Reid: Taxes, spending and immigration reform top Senate agenda

Taxes, spending and immigration reform top Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's (D-Nev.) goals for this Congress, he said Tuesday night.

Reid, the top Democrat in the Senate, suggested that he could find common ground with Republicans on taxes and spending, and perhaps on immigration reform as well.

Tax reform "certainly needs to be done this Congress," Reid said during an appearance on "Face to Face with Jon Ralston" on Nevada television Tuesday night.

"I really think it's going to happen — we may not go back to Bradley-Gephardt," the majority leader said referring to a tax proposal put forward in 1982 by former House Majority Leader Dick Gephardt (D-Mo.) and former Sen. Bill Bradley (D-N.J.), "but we have to go back to a flatter tax."

Both tax and spending reforms have been discussed as possible areas of agreement between President Obama, the Democratic-held Senate, and the new Republican House. The president's fiscal commission recommended a series of spending cuts and tax reforms last year that could prove the foundation for congressional action over the next two years.

"We have to do that. It's not only domestic, discretionary spending that we have to do something about," Reid said of spending cuts, saying that the defense, Medicare and Medicaid budgets all should be considered fair game. "We cannot sustain the spending of this country; we have to get it under control. We cannot end up like Greece, or like Ireland, and default on our debt."

Reid also signaled his intention to make another try at immigration reform, an effort which stalled last year in the Senate due to Republican opposition. The majority leader had sought to advance the DREAM Act during the lame-duck Congress, but most Republicans and some Democrats voted against ending debate.

Since then, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and some other lawmakers have expressed an interest in comprehensive immigration reform once borders have been secured. But the Republican House could prove a stumbling block for any bill that offers what conservatives consider "amnesty" for illegal immigrants.

"I think the answer is unequivocally yes, I think we can get something done," Reid said of the prospects for immigration reform. "The tide is turning on this. This is not something that is going to be a lost program; we're going to get this done."

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