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Tags: Harry Reid | GOP Senate control

Harry Reid: I'll Block 'Crazy Stuff' in 'New Battle' with GOP

Harry Reid: I'll Block 'Crazy Stuff' in 'New Battle' with GOP
(Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Wednesday, 10 December 2014 09:10 AM EST

Outgoing Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has warned that he’s preparing for a “new battle” with the GOP and plans to block any “crazy stuff” when Congress returns in January.

“I’m happy to work with them,” the defiant Nevada Democrat said of the Republican opposition in an interview with The New York Times. “But I’m not going to throw middle-class America overboard.”

Despite his reduced power on Capitol Hill, Reid vowed that he planned to take on Republicans if they attempt to rein in Obamacare, environmental regulations, immigration policies, financial rules and women’s issues like abortion rights.

“We’re going to have to set up for the new battle, which is going to begin on January 6,” he said.

Although incoming Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has pledged to work with the 46 Democrats in the chamber, a confrontational Reid says that he does not believe the Kentucky Republican will put forward legislation that his members — or voters — would support.

“They want to eviscerate Clean Air, Clean Water, EPA,” Reid told the Times, referring to the landmark environmental laws that established new pollution standards and created the Environmental Protection Agency.

“Is there enough they can do to help Wall Street? I don’t think so. Big banks? I don’t think so,” he said. “That’s where the new battle is going to be.”

While admitting that the White House could make deals with the GOP without his backing such as international trade pacts, Reid said that he plans to make it tough for Republicans to pass “crazy” measures, according to Politico.

“I believe that my job in my Democratic Caucus is to try to pass legislation,” he said in an interview. “I’m anxious to do it. I want to do some mainstream things. But I believe that if [Republicans] want to try to do all this crazy stuff, we’re getting out of that stream.

“If it’s not mainstream, they’re not going to have us to play with,” Reid added, noting that corporate tax reform “sure isn’t mainstream” and is a “code message for ‘let’s take care of business.’ ”

The Democrat leader also told the political news website that he expects to have the support of President Barack Obama on most issues in the next Congress. 

“It’s much easier now, I got a president who will back me up,” he said. “I’ll be happier if we’re unfortunate enough to pass crazy stuff and he vetoes it. That would make me feel good. It will be good for his presidency.

“He’s said I’m certainly the best friend he has up here,” the senator said referring to Obama. “So that’s what he says to me. I’m sure he says that to anybody who asks him.”

Although Reid pledged to fight any attempt to repeal the Affordable Care Act, he admitted that the bungled launch of HealthCare.gov eventually resulted in the Democrats losing nine seats and the Senate to the GOP.

“We never recovered from the rollout because the election became one that was directed toward the president. We couldn’t overcome that. I’m not going to go back.

“It’s the hallmark of the first six years of the administration, I think it’s a wonderful legacy for him. I spent months, weeks right in this office, making sure it got done.”

Although six Democrat senators voted against Reid retaining his position as head of the caucus, the 75-year-old senator intimated that he may well plan to continue as the party’s leader in 2016.

“My opponents are dropping like flies. I mean, seriously,” he said while claiming that he’s “not thinking” about his leadership role right now.

“I just got it. Why would I be thinking about that now? I mean, don’t you think I have other things to think about? That’s not one of them.”

While agreeing that New York Sen. Chuck Schumer has been widely recognized as a potential successor, Reid noted: “If I decide not to have this job, sometime in the future, he’d have to run just like anybody else.”

But even if Reid does run again, he first has to win re-election. He’s already started searching for campaign staff while the GOP is hoping to sign up a popular candidate to bring him down, Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval, who easily won re-election last month.

“Brian, if he wants to run, more power to him. He’d make an excellent candidate,” Reid told the Times. “I’ve had a lot of excellent candidates, you know.”

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Outgoing Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has warned that he’s preparing for a “new battle” with the GOP and plans to block any “crazy stuff” when Congress returns in January.
Harry Reid, GOP Senate control
Wednesday, 10 December 2014 09:10 AM
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