Stagnation in the Senate never will be fixed until Majority Leader Harry Reid is removed from office, Rep. Bob Turner tells Newsmax.
The New York Republican, who intends to run for the U.S. Senate, said his biggest frustration during his six months in Congress has been the Senate’s lack of action on bills sent up from the House.
“They can’t act on anything, they haven’t done a budget in three years,” he told Newsmax.TV in an exclusive interview. “It is just totally stagnant, and it can’t be fixed until Harry Reid is no longer the majority leader and setting the priorities of what has to happen there.”
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Turner agrees with retiring Maine Sen. Olympia Snowe, who has called the Senate dysfunctional under Nevada Democrat Reid’s leadership. “Sen. Snowe is absolutely right,” he said.
During his six months in the House, 30 bills have moved to the Senate and are still sitting there, Turner said.
“They can’t act on anything,” he said. “They haven’t done a budget in three years.”
Turner shocked New York Democrats by snatching the seat vacated by shamed Rep. Anthony Weiner in September. He now has his sights set on another Empire State liberal: Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand.
He cited his name recognition as the reason he deserves to win the June GOP primary for the Senate seat against attorney Wendy Long and Nassau County comptroller George Maragos.
“That will be very important in a short race,” Turner said. “I’ve established a grass-roots campaign and organization that has demonstrated they can do this job, and they’ll be out to do it again.
“The Republican Party will need as much strength as we can on the top of the ticket, it will affect every race, Senate, assembly, judgeships. So whoever has that senatorial seat is going to be in an important position to influence a lot of races in this state and I am best suited for that job.
“This is probably the most important election of my life — and I’ve been around a while,” added the 70-year-old congressman. “I have just got to be part of this. I’ve got to do my best to get the message across and help restore some sanity to Washington and our government.”
Turner won Weiner’s old seat, which straddles the New York City boroughs of Brooklyn and Queens, by taking 52 percent of the vote against Democrat David Weprin. But the seat has disappeared under redistricting.
Turner was not happy with the way voters in his district were reapportioned, and he asserted: “Some people say it looked like punishment for embarrassing the Democratic Party; maybe so, but it was done by a judge. I would take issue with how it was done, but that ship has now sailed.”
He said his seat has been “splintered” into many pieces. “Any option I had was to run in a minority-dominated district that has in the past voted, at least in the parts that are left, more than 75-80 percent Democrat, so there was not a fair shot here to retake this seat. The only area open to me now is the Senate.”
Turner, who has been a strong supporter of the Keystone XL pipeline, praised President Barack Obama for fast-tracking the southern section from Cushing, Okla., to Port Arthur, Texas. He now expects Gillibrand, who has opposed the scheme, to change her mind.
“We are absolutely certain that she will reverse course yet again — it’s only a matter of time. As a matter of fact we’ve offered a [tank] of gas to who can guess the date and time of her next flip flop.”
His first order of business if he wins the Senate seat is to help tackle high unemployment and the problems in the economy. “There are things we can do quickly in the jobs act and other things that are sitting on the shelf right now. I would do whatever I could to try to move them into action and put them in front of the new president for a signature and action.”
Turner, a former television executive who developed talk shows, said he is one of about 40 businesspeople in the House. That experience would help him in the Senate, he said.
“Businessmen have a different starting point. We look for the practical and the doable. We have enormous problems here that are not insoluble, we can solve them. We have laid out some intelligent, practical agendas. What we can do is bring our business mentality to the House and maybe the Senate to get things done in a proper, sane way.”
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