Harry Reid wants to be Senate Majority Leader until 2022

Politics,Beltway Confidential,Joel Gehrke

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., who cut the necessary deals to pass Obamacare and made himself a political attack dog this cycle, wants to keep his job for the next decade.

“I have this one and one more Congress before I have to run for reelection,” Reid told Politico. “I’m planning on running for reelection.” Reid’s next campaign comes in 2016. If he won, that term would not end until 2022.

Does Reid want to be Senate Majority Leader that whole time? “Oh sure,” he said.

Reid as run the Senate since 2006. The most notable legislation passed during that time is the health care law, when Reid had to wrangle with vulnerable Democrats in his own party to get the 60 votes needed to move the bill through the legislative process without any Republican support. For instance, Reid told reporters that he got Sen. Ben Nelson, D-Neb., to support the law by exempting his state from the new Medicaid provisions. The backlash ultimately caused the senators to back away from the bill, after Nelson cast his crucial vote.

The Senate under Reid is as notable for what it hasn’t done as what they have legislated: there has been no budget since 2009.

“There’s no need to have a Democratic budget in my opinion,” Reid said in May of 2011. “It would be  foolish for us to do a budget at this stage.”

Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., scolded his party leadership for that position. “They don’t want to risk the next [2012] election,” he said on MSNBC last December, before adding that “there’s no excuse” for flouting the law requiring a Senate budget every year. “I would have been impeached as governor,” Manchin added. “I would have been impeached.”

Reid gave a window into the way he thought the Senate was run, by both parties, while criticizing Republicans on the Senate floor this year.

“I understand there’s a presidential election going on,” Reid said. “I clearly understand that. We do what we can to protect the president of the United States. And I know there are efforts to protect their nominee.”

Reid didn’t just try to protect President Obama — he also attacked Mitt Romney on a regular basis, claiming that Romney had not paid any federal income tax for about a decade (Romney said he paid an effective tax rate of 20 percent, on average).

“I don’t think the burden should be on me,” Reid said on a conference call when asked to provide evidence for that accusation. “The burden should be on him. He’s the one I’ve alleged has not paid any taxes.”





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