Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), a Tea Party favorite, has been reaching out to Senate Democratic leaders in recent days in an effort to find common ground on taxes and other issues.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) recently met with Paul to discuss, among other issues, a repatriation tax holiday, a proposal that would allow corporations with billions of dollars in overseas profits to return their money to the United States at a lower tax rate.
“I met in the last few days with Rand Paul. I spent a lot of time with him and I’ve grown to really like him. Even though he has some set political views, he wants to get things done here,” Reid said.
Republican and Democratic senators see the tax holiday as a strategy for raising federal revenue and infusing the U.S. economy with capital.
“He and I, by the way, are working on an issue dealing with bringing with some of these huge sums of money that are overseas back here,” Reid said.
The Democratic leader said he and Paul also discussed the Federal Reserve. Paul has delayed consideration of Janet Yellen’s nomination to head the Fed in an attempt to gain leverage for a vote on authorizing an audit of the agency.
Paul has also developed a rapport with Sen. Charles Schumer (N.Y.), the Senate Democrats' politics and messaging guru.
Schumer said he and Paul put together an agreement at the Senate gym last week that avoided a dreaded weekend session.
“Rand Paul always reaches out,” Schumer said. “I’ve talked to him a lot of times in the gym. In fact, one of the discussions we had last Thursday on the bicycle led to us not being here this weekend."
“I’ve talked to him on repatriation and things like that,” he added. “Rand Paul is the kind of guy — he has very strong, set views on many issues — but he’s not one of these people who says, 'I don’t want to talk to anybody.' "
Schumer, however, added Paul’s Fed proposal should not be used to hold up Yellen’s nomination.
Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) said that Paul privately expressed frustration to Democrats last week about the all-night talkathon that GOP senators staged to protest Reid’s effort to move forward a batch of President's Obama's nominees.
“He intervened a couple times and said, ‘This is stupid,’” said Rockefeller, who added Paul vented his exasperation with the floor delays in “a private conversation with somebody at a high level."
Paul gained some respect in the Senate Democratic caucus last week, according to a senior Democratic aide, when he put through a unanimous consent agreement to waive a time-wasting vote on a live quorum; some Republicans had wanted to hold out on the agreement to express their displeasure with Reid.