Reid ‘cautiously optimistic’ on Senate

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Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said Monday that he was “cautiously optimistic” that the new year would bring more cooperation in the Senate.

“I’m cautiously optimistic that the new year will bring a renewed spirit of cooperation,” Reid said on the Senate floor. “There is so much more that needs to be done.”

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Numerous stories have been written in recent weeks about how the current Congress is one of the least productive in history, if the number of bills passed is used to evaluate it.

The few bills the Democratic-majority Senate has approved have languished in the GOP-held House. At the end of the year, a furor over the Senate Democrats' decision to change the filibuster rules slowed things to a crawl.

Republicans argued the changes greatly diminished minority party rights and fundamentally changed the Senate, but Reid on Monday blamed the GOP for the Senate's problems, arguing the party had caused “never ending obstruction” ever since President Obama took office.

Later Monday, the Senate will vote on whether to proceed to a bill that would extend unemployment benefits for three months. Reid said he hoped at least five Republicans would vote for that measure since 60 votes are needed to end debate.