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Senator Harry Reid On Debt Talks, Gun Control: 5 Takeaways
Senator Harry Reid On Debt Talks, Gun Control: 5 Takeaways

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AIR DATE: January 18, 2013

by Marie Andrusewicz

Reid To Obama: Stand Your Ground On Debt

Last Friday, Senator Harry Reid sent a letter to President Obama signed by Sens. Durbin, Schumer and Murray telling him to “hang in there” and resist pressure to raise the debt ceiling. 

“This isn’t an effort to get more spending. This is an effort to pay our bills. How could the United States of America not pay its bills?”

Reid adds that Republican demands for cuts in spending are rarely followed by aggressive legislation.

“For example, we passed on a bi-partisan basis in the Senate a very strong farm bill. It cuts subsidies that go back for 60, 70 years. It saves the country 24 billion dollars. It is, I repeat, a bi-partisan bill," says Reid. "The House refused to take it up because they want to continue those worthless subsidies that go to rice farmers that don’t even grow rice.”  

Reid Thinks Deal To Avoid The Cliff Helped Working People

He says the legislation isn’t perfect, but Reid thinks the fiscal cliff negotiations accomplished something important: “delinking” the rich and the middle class.

“I would have gotten (the tax increases) down to (households earning) $250K, not $400K, but we delinked it,” says Reid. “It wasn’t perfect legislation, but we accomplished something we were trying to do for years, delink the rich from the middle class.”

Boehner Is Letting Tea Party ‘Anarchists’ Run The Republican Party

“There are about 80 to 90 members of the house who are controlling what goes on over there,” says Reid. “What (House Speaker John) Boehner has done, and it’s been a mistake, is try to pass legislation with a minority of the majority, and you see editorials all over the country saying ‘Mr. Speaker, there’s 435 members in the House. Let them all vote.’”

He thinks threats of a government shutdown by Tea Party-backed Sen. Fischer of Nebraska and other Tea Party-influenced legislators are similar to anarchist tactics.

“When I was in school we studied political science and history. We studied about the anarchists – they were the people that went out and threw Molotov cocktails,” says Reid. “They didn’t believe in government at any level. Well, the modern day anarchist aren’t throwing these kinds of bombs, they’re throwing a different kind of bomb. And the bomb they’re throwing is trying to shut down government.”  

Immigration Is Broken And Needs To Be Fixed

“We’re working now to come up with, very quickly, a bipartisan bill, and there’s been tentative agreement at this stage,” says Reid. “If that doesn’t happen, we’re going to move to an immigration reform bill and people are going to have to belly up to the bar and vote.”

Reid says that as majority leader he has the right to put 10 pieces of legislation before congress and immigration reform will be one of his first or second priorities.

Violence, Mental Health And Guns

For Reid, the Newtown shootings are a call, not only to look at gun control, but also violence in the media.

“Guns have to be part of the discussion, and they should be. But we also have to look at video games. Games have changed since my children were children,” says Reid. He also points to television and “movies, gory movies” as potentially inciting violent behavior.  

Mental health reform is also a part of the equation, he says.

“A woman wrote a column ‘I Am Adam Lanza’s Mother.’ She has a child who’s now a teenager and he’s violent on occasion,” says Reid. “When I first started practicing law in Nevada if a parent had a problem with a child they could go to a judge and say this kid is violent, you should have somebody look at him.”

Reid added that, while this system could have more easily been abused, it may have also been helpful in limiting violence resulting from mentally unstable individuals.

“We really have a serious problem. Obamacare will be a big help to it because it’s going to allow more mental health care,” says Reid.  

 

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    COMMENTS:
    Harry Reid conveniently forgets that the Founders rightly despised democracy as the "tyranny of the majority", hence created immutable Constitutional protections of minority rights. What he's seeing in Congress is simply the minority refusing to be controlled, exploited and taxed for the benefit of the majority, and that's how it's supposed to work! His idea that everyone should compromise for the public good is the one that historically and morally has no legs.
    Tom HurstJan 16, 2013 11:35:06 AM
    Violence in media and health care matters occur in other like minded industrial western countries to the same extreme as the US, where the gun control is more constricted and they have positive results in terms of caring for their own. Realizing violence in media and mental health is an issue, it's certainly not an excuse. C Non NRA Leslie
    LKEJan 15, 2013 20:58:12 PM
    You have been the key to have the Nevada Shooting Park built.Are you in favor of the rumor of the government confiscation of gun currently owned by the American people.
    Daniel PolisJan 15, 2013 20:35:48 PM
    Mr Reid just said there is nothing parents can do if they think their child is mentally unstable. Simply not true. I have had to address this situation as a parent. Petition the court to intervene. Easily done. I did it. Why aren't the parents roles being discussed? There are plenty gun of regs on the books now. How is it not obvious gun control does jot affect criminals! Only they good guys.
    jason Jan 15, 2013 09:59:27 AM
    Reid mentions that when he was a lawyer, parents could bring violent children before a judge and get help. He says that's no longer possible. Why? What changed?
    KristyJan 15, 2013 09:53:23 AM
    I appreciate you want to look at the bigger picture of violence in addition to just gun control, but you failed to mention the real reason for these tragedies: Mental Health issues. Coming down on games and movies is a bit misguided.
    MichaelJan 15, 2013 09:46:32 AM
    Senator: As a school psychologist in Las Vegas I am aware that if I identify a student or parent that is potentially dangerous -or suffers from a diagnosable or diagnosed mental disorder, that I have no mechanism or procedure for reporting that clear ad present risk to anyone with the goal of limiting their access to any firearms. What is your feeling regarding ad national registry of persons with mental disorders and having it used as a component of a background check for gun sales and possession? Limiting access to firearms by mentally ill persons seems very essential to the discussion on violence and it seems to be marginalized.
    Gary Jan 15, 2013 09:42:19 AM
    Is there anything being done to control the cost to small business owner who wants to have employees. Currently wages have to remain low to compensate for the high cost of workers comp, health insurance and other misc taxes/costs. The prohibitive cost to employers is keeping small businesses from starting and/or succeeding..more businesses with higher paid employees will strengthen the middle class.
    MarkJan 15, 2013 09:40:27 AM
    What about job creation in relation to going green. It seems to me if we would be more aggressive with recycling programs from homes and businesses alike, this would create alot of jobs.
    Janet WillisJan 15, 2013 09:35:06 AM
    Can Nevada negotiate 3% more Colorado River water rights from Arizona, California & Utah? - Thanks
    NickJan 15, 2013 09:34:55 AM
    What is the gov't doing to fill the millions of skilled labor positions in this country that are available.
    MarkJan 15, 2013 09:32:25 AM
    Senator, It would seem that a substantial level of gun control could be achieved by requiring all firearms to be insured. This would put the private sector in effective control of firearms and reward safe and responsible gun owners and penalize unsafe and irresponsible gun owner. What do you think?
    RobJan 15, 2013 09:31:04 AM
    Lifting the assault weapons ban was a huge mista Do you agree ??
    Gooya AbraJan 15, 2013 09:30:41 AM
    What about re-introducing the Line Item Veto?
    David MJan 15, 2013 09:29:10 AM
    What about a path to citizenship for professionals, not always scientists that are working here, are legal, but really must go through incredible hoops to renew their visas
    patJan 15, 2013 09:27:43 AM
    What about a path to citizenship for professionals, not always scientists that are working here, are legal, but really must go through incredible hoops to renew their visas
    patJan 15, 2013 09:27:35 AM
    The debt ceiling was put in place in 1917 as a belt and pair of suspenders to protect the US gold supply when we were on the gold standard. It has no place in the operation of a fiat currency., Why wasn't the law taken off the books when we went off the gold standard domestically in 1934, and, especially, when we went off it internationally in 1971?
    JanieJan 15, 2013 09:17:53 AM
    Will there be any effort to unwind some of the special protections that the firearms industry enjoys? In particular, I mean: 1. preventions on inspection of dealers 2. protection from lawsuits against manufacturers for knowing sale of weapons to illicit dealers 3. prevention of the release of data by the ATF 4. prevention of research into gun violence and crime by the CDC 5. prevention of research into gun violence and crime by the NIH
    Scott SwankJan 15, 2013 09:13:40 AM
    Please ask him why he won't work on getting visa waiver status for the Chinese, who pay more to visit Macau than they would to visit Las Vegas. Twenty million Chinese gamble $36B in Macau, while forty million Americans gamble $6B in Las Vegas.
    ed uehlingJan 15, 2013 09:12:00 AM
    Why don't we require citizens to have licenses to buy guns *AND AMMO*? I could see a system where gun ranges and shops would administer classes and license tests. These gun shops would be contracted out by ATF, and could be a big boost to the economy by providing jobs to vets as instructors and test proctors. There would be different class of licenses for regular hand guns, semi-auto guns, and "assault weapons" ... just as there are different classes of driver's licenses.
    David MJan 15, 2013 09:08:34 AM
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