Flushed with success over the passage of a "clean" funding bill for the Department of Homeland Security despite conservative attempts to use the bill to block President Barack Obama's executive actions on amnesty for illegal aliens, Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid still warns Democrats to hold off on the victory dance.
"We cannot be gloating," Reid urged his caucus Tuesday, he told The Wall Street Journal
. "We have a lot of things we have to work on, and we have to be able to work with" the Senate's 54-seat GOP majority.
The Nevada Democrat hopes to move forward cautiously, without tagging Democrats with the "obstructionist" label that they have hung on Republicans, he told the Journal.
"We’re going to work with the Republicans to pass things when it needs to be done," he said. "The difference between what we’re doing and what they did — they opposed everything. We’re not going to do that."
However, GOP Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, while conceding that the Democrats' actions as a minority so far have been "impressive," told the Journal, "Democrats eventually have to decide where their future lies. Does it lie in voting en masse to protect the president, or does it lie in working with us?"
Publicly, at least, Reid seems to favor the latter option, with the lack of a sufficient majority to override a presidential veto, and Obama's willingness to veto, as his fallback weapon.
"Obama has vetoed almost nothing to this point," he told the Journal. "He’s going to veto a lot of stuff now and I think we will support him on most everything."
It took a presidential veto, for example, to stop the Keystone XL pipeline bill, which fell short of the two-thirds vote needed to override, the Journal notes, though eight Democrats jumped ship to override.
However, coming up in the near future are several issues on which Democrats are likely to remain even more divided.
Obama wants the deal his administration is brokering with Iran over nuclear development to stand, avoiding a congressional vote, and has said he will veto a bill calling for such a vote, PBS
Some Democratic opposition is expected on Obama's request for war powers in the battle against the Islamic State (ISIS), and Reid told PBS, "It’s going to be really hard to get something done because some want to give [Obama] a lot more power, some want to give him less power, and the sweet spot has not been reached on that legislation."
Reid also anticipates opposition on trade deals
Obama is negotiating, including the 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership.
"You’ve got a lot of the House members who don’t like a trade deal — the conservative folks," Reid told the Journal, "and so, if they’re going to get something done over there, I think they need some Democratic help. Democrats are pretty much in tune to not agree to anything.
"Over here they better be careful and not try to jam things here, because you could run into the same problem, because there’s a group of people who don’t like the trade thing. Is it a majority of Democrats? Probably.
"We have to do, take one issue at a time, because we’re not going to win all the time. That’s the way it is."
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