Senate

Reid sums up 114th Congress as ‘a flop’

Greg Nash

Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid (Nev.) on Thursday summed up the 114th Congress, the first controlled by Republicans since 2006, in two concise words: “a flop.”

{mosads}“This Republican Senate has been a flop, and that’s an understatement,” he told reporters at his final news conference in the Capitol before Election Day, during which he excoriated his Republican counterpart, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.), for recessing the Senate for the next six weeks.

Reid and his leadership team distributed a report to the media highlighting “a record of inaction, obstruction and government-by-crisis.”

The cover page featured a reprint of the 2016 legislative calendar, much of it blacked out, representing the days the chamber was on recess. It noted in bright block letters that the Republican-run Senate has worked the fewest days since 1955.

Reid recalled past years when senators would scramble to wrap up work on big issues before leaving for the final weeks of the fall campaign.

He hit Republicans for failing to move criminal justice reform, even though there was a bipartisan agreement in the Judiciary Committee on a set of changes, and criticized the GOP for not passing legislation to keep guns out of the hands of suspected terrorists.

“The NRA as we speak is spending a million dollars, in addition to the money they get from the Koch brothers, running ads in the Senate race in Nevada,” Reid noted, referring to  billionaire GOP donors Charles and David Koch.

The GOP’s biggest failure, Reid argued, was its refusal to hold hearings or votes on President Obama’s Supreme Court nominee, Merrick Garland, leaving a vacancy on the court for months and resulting in inconclusive 4-4 votes.

“They should be hanging their heads in shame for how [few] days they’ve worked,” said Sen. Charles Schumer (N.Y.), who is set to succeed Reid as Senate Democratic leader at the end of the year.

“They barely worked,” said Schumer, who asked reporters to compare the Senate’s time in session in 2015 and 2016 to what McConnell promised when Republicans were running to capture the Senate in the last midterm elections.

McConnell promised two years ago that he would keep the Senate in session on Fridays and work long hours to get bills moving on the Senate floor. Instead, the Senate, especially in recent months, tended to hold its last votes of the week after lunch on Thursdays and rarely worked on Fridays.

Tags Charles Schumer Harry Reid Mitch McConnell

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