Senate Democrats

Reid: Republicans Need to Get Their Priorities Straight

We Can Do Better than Spending Billions on Tax Cuts for the Wealthy

Washington, D.C. – Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid today issued the following statement in response to the fact that Sen. Saxby Chambliss, the Republican chairman of the Senate Agriculture Committee cancelled a previously scheduled markup of legislation to cut programs that assist Katrina victims, farmers, and many other Americans. Under the Republican budget resolution, eight Senate committees are required to produce a package of budget cuts in order to partially pay for another round of tax breaks that primarily benefit millionaires and special interests. Had it met, the Agriculture Committee would have been the first of eight committees to approve its portion of these cuts.

“The sudden cancellation of the Agriculture Committee reconciliation markup illustrates the confusion and disorder reigning in the Republican Party. They had already demonstrated they can’t get their priorities straight with the American people’s. Yesterday’s cancellation demonstrated they can’t even get them straight amongst themselves.

“While President Bush and some Congressional Republicans continue to press for cuts to food stamps and other programs that help the victims of Katrina, farmers, and many other Americans, apparently Senator Chambliss could not find the votes from members of his own party to pass this deeply flawed proposal. His failure represents an opportunity for congressional Republicans to join us in moving America in a new direction.

“After the worst natural disaster in our history, Congress should be addressing the critical needs of hurricane survivors for health care and financial relief. The last thing we should do is make their plight worse. Yet the Republican proposal would do just that. At the same time, Republicans want to increase the deficit by spending billions on large new tax breaks for special interests.

“These priorities are fundamentally wrong, and we can do better. I hope my Republican colleagues will change their budget priorities and join us in showing Americans that we understand our moral responsibilities.”