Reid: Cheney motivated to stop defense cuts because of Halliburton ties

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) suggested Tuesday that former Vice President Dick Cheney’s concern over defense cuts is motivated by his ties to Halliburton, a major defense contractor.

Cheney served as CEO of Halliburton from 1995 to 2000.

Cheney met with Senate Republicans Tuesday afternoon to warn them of the national security implications of the impending $500 billion in sequester cuts to the defense budget.

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Reid noted that Halliburton flourished after Cheney became vice president, profiting handsomely from government contracts during the war in Iraq. He said Cheney is likely still defending the company’s interests.

“Well, Vice President Cheney's up here. We know that before he became vice president, he worked for Halliburton. Halliburton did extremely well during his time as vice president, and I assume there's going to be some concern about Halliburton again in this conversation they're going to have today,” Reid told reporters.

Reid scolded the media for focusing on the political battle over looming defense cuts and not giving enough coverage to scheduled cuts to social programs.

“My press friends here, tend to focus as if sequester is a one-sided vehicle, that it only dealt with defense. That's not true,” he said.

Reid wrapped up his press conference by backing Sen. Patty Murray’s (D-Wash.) warning delivered at the Brookings Institution on Monday that Democrats are willing to let all the Bush-era tax rates expire if Republicans do not agree to raise taxes on those earning above $250,000 annually.

“We have to have a balanced deal. Sen. Murray was chair of the supercommittee. She speaks with some authority,” Reid said.

“Patty Murray knows what she's talking about,” he added.