After watching months and months of attempted negotiation with GOP senators produce nothing in the health insurance debate, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid isn’t in the mood to watch a rerun.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said Thursday that he will not wait for Democrats and Republicans to reach a bipartisan compromise on a Wall Street reform bill, scheduling the first key test vote for Monday.
“I’m not going to waste any more time of the American people while they come up with some agreement,” Reid said. “The games of stalling are over.”
The move puts pressure on Senate Banking Committee Chairman Chris Dodd (D-Conn.) and Alabama Sen. Richard Shelby, the ranking Republican, to reach some resolution on their bipartisan talks. Both senators have said they were progressing toward a deal, but Republicans have suggested that they would need more time than Democrats are willing to give….
Democrats have made a political calculation that at least some Republicans will feel compelled to back the bill Monday, even without any changes – and if they don’t, it’s the GOP that looks bad. If they fail on Monday, Democrats would likely head back to the negotiating table with Republicans to reach a deal, and continue to force votes until at least one Republican joins them in opening the debate.
“We feel we have the upper hand,” Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said.
The New York Times account is a little more detailed about the content of Reid’s press conference, including a description of videotapes rolled out by Senate Democrats:
Mr. Reid, however, noted that Democrats had tried for two months to reach a deal with Senator Richard C. Shelby of Alabama, the senior Republican on the banking committee, and another month working with Senator Bob Corker, Republican of Tennessee, who is also on the committee….
But it was the unusual use of video clips that was most striking about the Democrats’ aggressive posture. First they showed (Minority Leader Mitch) McConnell repeatedly denouncing the legislation, saying it would encourage, rather than prevent, future taxpayer-financed bailouts of big banks. Both sides agree the bill is intended to end bailouts.
“This bill not only allows for taxpayer-funded bailouts of Wall Street banks, it institutionalizes them,” Mr. McConnell says on the video in a speech on the Senate floor. In another clip, Mr. McConnell says, “It provides for an endless taxpayer bailout of Wall Street banks.”
Senator Richard J. Durbin of Illinois, the No. 2 Democrat, accused Mr. McConnell of ignoring the legislative text.
“If you listen to this comment by the minority leader of the United States Senate you wonder if he has read the bill, particularly if he has read the section between pages 110 and 295, which is entitled ‘Orderly Liquidation Authority,’” Mr. Durbin said.
“Liquidation is the end of the bank,” Mr. Durbin said, “not a bailout that it could continue in business. It describes all the steps that would be taken under the bill to liquidate the bank. The management team is fired. The shareholders are wiped out. The firm’s assets are sold off to pay any firm debts. Once the money is gone, the creditors are wiped out. The taxpayers don’t pay for any part of this, and at the end of it, the company is gone. There is nothing to bail out.”
I’d say that Senate Republicans are reaping what they have sown over the past 18 months. Apparently, McConnell’s willingness to tell blatantly obvious lies about the legislation in question made Reid question his sincerity about wanting to negotiate in good faith, and I can hardly blame him.