Washington, D.C.—Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid made the following remarks on the Senate floor this morning. Below are his remarks as prepared for delivery:
“We’re going to finish this health care bill before we leave here.
“For nearly an entire year, we have reached out to the other side, offered Republicans a seat at the table and negotiated in good faith. Nearly a whole year.
“Now we’re closer than ever to fixing a badly broken system and doing more to make sure every American can afford to live a healthy life than this country has done in decades.
“The Republicans have made their point. Through obstruction manuals, admissions that they believe stalling is good electoral politics, and gambits like the one we saw yesterday – that is, forcing the full, hours-long reading of an amendment they didn’t like, and then complaining when that amendment they didn’t like was withdrawn – they’ve made their point to the American people.
“They’ve made it perfectly clear that they have no interest in cooperating. But the families and businesses who are suffering, hurting and dying every single day have no time for these kinds of games. That’s why we’re going to finish health care, whether the other side cooperates or not.
“But health care isn’t the only critical issue to this country or before this body. Right now, we have to complete a bill that supports our troops. It’s as simple as that. Here are some of the good things this bill includes:
· Funds more than $100 billion for operations, maintenance and military personnel requirements for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Part of that money will also support preparations to continue withdrawal from Iraq.
· More than $23 billion for the equipment used by our service members in Iraq and Afghanistan to do their jobs and stay safe.
· More than $150 billion to train our troops and prepare them for battle.
· Nearly $30 billion for the health care of our service members, their families and their children.
· It also gives our brave troops a 3.4 percent pay raise.
“This is not a partisan issue. Yesterday, this bill passed the House 395-34. More than 90 percent of Democrats voted for it, and more than 90 percent of Republicans voted for it.
“That’s because they know that to the brave Americans who, half a world away, wage two wars on our behalf, it is immaterial whether the leaders who will give them the resources they need to succeed are progressives or conservatives. Surely, our troops who are on deployment after deployment spend more time counting the days until they can see their loved ones again than they do counting the political points scored by either side.
“The House proved as much yesterday. The Senate should do the same today.
“We received this bill at 2 p.m. yesterday, Wednesday. Are we really going to wait until tomorrow, Friday, or later to pass it? That is simply not right.
“Let’s give our troops what they need to succeed, and then let’s get back to giving all Americans what they need to stay healthy.
“These bills are about life and death. Our responsibility is too great to waste time playing games.”