Mass. changed math, but we’ll fight on

Senate Democrats understand that there is great anger, anxiety and frustration among hardworking families as the economy continues its recovery.

I hear every day from Nevadans who struggle to find work, face bankruptcy because of rising healthcare costs and worry about how they are going to keep their homes. They don’t care about political scorekeeping in Washington; they want action.

That is why Senate Democrats will continue to do everything we can to strengthen our economy, put Americans back to work, reform Wall Street and address the healthcare crisis.

We will continue working with President Obama to address the challenges we inherited: a financial system on the edge of disaster, deepening debt and deficit, and an economy that looked out for Wall Street first.

From day one, we have fought to protect working families and small businesses. We cut their taxes, saved endangered jobs and created new ones. We cracked down on abusive credit card companies, reined in predatory mortgage lenders and helped families keep their homes.

We’ve also made historic progress to make healthcare accessible and affordable for all Americans. After nearly a year of passionate debate, the Senate passed of a pro-consumer, pro-patient bill that will make health insurance more affordable for millions of Americans and stop insurance company abuses that prevent people from getting the healthcare they need.

We also ensured equal pay for equal work, got tougher on hate crimes, protected the American wilderness, and made it easier for more Americans to serve their communities and their country.

And Democrats have stood by our troops and their families. We’ve invested in troop readiness and upgraded battlefield equipment, expanded funding to those who care for our wounded veterans, and given our brave service members a well-deserved pay raise.

But there is a lot more to do. Too many Americans are still out of work, and too many families are still uneasy about their futures.

That is why we will help create millions of good-paying, clean-energy jobs here at home. It is why we remain committed to getting a health insurance reform bill to the president’s desk as soon as possible. And it’s why we will protect consumers and stabilize the markets by reforming the financial industry and making Wall Street more accountable.

As always, we will also work with the president and his administration as they keep America safe from those who seek to harm us.

Many have asked what the outcome of the Massachusetts special election means for our agenda. Here’s my answer: While it has changed the political math in the United States Senate, it does not change the challenges our country faces or our need to address them. Jobs are still too few, healthcare is still too scarce and expensive, and our energy future is still too treacherous. One election in one state does not alter those facts.

We hope Senate Republicans will be up to the task of addressing these challenges with us. Both parties have an obligation to the American people to govern our nation and answer our citizens’ demands. The stakes for American families are too high for any senator to sit on the sidelines.

This year will be full of many challenges — and just as many opportunities for the Senate to find smart, creative and decisive solutions.
Senate Democrats will not back down from the tough fights because we know the American people sent us here to deliver change for our nation and to ensure their families will know a more stable, secure and prosperous future.

Reid is the Senate majority leader.