Senate Democrat leader Harry Reid blasted back at Majority Leader Mitch McConnell Wednesday, saying the Kentucky Republican is twisting the facts by claiming the chamber was dysfunctional during eight years of Democrat Party control.
Reid emphasized that despite the GOP landslide in November's midterm elections, "I have no intention of just rolling over" for the Republican legislative agenda.
McConnell and other Republicans have said that Reid, who served as majority leader from January 2007 through this week, had paralyzed the Senate by blocking debate on critical issues like the Keystone XL pipeline and reforming Obamacare, The Washington Post reported
On Wednesday, McConnell pledged to "restore the Senate to a place of high purpose" by returning to regular order and allowing Senate committees to do their jobs.
Reid (who is recuperating at home from serious injuries received while exercising) responded to McConnell in a speech read from the floor by Assistant Democrat Leader Dick Durbin of Illinois protesting that the Kentuckian was trying to advance a false narrative.
Reid said that over the past six years the U.S. economy has added 10 million jobs, the stock market has reached an all-time high, and the domestic automobile industry averted bankruptcy, The Hill reported
Reid said "the economic recovery has been very real to American families," adding that the Senate confirmed 132 judges in the 113th Congress and 611 of President Obama’s nominees “in spite of Republican opposition."
Reid added that 10 million Americans now have health insurance thanks to the Affordable Care Act (ACA), which Obama and congressional Democrats pushed through on party-line votes in 2010.
He did not address Republican complaints that many of those Americans signing up for Obamacare are people who had their (far superior) employer-provided insurance cancelled by the ACA, or that many of those newly insured have been added to the rolls of Medicaid
, a program on the verge of fiscal collapse.
The Nevada Democrat vowed that "any attempt to erode protections for working American families — the dismantling of Dodd-Frank, the weakening of net neutrality rules or the Republicans’ never-ending quest to repeal Obamacare — will be met with a swift and unified Democratic opposition."
Many of Reid's stiffest political challenges, however, could come from fellow Democrats who blame him for the party's crushing defeat in the midterms.
In November, The New York Times reported
that 28 Senate Democrats expressed their concerns about the state of the party under Reid's leadership guidance during a four-hour meeting before voting to keep Reid as the top Senate Democrat. The vote was not unanimous.
"When you have an election like this, common sense says we need to change things," said Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill, who did not vote for Reid. "The voice was very loud and unmistakable. To me that means changing leadership, and it was just that simple."
North Dakota Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, who also did not vote for Reid, explained that "this was a change election
. I think that we needed to demonstrate that we heard the American public."
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