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Reid (Briefly) Off-Key on Stimulus

For the past week, cynical Congressional reporters and observers have been treated to the highly unusual sight of Democratic leaders, GOP leaders and President Bush singing a rousing chorus of Kumbaya on the forthcoming economic stimulus package.

Heartwarming as all the bipartisan photo-ops and talk of unity have been, one key Democrat has sounded a discordant note: Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (Nev.).

In advance of his speech today on the stimulus, Bush held a conference call Thursday with the bipartisan leadership to lay out his thoughts. After the call, the various leaders put out releases again full of bipartisan good spirits -- except Reid.

"I am disappointed that [Bush] is rejecting a request from leaders of both parties and both chambers to work with us directly to develop a bipartisan package rather than unilaterally detailing his own approach without Congressional input," Reid said in his release. "The President's strategy threatens to unnecessarily politicize the inevitable bipartisan negotiations we will need to quickly enact legislation."

Here's the genesis of Reid's beef: Last week, Reid and Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) sent Bush a letter suggesting that everyone keep their powder dry and not present specific plans for a stimulus package before bipartisan negotiations began.

All the Congressional leaders, from both parties, made the same point to Bush on the conference call Thursday, but Bush still said he was going to give a speech laying out his plan. Though everyone wanted Bush to hold back on specifics, only Reid went public with his complaints.

Following the call, Bush was concerned enough about the lawmakers' reaction that he reportedly placed a separate call to House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) to talk it over. Soon after, he apparently decided not to go into heavy detail in his speech today. That did the trick, and Reid was back with the feel-good program today.

A former boxer, Reid has always had a pugnacious side, once even calling Bush a "loser." But a Reid aide said that the Leader was simply being cognizant of how hard it would be to get a stimulus package over the Senate's 60-vote threshold, and didn't want Bush to prejudice the debate before it even begins.

And Reid is busy multitasking, since the crucial Nevada presidential caucus -- which he worked hard to make happen -- is tomorrow. Reid has stayed neutral in that contest, but as the stimulus talks have shown, he doesn't hold his tongue about much else.

By Ben Pershing  |  January 18, 2008; 5:51 PM ET
Categories:  Agenda , Branch vs. Branch , Dem. Leaders  
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Comments

"Fightin'" Harry Reid always has to make some noise before he rolls over and sells out. Same with "historic" Nan Pelosi.

They have done NOTHING to reverse the many disasters of the Bush regime. They REFUSED to pursue the NECESSARY and CONSTITUTIONAL remedy of impeachment.

They are equally complicit in the crimes of this regime.

Posted by: sglover | January 18, 2008 6:14 PM | Report abuse

If there remained any doubt about male menopause, Harry Reid has removed it.

Posted by: Tupac Goldstein | January 18, 2008 7:36 PM | Report abuse

It's obvious what's going on. Bush wants to announce first so he can get all the credit of an $800-per-taxpayer handout.

It's not Bush's money, of course, it's the public's. But he wants gratitude anyway, like any traditional votebuying politician.

The Democrats, naturally, want their share of the "credit" for this discreditable handout. That's why they're so eager for once to present a "bipartisan package".

I always thought Republicans were against govt bailouts. I guess they're willing to relax that principle in election years.

Posted by: Bud0 | January 18, 2008 7:52 PM | Report abuse

This stimulus package has to be paid for!

The best way to pay for it would be by cutting all the Republicommie pork businesses sucking on the US TAX TIT in Iraq.

Congress should smack down this profligate White House and give them a lesson in balanced budgets.

Congress should put a moratorium on all payments to Halliburton, Blackwater and KBR and those other Republicommie pork businesses sucking on the US TAX TIT in Iraq.

The US should not be paying for overpriced mercenaries and bottle washers.

By cutting this Republicommie pork which runs into Trillions the US will still be able to increase defense spending and take all those jobs back into the US Army.

The Iraq war has cost trillions because it has been subsidising Republicommie pork.

It is the US army that works well in Iraq not Rumsfeld and Cheney's Republicommie pork projects.

Cut the Republicommie pork and the defecit can be reduced without all the load for the Republicommie TAX DEBT comming at the same time.

We all know the GOP has become a BORROW AND SPEND, SPEND, SPEND! Republicommie party. Like some kid at the mall with their parents credit card. The GOP has lost its conservative roots and has been acting like a bunch of commies for years.

America's Conservatives need to stop being NeoConned, America's conservatives need to STOP BEING SUCKERS!

America needs a Real Conservative party to put America's economy back on the straight and narrow; and such a Real Conservative party needs A Real Conservative leader like Michael Bloomberg.

Because the Democratic Party have realised that Clinton-Obama is a dream ticket for them and they will be at their convention shouting "16 years, 16 years, 16 years!

Posted by: walker1 | January 18, 2008 9:53 PM | Report abuse

The $140 billion is just Monopoly money or fake money that will be added to the big, big and big debt. More treasure bills for the investors, Chinese, Japanese and Saudis. That fake money will be recycled in Wal-Mart and gas stations.

Posted by: j.moreno | January 21, 2008 11:26 AM | Report abuse

As is usually the norm, Harry Reid is all bombast and an empty suit repeatedly suckered in by "Dubya" and GO Pissers. Nancy is a nice grandma but hardly a good Speaker of the House. By allowing W to get away with everything from disemboweling our Constitution to having a secret administration, our Democratic leadership has shown just how inept they really are in resolving the Iraq war, White House duplicity and lies, emasculating the Dept. of Justice, super-sizing the powers of the Presidency at the expense of Congress (I guess the GOP should be holding those cards) and basically behaving in a very bad way. Our country has lost it's ideals to a President that has absolutely no remorse and who lies repeatedly to fit the situation at hand. Condi Rice and Chenney have long since abandonded any semblance or honesty and yet our Congress, lead by Pelosi and Reid, continues to stumble over their own feet. Is their no shame regarding failure??

Posted by: Nononsense1 | January 21, 2008 2:07 PM | Report abuse

Harry Reid is like the guy at the office with the hot temper that everyone primes with complaints so he can go tell off the boss while everyone else lays low.

Posted by: danielhancock | January 21, 2008 3:05 PM | Report abuse

We are in dire need of a solution to the present problem. That is FACT. The Media actually controls the Government actions. We, the people never gave them the authority to represent us. Please in this time of need, report facts, not your opinions. Thank you.

Posted by: Maximlian Palena | January 22, 2008 12:20 PM | Report abuse

demo,s are full of earmarks ! just like the republicans, they just think they are doing the American people a favor by giving us back our money! they seem not to mind they voted themselves a pay raise of $4,100 ayear without the American people knowing about it, they had to bale out their own needs before the people get anything!

Posted by: Anonymous | January 22, 2008 7:02 PM | Report abuse

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