The Washington Times - April 13, 2010, 11:10PM

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, a Nevada Democrat, spoke to reporters today at his weekly press conference.  Mr. Reid laid out the legislative agenda for the upcoming work session, which included: financial regulatory reform, food safety, looking into the Citizen’s United legislation, and energy legislation.

“We have a lot of work to do,” Reid said. “We won’t get to immigration reform this work period. We won’t get to the Supreme Court justice this weekend. We have lots of things to do and I’ve spent most of the caucus today [discussing with my members] the things we have to do and how we’re going to do them.”


Regardless of its passage into law, the health care bill remains an issue reporters are asking about. Mr. Reid addressed a question from the press conference regarding a recent report from the New York Times. The article pointed out that the new health care act may have accidentally stripped members of Congress’s health care coverage. Mr. Reid evaded the core part of the question. If members of Congress’s health care coverage can be threatened through the health care act, how can the average American count on the health care legislation working properly for them?

“There are many issues here [in the health care legislation] that people are so happy about to kick in right now. There’s going to have to be some oversight in this bill, as we do with any piece of legislation. If there’s a problem with this, we’ll take care of it.”

Senator Reid kicked off his remarks claiming that “98% of the American people” received a tax cut as a result of work done by the Democrats:

“We closed many corporate loop holes. By cutting business taxes, we created jobs here at home. We’ve done all that.  Taxpayers saving an average of $900  a year in Nevada alone and in some places in the country the average in the country is $1150.

People who make the top 20% didn’t get the tax breaks that those who needed it with the least amount of money. This represents change, and there’s no question about that. When Republicans ran this town, they gave tax breaks to CEO’s …many of those jobs were shipped overseas and struggling families were told no.  So in short, Americans can’t afford these policies again. That hasn’t stopped the Republicans from hanging on to the old policies they want, including leaving the unemployed out to dry.”

I asked the majority leader about companies like John Deere and Caterpillar who have been asked to come to Capitol Hill on April 21 to open their books and prove their claim that the health care legislation is costing them hundreds of millions of dollars more in order to be in compliance with the new law. “How is this supposed to help the private sector with jobs?” I questioned.

 “I don’t know what Caterpillar is talking about, but we have to visit with them.  …I talked to one senator today. In fact, he reported to us. Senator Conrad, Chairman of the Budget Committee had a series of meetings in North Dakota,” Mr. Reid said.  “He took to those meetings…chief executives of hospitals, the AARP representatives, Chamber of Commerce representatives, and a wide range of people who went with him to all these meetings. As I understood Senator Conrad’s remarks…they were in keeping with the same feeling I got and the same response I got in Nevada.  That is, people support this legislation. The more they know about it the more they like about it.”

After referring to $12.5 billion worth of spending “to educate 20,00 health care professionals” among other things, the Nevada Democrat said,  “This is a good piece of legislation. And if there’s a problem with it, we’ll be happy to take a look at it.”

While Mr. Reid touted how happy his constituents in Nevada were about the passage of the health care bill, saying that the more people find out what is in it, the more they like it, a new Rasmussen poll appears to contradict Senator Reid’s assertion:

 “Three weeks after Congress passed its new national health care plan, support for repeal of the measure has risen four points to 58%. That includes 50% of U.S. voters who strongly favor repeal”

I contacted Mr. Reid’s office late this afternoon about the Rasmussen poll and Mr. Reid’s claim. I am waiting on a response. I’ll post an update should new information come in from the majority leader’s office.