Washington, D.C. – Nevada Senator Harry Reid spoke on the Senate floor today regarding Republican extremism. Below are his remarks as prepared for delivery:
Last week, in a moment of candor, House Republicans admitted they’ve given up on legislating until after the election.
Although there’s plenty more work to be done – especially building on 27 straight months of private-sector job growth – Republicans are lurching from one recess to another.
Last week’s unscripted moment was a window into today’s Republican Party – a party that cares more about winning elections than creating jobs.
Then this week we got another frank assessment of the Republican agenda from inside looking out.
Former Governor Jeb Bush admitted Monday that his father, George H. W. Bush, and Ronald Reagan would have had a hard time fitting in with today’s Republican Party.
He said today’s GOP is defined by “an orthodoxy that doesn’t allow for disagreement.”
Governor Bush is right. The Republican Party no longer has room for moderates – or anyone unwilling to march in lock step with the radical Tea Party.
That’s apparent every day on Capitol Hill.
It was obvious from the first weeks of this Congress that the House had been taken over by extremists with no desire work together for the sake of the economy and no concept of the meaning of compromise.
But over the last year and a half it has become clear that Republicans in the Senate are also in thrall to the Tea Party.
We see that extremism in this Chamber – where Republicans have blocked or stalled every job creation measure Democrats have brought to the Senate floor.
And we see it on the campaign trail – where Mitt Romney told a crowd he opposes hiring more teachers, firefighters and police officers.
Putting more teachers in the classroom used to be a goal Democrats and Republicans could agree on.
Sending more cops out on patrol used to be a goal Democrats and Republicans could agree on.
Hiring more brave men and women to fight fires and save lives used to be a goal Democrats and Republicans could agree on.
But today’s radical Republicans have another agenda: drag down the economy because it’s good for Republican politics.
Yesterday, Governor Bush said his father and President Reagan – neither of whom could win a Republican primary today – both “sacrificed political points for good public policy.” He’s right.
Ronald Reagan would not have put up with what’s going on in the Republican Party today. For him, country came first, not elections.
George H. W. Bush would not have put up with what’s going on in the Republican Party today. He was a pragmatist, not an ideologue. And while he was a conservative Republican, you could work with him.
But today’s Republicans aren’t interested in passing good policy.
And they aren’t interested in creating jobs.
They’re too obsessed with defeating President Obama.
That’s their number one goal. But don’t take my word for it. The Minority Leader said so himself.
This is what he said: “The single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term President.”
America is battling its way back from the greatest recession since the Great Depression.
And although we have created 4.3 million private sector jobs, there’s more work to do.
But Republicans aren’t focused on jobs – they’ve been too busy checking the political scoreboard.