Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., objected to allowing a vote on the bill. He spoke only a few moments before uttering the name of disgraced influence peddler Jack Abramoff.Link
"Washington has been run by the lobbyists. The Jack Abramoff scandal is no surprise," Reid said in his opening remarks.
Corporations that without the bill might be required to pay billions in legal awards to victims should be "jumping with joy," Reid added. "They were able to buy their way into the Senate paying for a bunch of lobbyists."
"Slander!" responded Sen. Arlen Specter, R-Pa., the bill's sponsor, whose stewardship of the bill for more than two years helped it survive the committee process to become the first new legislation considered by the Senate this year.
"To accuse us of being the pawns of the lobbyists is — is — is beyond slander, beyond insult," Specter stammered. "It's beyond outrage."
Even Specter isn't predicting success here. He made the argument that in forcing a test vote — the way the Democrats did on the USA Patriot Act and judicial nominees — Reid is acting on politics rather than the substance of the bill.
"What he's seeking to do is obstruct, and he's had a lot of practice at that," Specter said.
For his part, Reid offered a hat-in-hand apology for casting aspersions on the motives of "my friend from Pennsylvania." As evidence of his high esteem for Specter, Reid offered a distinctly senatorial — if backhanded — compliment.
"I'm one of the few people around who have read his book," Reid said. "I enjoyed reading his book."
That exchange is typical for Harry Reid, former pugilist but ever the fighter, the most powerful man in Washington D.C.
Senator Reid is a master obstructionist and his obstructionism shames the likes of former Senator Minority Leader Sen. Tom Daschle (D-S.D.) Daschle was a soft spoken leader who did not carry the big stick that “Givem Hell Harry” carries. Daschle repeatedly failed to hold the Democratic conference together but in contrast that’s not a problem for Senator Reid. Reid is tough; he was willing, perhaps determined, to slap down the likes of Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass) recently when the former presidential candidate implicitly challenged his leadership. According to one account, Reid went so far as to belittle Kerry’s presidential campaign.
Reid has also accused Alan Greenspan of being “one of the biggest political hacks we have here in Washington” because the iconic past Federal Reserve chairman gave it as his opinion that Social Security reform is “overdue.” The stance of the Democrats is that it is, rather, wholly unnecessary.
Senator Reid, therefore, quite willing to be savagely blunt in his rhetoric and is spoiling for a fight. He has suggested he regrets his extraordinary criticism of Justice Clarence Thomas in January, but that attack, too, put down a marker for the Democrats. And his threat to shut down the Senate in the event that the GOP deploys the nuclear option of changing the rules to end the filibuster of judicial nominees appeared to have rattled the Republican leadership.
As for holding the Democrats together in opposition to President Bush and stopping the President’s agenda Reid has stopped cold Social Security reform. Reid’s absolute determination to prevent President Bush from winning a major policy victory with Social Security, and his sharp tongue and elbows have made it plain to his conference that there will be a price to pay for stepping out of line. No Democratic senator looks likely to back reform without two or three others for company.
"As far as I'm concerned, there will be no privatization" of even a small portion of workers' Social Security contributions, he said, rejecting what the president trumpeted as a priority at a White House conference. And Senate Republicans, he said, "will rue the day" they try to carry out a threat to end a senator's right to filibuster judicial nominees.
Those are the words of a battler, not an appeaser, say those who know Reid, Link
Sen. Rick Santorum, R-Pa. knows how tough Sen. Reid is. Sen. Santorum, said every attempt to reach across party lines on Social Security had "met with a partisan obstructionism that is as rock-solid as the marble before me on the rostrum" in the Senate chamber.
Initially, he said the president and Republican supporters "tried to throw the long ball." Now, "we're just going to try to run off-tackle here ... to see if we can get the ball down the field."
Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid blocked Santorum's effort to force a full floor debate on the measure. "This legislation is a sham. S-H-A-M," he said. "Social Security benefits are guaranteed today. ... It's the law of the land." And with that Senator Reid killed the President’s Social Security plan.
After tying the 109th Congress up with procedural tricks the Democrats are now criticizing the Republican controlled Congress as a "do-nothing" Congress and guess who that charge is coming from?
Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid, who is urging "Bush Republicans" to stop playing politics and address the "real challenges the American people face every day."
In a speech on the Senate floor, Reid noted that the Senate is running out of time to address "serious issues" such as gasoline prices, health care costs and the minimum wage.Link
Senator Reid has stop the Bush Administration’s efforts to bring legislation forward in Congress, stolen the momentum of the Republican controlled Congress and blamed the President and the Congress of being a “do-nothing” body.
Senator Harry Reid is clearly the most powerful man in Washington D.C. he sets the agenda and the President and Congress are stymied by his every move.
So much for a Republican controlled Congress we all know who is in control in Washington D.C. and it isn’t Alexander Haig who wrongly assumed that he was in charge after President Reagan was shot. No “Givem Hell” Harry Reid is in charge of Washington D.C.
And nothing will get done in Washington if Senator Reid doesn’t approve!