Updated: 2:28 p.m.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said today that Democrats would try to block Mitt Romney’s agenda next year if he wins the presidency on Tuesday.
“Mitt Romney’s fantasy that Senate Democrats will work with him to pass his ‘severely conservative’ agenda is laughable,” Reid said in a statement. “In fact, Mitt Romney’s Tea Party agenda has already been rejected in the Senate. In the past few months, we have voted down many of the major policies that Mitt Romney has run on, from the Ryan plan to end Medicare as we know it, to the Blunt Amendment to deny women access to contraception, to more tax giveaways for millionaires and billionaires, to a draconian spending plan that would gut critical services for seniors and the most vulnerable Americans.”
Reid accused Romney of “kowtowing” to the tea party and disputed Romney’s claims of bipartisanship while he served as governor of Massachusetts.
“He had a terrible relationship with Democrats, cordoning himself off behind a velvet rope instead of reaching out to build relationships,” Reid asserted. “Senate Democrats are committed to defending the middle class, and we will do everything in our power to defend them against Mitt Romney’s Tea Party agenda.”
Romney has cast himself in recent weeks as someone who could bridge the partisan divide that has led to endless gridlock the past two years, running ads repeatedly saying that he’s worked across the aisle before and can do it again.
Campaigning in Virginia this week with House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, Romney told voters he would reach out more regularly to Democrats on Capitol Hill.
“For me to get the things done ... I’m going to have to reach across the aisle and meet with good Democrats who love America, just like you love America, and there are, there are good Democrats like that,” he said according to the Los Angeles Times. “I’m going to meet regularly with Democrat leaders and Republican leaders. I won’t do that once a year; when I say regularly I mean much more frequently than that because we’re going to have to work together. These are critical times.”
Romney also told a crowd in West Allis, Wis., today that he would be able to forge consensus on one of the trickiest issues for both parties in recent years — the debt ceiling. Referring to the gridlock in Congress that nearly resulted in a historic default on the nation’s obligations in 2011, Romney said his presidency would be able to avoid that scenario when the debt limit comes up again for a vote under his administration.
“You know that if the president is re-elected, he will still be unable to work with the people in Congress,” Romney said. “He has ignored them, attacked them, blamed them. The debt ceiling will come up again, and shutdown and default will be threatened, chilling the economy. The president was right when he said he can’t change Washington from the inside. In this case, you can take him at his word.” Romney’s optimism is notable, considering Republicans have said they will be just as skeptical of a debt ceiling hike under a Romney administration as they would be in any second term for Obama.
Republicans have hoped to depose Reid as majority leader next year but those hopes have faded after assorted GOP candidate blunders in recent months. And Reid has embraced the role of attack dog, repeatedly trolling Romney to release more tax returns.
That suggests Romney will have some relationship-building to do if he’s successful on Tuesday.