Washington, D.C. – Nevada Senator Harry Reid released the following statement today.
“The American people are tired of their elected leaders listening to the extreme voices in their party instead of the voices of reason. I am disappointed that Republicans never found the courage to ignore Tea Party extremists and millionaire lobbyists like Grover Norquist, and listen instead to the overwhelming majority of Americans – including the vast majority of Republicans – who want a balanced approach to deficit reduction. For the good of our country, Democrats were prepared to strike a grand bargain that would make painful cuts while asking millionaires to pay their fair share, and we put our willingness on paper. But Republicans never came close to meeting us halfway.
“Instead, Republicans relentlessly sought to end Medicare as we know it by privatizing the program and putting seniors and future generations at the mercy of insurance companies. In addition, Republicans insisted on expanding President Bush’s tax giveaways to millionaires, an approach that would have made our deficit problems bigger, not smaller, while increasing the gap between the top one percent of taxpayers and everyone else. Democrats are open to reforming our tax code, but we will not go along with efforts to provide even more giveaways to millionaires at the expense of the middle class.
“Make no mistake: we will achieve the more than $2 trillion in deficit reduction we agreed to in August. The sequester was designed to be painful, and it is. But that is the commitment to fiscal responsibility that both parties made to the American people. In the absence of a balanced plan that would reduce the deficit by at least as much, I will oppose any efforts to change or roll back the sequester.
“I commend Senators Murray, Baucus and Kerry for their unflagging commitment to this process. They worked until the final hours to try and forge a reasonable compromise, and validated the trust that I placed in each of them to seek a balanced deal while protecting the fundamental guarantees of Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.
“With millions of Americans out of work, we must stay focused on creating jobs. Economists have estimated that failing to extend the payroll tax cuts for the middle class and provide support to Americans who continue to look for jobs in this tough economy could plunge us back into a recession. Democrats will continue to pursue these kinds of common-sense, bipartisan proposals to put Americans back to work. In the weeks ahead, I hope the fear of the Tea Party and millionaire lobbyists like Grover Norquist will not prevent Republicans from forging common-sense compromises with Democrats to get our economy back on track.”