Reid, Pelosi Urge Bush to Focus on Domestic Issues
At a White House meeting Wednesday afternoon, Congressional Democratic leaders tried to pin down President Bush on domestic issues that lawmakers plan to take up in the coming weeks.
After the rendezvous, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (Nev.) criticized the president for steering the conversation with Democratic leaders towards the Colombian trade agreement.
The controversial pact dominated Wednesday’s headlines after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (Calif.) announced she would seek a vote to eliminate the 90-day timeline under which the trade pact would normally be considered.
Reid criticized the administration for its lack of attention to economic priorities set by the Congress.
“It’s good that the president has focused on Wall Street and Bear Stearns. It was a bailout for them,” Reid said. “I didn’t criticize them for doing that; most Democrats did not. But we think it’s time to start focusing on what needs to be done with Main Street America.”
The White House announced this week that it opposes the housing compromise that Reid and Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) brokered the week after recess. The administration has come out against many provisions of that bill, saying that Congress should allow the economy to correct itself instead of legislating government interference.
For her part, Pelosi said she hoped the president would sign the housing and a second economic stimulus package being sought by Democratic leaders. Only then would she consider the trade agreement.
“I advised the president against the action he took of sending this trade agreement over to the House without respecting the protocols that would be necessary to bring it up,” Pelosi said. “The president took his action. House Democrats will take our action [Thursday], and we’ll remove the timetable from the consideration.”