Washington, D.C. – Nevada Senator Harry Reid spoke on the Senate floor today regarding reauthorization of the Export-Import Bank and Senator Richard Lugar’s bipartisan efforts during his time in the U.S. Senate. Below are his remarks as prepared for delivery:
On a strong, bipartisan vote yesterday, the House passed a piece of common-sense, job-creation legislation – the reauthorization of the Export-Import Bank.
For years the Export-Import Bank has helped American companies grow and sell their products overseas.
And for years, the Bank has enjoyed broad, bipartisan support – often passing unanimously or by voice vote.
This is a perfect example of the kind of smart investments Congress should be making to spur job growth.
I hope the Senate will be able to quickly approve the House-passed measure today by unanimous consent.
I am optimistic the 330 to 93 vote in the House yesterday will be enough to convince Senate Republicans they shouldn’t hold up this legislation any longer.
The process of reauthorizing the Export-Import bank has already taken too long. I hope I don’t have to file cloture on this matter, but I will if I must.
Let me remind you, the Senate considered reauthorizing the Export-Import Bank in March – nearly two months ago.
Senate Republicans had an opportunity to support this measure then. Instead, all but three Republicans opposed it, and the measure failed.
American exporters have already waited in limbo for two months to see whether Republicans would come around to backing this business-friendly, job-creating policy.
Businesses shouldn’t have to wait any longer.
We can’t afford more of the partisan obstruction we saw in March.
To get to the President’s desk this Congress, every piece of legislation needs Democratic and Republican votes.
That’s just reality. And it means we absolutely must work together if we want to get anything done.
One man who has always been willing to extend a hand to colleagues across the aisle is the Senior Senator from Indiana, Senator Richard Lugar.
His first priority has always been getting things done for the American people – whether that means keeping the world safe from nuclear war or looking out for Hoosiers back home.
Senator Lugar has been a great advocate for the people of Indiana as well as a dedicated student of international affairs.
He’s never missed a meeting with a foreign head of state as long as I have served with him in the Senate.
Senator Lugar has always put the American people first and political party second.
I was elected to the Senate to serve each and every Nevadan – not only the Democrats, although I am proud to be one.
Senator Lugar was elected to serve every Hoosier – regardless of political affiliation – and he has done so well and wisely in the Senate for more than three decades.
Throughout the history of this country – even in the most trying of times, times of great social and political unrest – our elected representatives have worked together despite their differences to do what is right for all Americans.
So I worry when I see dedicated patriots like Senator Lugar drummed out by Tea Party zealots for being too willing to cooperate.
I worry when I hear a candidate for U.S. Senate campaigning against bipartisanship and compromise between our two parties.
And I worry when a candidate for U.S. Senate says so clear that he will put political party and partisanship before country and compromise.
That’s nothing to be proud of. That kind of attitude is why long-time political observers Thomas Mann and Norman Ornstein described today’s GOP as “ideologically extreme” and “scornful of compromise.”
And it’s why my friend, Senator Lugar, said this in his concession speech last night:
“Bipartisanship is not the opposite of principle. One can be very conservative or very liberal and still have a bipartisan mindset. Such a mindset acknowledges that the other party is also patriotic and may have some good ideas.”
We should all remember – regardless of our party – that compromise has been the hallmark of this country for more than 200 years.