Reid Has Ambitious Agenda for Week but Needs GOP Help

Posted February 23, 2010 at 9:56am

Looking to pass a jobs measure, travel promotion bill and various tax extenders, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) has an ambitious agenda for the chamber this week.

But with an all-day health care retreat with the White House scheduled for Thursday and a handful of pending bills to consider, Reid will need Republican support to keep things moving on a tight timeline, and whether he can broker such a deal remains uncertain.

“I’m hopeful and confident we can work out a reasonable time to vote” on the jobs package, Reid said on the floor Tuesday, noting that debate time for the measure expires just after midnight.

Republicans, who have criticized Reid for shutting them out of the jobs bill, said they are willing to accept a time agreement only if they can offer amendments on the floor.

“Our Members would be happy to yield back time on the Reid’s bill if he provides an opportunity to amend,” a Senate GOP aide said.

Five Republicans did cross party lines Monday to beat back a GOP filibuster on the $15 billion jobs package, the first in a series of economy-boosting bills to be considered this year. Just one Democrat, Sen. Ben Nelson (Neb.), voted against the motion to end debate.

Reid also said on the floor that he would ask consent Tuesday afternoon to move a package of short-term extensions on expiring tax provisions, flood insurance, unemployment insurance and the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act before moving to the travel promotion bill. The travel bill, which aims to boost tourism within the United States and would be a major boost for Reid’s economically ailing state of Nevada, was passed by the Senate last year but was never signed into law.