Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid says he doesn't expect the joint House-Senate budget talks to produce a "grand bargain" to end the sequestration automatic spending cuts, calling such a notion "happy talk."
"I would hope there would be a grand bargain, but I don't see that happening," Reid, D-Nev., told Nevada public radio station KNPR Thursday. "What we need to do is start to get back to talking about the stars in this atmosphere and get something done that's reasonable."
When the show's host asked if medicare and Social Security reform was possible, Reid quipped he should "get that out of your head."
"There's not going to be a grand bargain," the lawmaker said. "What we need to do is have [Senate Budget Committee Chairman Patty Murray, D-Wash.] and her counterpart in the House [Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis.] work together to come up with something to get us out of this senseless sequestration and start the budgeting process so we can do normal appropriations bills and hopefully do something on a grand bargain in a year or so."
But Reid said as long as "insane individuals" in the GOP-led House continue their push to stop Obamacare, meaningful budget reforms won't happen.
"It's really hard to try to be logical and rational with people who are illogical and not rational," he said.
Reid added that Capitol Hill's culture of dragging its feet on dealing with major issues — like last week's deal that ended a 16-day government shutdown and raised the nation's debt ceiling just before a midnight deadline — are here to stay.
"That's how it's always operated," Reid said. "So if anyone thinks there’s going to be these long-range plans like the five-year plan in the former Soviet Union, that doesn’t work, that isn't how we do things."
Reid also suggested he's optimistic that a long-term government funding deal can be brokered before the current compromise expires in January because Republicans have lost negotiating leverage over their failed attempts to stop Obamacare.
"The Republicans, since this deal [last week] went down, have been battered, bruised, embarrassed, humiliated," he said. "Their standing has been lower than any time since polling started."