Prayerby Senator Harry Reid
Posted on 2013-09-24
REID. Mr. President, we all admire the Senator from Texas for his
wanting to talk. With all due respect, I am not sure we learned
anything new. He had talked about it before on a number of occasions--
in fact, endlessly. It has been interesting to watch, but, for lack of
a better way of describing this, it has been a big waste of time.
The government is set to shut down in a matter of hours. In just a few days the government will close. And it is a shame. We are standing here having wasted perhaps 2 days--most of yesterday and a good part of today--when we could pass what we need to pass very quickly and send it back to the House of Representatives. They are waiting for us to act.
It seems that in recent years, rather than trying to get things done, we have a mindset in some people's minds to delay and stall and try not to get anything done. I have talked about this before. I do believe that what we have here with the so-called tea party is a new effort to strike government however they can, to hurt government. Any day that government is hurt is a good day for them. It is, as I said before, the new anarchy.
We should get this matter back to the House of Representatives as soon as we can. They may want to change something in this, and we believe that if they have to do that--I don't think they should, but if they feel they have to, get it back to us. Each hour we waste is one less hour we will have an opportunity to look at this. Our rules are different from the rules in the House. So this has been untoward, and I would hope we don't have to waste more time prior to sending it to the House.
Under the Senate rules, there are lots of opportunities to waste time, and that is what we do around here now--we waste time.
The Presiding Officer has been here longer than any other Senator, and he has seen how Senators have worked together over the years to get things done, not to stop things from happening.
I haven't been here as long as the distinguished Presiding Officer, but I have been here quite a while. I came to the Congress in 1982. I have seen the work of Democrats and Republicans. I look back with such pleasure that Senator Hatfield and Senator Danforth, an Episcopalian from Missouri--both Republicans--worked to get things done.
The late John Heinz was taken from us far too quickly in an unfortunate [[Page S6839]] plane accident, but he was a Republican Senator who worked to accomplish things for this country.
John Chafee. If he did now what he did for me in my reelection in 1992, he would be booted out of the Republican Party. Do you know what he did then? He was chairman of the Environment and Public Works Committee. I sat on his committee. He came to me and said: Harry, I want you to get reelected, and I am going to help you get reelected. We will do some hearings in Nevada, and you are going to wind up conducting those hearings. That is how we used to work together to get things done. He liked the work I did on the committee. He was a Republican, but he worked to get things done. He was a patriot. He was a hero on the coldest war, the Korean war. Brady's book written about the Korean war was mostly about John Chafee.
It is unfortunate that so much time is now spent wasted, not accomplishing anything. That is what this has been about--wasting time. The American people know. They have been called upon by the junior Senator from Texas time and time again: the American people, the American people. I will tell you something. The American people know that every hour that he has spoken or speaks pushes us another hour closer to a Republican government shutdown.
I have witnessed a government shutdown. The gross national product was hammered by tens of billions of dollars quickly. We had a meeting this morning, and Bob Rubin, former Secretary of Treasury, talked. He said: I was here, I know all about that shutdown. He said: But the world had more confidence in the United States then than they do now.
With the government being hammered every angle by the anarchists, he doesn't know how badly we would be hurt with another government shutdown. He thinks it would be worse than the first one.
If anyone has any doubt that there are Republicans rooting for a shutdown, they should just turn on the television. It is not all Republicans, and we know that, but they can look at TV and see that there are some working to almost singlehandedly force us into a shutdown because, remember, a bad day for government is a good day for the tea party.
We could finish this bill within a matter of hours, but instead we find ourselves being pushed closer and closer to another shutdown. I know the majority of my Republican colleagues recognize this strategy for the foolishness it is, and I am glad to see them speak up. Two dozen have spoken saying, among other things, that it is the dumbest idea he had ever heard. Another said they were being forced into a box canyon and he could see no way out. One Senator said it was political suicide. So I am glad to see them speak up for common sense. Actions speak louder than words.
In just 50 minutes, it will be time for common sense to prevail. I still have hope that we can avoid a government shutdown, but every hour we waste on this floor diminishes the hope of that.