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Senator Harry Reid On Affordable Care Act, Immigration Reform And His Legacy
Senator Harry Reid On Affordable Care Act, Immigration Reform And His Legacy

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AIR DATE: August 9, 2013

by Ian Mylchreest

BY IAN MYLCHREEST -- Even though he is Senate Majority Leader, Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., sees no way out of the current congressional gridlock. He blames the filibuster, and the allegiance of some 40 percent of Republican senators to the Tea Party. They always vote with the anti-tax party, even though the conservative group represents less than 10 percent of public opinion, Reid said.

Likening the Tea Party to anarchists, Reid said, “They’re vetoing everything.” He praised Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., for breaking with the Tea Party and agreeing to confirm several of President Obama’s long-delayed nominees. McCain also brought enough Republican votes for other measures such as the Farm Bill, the Postal Bill and the Violence Against Women Act.

Affordable Care Act: “It’s Working”

Reid also cited the Affordable Care Act as the kind of change that has made a difference. Union complaints from leaders, including the culinary union's D. Taylor, about workers being dropped from health insurance and losing rostered hours were exaggerated, Reid said. “I would recommend that D. would just calm down and stop frightening people, because the law is going forward. He should work with it. I am working with him and the administration to try and solve some of the issues he has talked about, but he has exaggerated them,” he added.

The administration is also looking at putting non-profit plans on the same footing as those subsidized by the government for the “for-profit” insurers, Reid noted, but said that it was necessary for patients to “have skin in the game.” The so-called Cadillac plans (like that offered by the Culinary Union) encouraged patients to use too many services because they paid nothing. “The Cadillac plans weren’t fair to other people.” said Reid. The unions had negotiated luxury plans that were not sustainable.

Still the law is here now, and contrary to what Republicans are saying, “it’s working,” said Reid with a smile. He says some unintended consequences did need to be fixed. “But remember. How do we get things passed? If it deals with Obamacare, these characters in the house have voted, I kind of lose track of it, 60-some odd times to repeal Obamacare and they’re not getting anything done but they keep doing that. And so it’s hard to work constructively with them,” Reid said.

Reid also praised Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval for his stand on the Affordable Care Act. “Brian Sandoval has been courageous in what he did with Obamacare. He had all kinds of pressure from the all the right-wing. ‘Don’t do this. Don’t do this.’ But Brian looked at this and found it was good for the people of the state of Nevada so he was one of the early people to move in,” he said.

Reid Disagrees With Obama On Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac

While defending the president’s leading achievement in health care, Reid said he was not very impressed with the president’s plans to wind down Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. “We have to make sure we protect home ownership and we have to make sure we do that and the reason we have Fannie and Freddie is because during the Great Depression people couldn’t buy homes and that’s why they (Fannie and Freddie) were developed,” he said. Reid will look at the legislation the president is proposing but is giving no guarantees he will support the plan to get rid of the government-backed mortgage companies.

Immigration Reform Must Be Comprehensive

Reid is optimistic about immigration reform. The senate passed a “decent but not perfect” reform bill. He emphasized that it is a comprehensive solution. “We’ve been trying to pass it piecemeal for years. It just doesn’t work,” he added. Still the path to citizenship is the key. “We cannot, it’s physically and fiscally impossible, to do what some of these folks want to do, send them back. You can’t do that. We can’t send 11 million people back to wherever,” Reid said. “The would go to the back of the line, but at least they’d be in a line,” he added.

Deriding the plans of House Republicans to pass some elements of immigration reform as separate bills, Reid said Congressman Joe Heck was “in a dreamland” if he thought that approach would work. “We’ve tried to do that for decades. You can’t do that … it’s like a puzzle. You can’t say you’ve worked things out find a piece in the corner that fits in just well, real well. You’ve have to do the whole puzzle.” Still, the Senate Majority Leader sees a chance that some part of the immigration reform will pass the house and then the two houses will be forced to a conference to reconcile the two immigration reform bills.

Reid’s Legacy

And as to his legacy as leader of Senate Democrats and majority leader, Reid was non-committal.  He would like to be remembered for stopping the privatization of Social Security during the Bush Administration and cited banking reform as important legislation. “For the first time we have the FDA regulating tobacco, we have national service legislation, we have Obamacare, we have a long string of stuff that I think will go down in history books as being very important,” he said.

GUESTS

Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev.

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    COMMENTS:
    Senator Reid cares about every one in Las Vegas for whom he servers. If you have a dispute with him he will respond to what ever the complaint is. He loves Nevada and every one he serves. I was concerned about some thing he had said to a Reporter and I sent him a Message about some thing I had concerns about and He responded right away and explain to Me what he meant. He has my total support. He loves Nevada and the People he serves. He cares about all Nevadans. So give him a Break and stop blaming him for every thing that happen in Nevada. I am a Retired Postal Clerk as well as a Retired U.S. Army Reservist. Thank you for taking the time to care about all of My concern and always addressing them. God Bless you and Your Family. And Thank you again.
    Yvonne AndradesAug 15, 2013 09:01:12 AM
    We're grateful that there is still a voice of REASON to buff the lunacy of the right in Washington. The Senator has a very difficult job in Washington working with so many who are completely unreasoable and unwilling to help do what is right for our nation. I support the Senator 100% and hope that he will keep up the great work in the U S Senate. Thank you!
    James MullayAug 15, 2013 08:52:14 AM
    Senator Ried, You are a huge national figure for the Democrats and a big bruiser for President Obama. That will be you legacy but I can't help wonder what you did for us in NV? Jobs? Foreclosure help? Finally killing Yucca?
    JackieAug 10, 2013 16:06:57 PM
    I cannot believe you would lower yourself to the same level as Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson, the race baiters, by saying Republicans are pushing back against the President's agenda because of his color. Are you kidding me? One of the biggest reasons he has not had more pushback is BECAUSE of his color. People are so afraid of going against the PC folks. If O'Bama were white he would have a whole lot more push-back from Republicans than he currently has. Frankly, the American people do not want Amnesty passed, the Affordable Care Act passed, and do not want the NSA poking around in their personal business. And we want justice for the 4 dead Americans in Bengazi and justice for Lois Lerner and her ilk. It has become a nation of minority rule - not majority rule.
    Susan BurnsAug 10, 2013 10:29:37 AM
    You are a disgusting non-american. I hope the people of Nevada get you out of office. You are just so disgusting that I don't know how else to express my feelings. You are a sleaze ball. McCain is an asshole and a non-american. Get some balls and do your job. Francisco. Yes an I am a Cuban American and wondering if Cuban reverse immigration of in order. You are disgusting to me. Anti-Aercican as you can get. What part of disgusting do you not understand? Respectfully yours Francisco A. Gomez
    Francisco GomezAug 9, 2013 22:02:21 PM
    Senator: Here in NV we have a new law allowing illegals to have a driver card. There is now an issue of having translated papers and the push back is they do not have $100 to translate. How do you think they will have enough money to becime a citizen through the fine of $1000?
    TomAug 9, 2013 09:58:40 AM
    Senator, part of the reason the filibuster is being abused is because it's too easy. Currently, the minority can filibuster just by threatening to do so. When are we going to require they filibuster by actually filibustering and speaking on the floor of the Senate?
    MikeAug 9, 2013 09:44:19 AM
    Hello Senator and thank you for your work. I have just been diagnosed with yet another health problem that requires an expensive medication; this makes three that are over $250 so I have to cut back to a difficult-to-manage generic on one of them. I was told Obamacare will be stopping the donut hole problem; is this a true fact and if so when will this happen. Thank you.
    Elizabeth PooleAug 9, 2013 09:41:26 AM
    Senator, regarding the filibuster would you support the model used by the Texas Senate as a guide for reform, and related to that, would you support allowing the Circuit Courts to make pro tem appointments to the Districts Courts if they go unfilled for more than 180 days? Jordan Ross, Constable Township of Laughlin (702) 298-5791
    Laughlin Constable Jordan RossAug 9, 2013 09:38:28 AM
    Senator, Since telling the truth is what you want to do, please tell us what we can honestly do to get change. If a party is in control like they are now, and it is detrimental to operations and efficiency, what can we do?!? How do we get it changed?
    Gayla CAug 9, 2013 09:36:23 AM
    What is the status of Yucca Mountain? Is there a chance that nuclear waste will be shipped to Nevada?
    PhilAug 9, 2013 09:35:49 AM
    I have to admit that I am not impressed w/ the tea party, in fact, alarms go off for me. It seems like this is an epic time for our gov't. I just wonder if the tea party's action are a defiant stand against this administration. I have to say that I have always sensed an underlying current of bigotry and prejudice with the tea party. Your comments would be appreciated.
    NormaAug 9, 2013 09:34:12 AM
    Senator Reid, you've long supported an audit of the Federal Reserve. The House passed a bill in 2012 that would remove all GAO audit restrictions on the Fed but you didn't bring up the Senate bill for a vote. Why? Do you still support a full audit of the Federal Reserve?
    EricAug 9, 2013 09:30:12 AM
    Senator Reid, Former Governor Jon Huntsman has cosponsored the group No Labels, which promotes bipartisanship in the House and Senate. No Labels asks Congress to put aside party differences and agree to put "Country First." Are you a member of No Labels? If not, please explain why. Thank you for your response.
    Sylvia DenningAug 9, 2013 09:16:45 AM
    Thank you Senator for your courageous leadership! Nevada is damn lucky to have you. Stay strong.
    Bob FAug 9, 2013 09:14:58 AM
    Thank you Senator for your courageous leadership! Nevada is damn lucky to have you. Stay strong.
    Bob FAug 9, 2013 09:14:50 AM
    I work for the Federal Public Defender and, due to the sequester, our office is facing a severe budget crisis. One third of our office is scheduled to be laid off at the end of the month. This will be devastating not only to the economy but to the sixth amendment. We do our part everyday to help the local community and defend the constitution, why are you and other democrats not standing up for us to prevent these devastating cuts?
    VeronicaAug 9, 2013 09:10:13 AM
    Veronica While I have much sympathy for you and your co-workers facing the frightening aspect of potential unemployment, the private sector has been dealing with this since late 2007. It isn't now, nor has it ever been the government's job to make sure everyone is gainfully employed. In fact that mindset has much to do with why so many are out of work. If you're truly ambitious and talented, in all likelihood, you'll be better off in the private sector.
    RayJAug 15, 2013 19:09:34 PM
    Senator Reid. We want to Thank you so much for everything you have done for us! For standing up for Veteran's in Immigration. Your Amazing........Your friends Always James and Sharon Courtney.
    Sharon CourtneyAug 9, 2013 08:57:18 AM
    Why hasn't Congress prosecuted the major parties (mortgage bankers, realtors, etc.) that caused the real estate meltdown? Many of us have had to live with the negative effects on our net worth, and some of us are so old, we may never recover our retirement nest egg. It appears Congress is giving favorable treatment to big money rather than constituents.
    Cynthia Aug 9, 2013 08:53:13 AM
    Many states have made the news recently for their hard-line stance on creating more rules and regulations for reproductive health centers that offer abortion services, effectively closing health centers that service low-income women for a variety of reasons, not just abortion. What is the government doing, or at least trying to do, to ensure that reproductive health services are available to women who need them most, since the Affordable Care Act has some limitations in this area?
    VirginiaAug 9, 2013 08:24:24 AM
    Reports are indicating that the housing market is burgeoning, partially due to lack of inventory in cities such as Las Vegas. Prices are rising extremely fast in many cities like ours, yet wages and sustainable, full-time employment are not, since most jobs being created are in low-wage industries. In addition, there are still tens of thousands of homes in the state of Nevada that are not being paid for, are foreclosed on, or vacant, yet are not on the market because the banks aren't selling for whatever reason. Since housing is one fifth of the country's economy, what is being done (other than interest rates) with regard for jobs and policies pertaining to banks to ensure that the housing market is still accessible to middle class Americans without repeating history?
    VirginiaAug 9, 2013 08:05:35 AM
    A solar company from Utah offers NJ residents free solar panels on their home as long as they purchase energy from them at fixed rates comparable to the local utility companies. Maintenance and liability is protected by the company. Why are these renewable energy companies not allowed to operate in Nevada where sunny days are abundant? I want to go solar, but the cost is prohibitive!
    MichelleAug 9, 2013 08:05:02 AM
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