From the Keystone pipeline to Obamacare, Republicans leaders this week
laid out a political agenda for January when they take over the Senate, giving them control of both houses of Congress.
But Senate Democrats,
stung by Tuesday’s election, are vowing to fight the GOP and stand by their embattled leader, Harry Reid, who blocked hundreds of House-passed bills to prevent Senate Democrats from casting tough votes and to save President Obama for vetoing them.
who appeared defiant in a speech Wednesday, is due to meet with Republican leaders Friday at the White House to discuss what to do next.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, who will become majority leader in the next Congress, told reporters Wednesday evening that the Republicans will endorse efforts to reform taxes, approve the Keystone XL Pipeline from Canada to Texas, repeal parts of Obamacare and ease some financial regulations adopted in the 2010 Dodd-Frank bill.
McConnell said he believes Obama is open to tax reform.
"He’s interested in that issue, and we are, too," he said, promising an end to the "do-nothing" Congress under the Democrat-controlled Senate. "I’m not sure he’s going to sign everything, but we’re going to function."
McConnell and House Majority Leader John Boehner said the GOP is focused on bills that will help the economically struggling middle class.
"Americans have entrusted Republicans with control of both the House and Senate. We are humbled by this opportunity to help struggling middle-class Americans who are clearly frustrated by an increasing lack of opportunity, the stagnation of wages, and a government that seems incapable of performing even basic tasks," they wrote in an article in The Wall Street Journal.
They also criticized Reid, saying House Republicans sent him hundreds of bills "only to gather dust in a Democratic-controlled Senate."
Several Senate Democrats this week defended Reid and pledged to support him as minority leader in the next Congress.
"Harry’s a fighter," Sen. Chris Murphy of Connecticut told Politico Wednesday. "Right now, we need fighters in leadership positions because it doesn’t look like Republicans are going to lay down and start an era of harmony."
However, some Democrats from states where Obama is unpopular criticized Reid for refusing to bring House bills to a vote.
"We never got a shot at anything," said Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia, where Republican Shelley Moore Capito won Tuesday’s election to replace retiring Democrat Jay Rockefeller.
"I’ve been very direct with Harry about that. I think its wrong," Manchin added.
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