“It’s time to negotiate in good faith. The time for political posturing is over, and the time for pragmatism is overdue.”