LAS VEGAS — Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (Nev.) said the “main lesson” from the Democrat's drubbing at the polls Tuesday was that voters want the parties to cooperate in Congress.
“People want us to work together,” Reid said at a press conference at the Vdara Hotel one day after his stunning victory in a closely fought Senate race. “They’re demanding to have good government.”
Reid said he’s “friends” with Senate GOP Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) and he has a “long-standing” relationship with House Republican Leader John Boehner (Ohio), who’s expected to be the next Speaker.
Asked about McConnell’s statement that “the single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president,” Reid called that goal a "road to nowhere."
“I don’t think that’s what the American people want,” Reid said. “I think that’s a road to nowhere. I don’t think that’s going to be a message the American people would accept in this state, and I’m sure that Sen. McConnell has other ideas in mind than just that.”
“I’m hopeful and confident that when the dust settles that Republicans will no longer want to stop everything,” he said. “And we’ll work together.”
Reid said compromising with the GOP didn't necessarily mean shifting the Democratic agenda to the right.
“This is not a question of right or left, it’s a question of [doing] the best thing for the American people,” he said.
Reid said he’d “love” to get ideas from Republicans and has been “begging” for their input on major legislation, but they haven’t cooperated. He was hopeful that would change, suggesting a new sense of bi-partisanship could be forged in the final weeks of the 111th Congress.
“I think the lame-duck should be no different than when we go back to a new Congress,” he said. “It’s a good time to start working together. We don’t have to wait until January to do that. We can do that right now.”
This story was updated at 2:28 p.m.