Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid argued today that the Republican Party practiced “obstructionism on steroids” last year but that Congress still logged a banner year legislatively.
“In spite of the Republicans, we got a lot of things done,” the Nevada Democrat said in an appearance on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” “We had the most productive Congress in the history of Congress.”
Reid acknowledged that the Senate has moved much more slowly than in years past, especially on issues such as the negotiations to raise the debt ceiling, which ended with the failure of the Joint Committee on Deficit Reduction.
“We spent months on things that used to happen matter of factually,” he said.
But the leader of the Senate Democrats was not willing to call the first half of the 112th Congressional session a complete failure and held out hope that 2012 would be different, even as the presidential campaign heats up.
When presented recent polls that show Congressional approval at historic lows, Reid expressed optimism.
“There are all kinds of polls. The point is they don’t matter,” he said. “We’re in a new year of this Congress, and what I want to do is to work to get things done to rebuild this economy.”
He also sounded positive about Democrats’ chances in next fall’s key Senate races.
“We have a lot of good Democratic prospects,” he said.
Reid also noted that having former colleague Sen. Bob Kerrey (D-Neb.) make a bid for the seat being vacated by retiring Sen. Ben Nelson “would certainly add to that.”
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., speaks with reporters following a vote in the Senate. Gillibrand’s proposal to remove military commanders from the process of reviewing sexual-assault cases was left out of the bicameral deal on the defense authorization bill, but the senator is pushing for a vote on her plan soon.
Each year since 1990, CQ Roll Call has reviewed the financial disclosures of all 541 senators, representatives and delegates to determine the 50 richest members of Congress. This year's report, derived from forms covering the calendar year 2012, shows it took a net worth of $6.67 million to crack the exclusive club.