Harry Reid Urges Obama Not To Take Immediate Action On Immigration

Associated Press

 The Huffington Post

WASHINGTON — Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said Thursday that he has urged President Barack Obama not to take any executive action on immigration until December, amid threats from Republicans that such a move could derail funding for the government.

“The president has said he’s going to do the executive action — the question is when he can do it. It’s up to him,” Reid told reporters on Capitol Hill. “I’d like to get the finances of this country out of the way before he does it.”

Reid added that he has expressed his view to Obama, but ultimately “it’s up to him.”

Obama could take executive action on immigration — potentially giving deportation relief to millions of undocumented immigrants — as early as next week, according to reports. Republicans have said it would be a major overreach of his authority, “poisoning the well” for future immigration reform. But they have also indicated it could lead to a government shutdown, should GOP members insist that defunding the new policies be part of the must-pass funding bill.

“If the president illegally tries to grant amnesty to millions of more people, I believe Congress should use every available tool to stop that amnesty and to defend the rule of law,” Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) told The Huffington Post.

Even Republicans who criticized last year’s government shutdown agreed. Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), both vocal critics of the previous shutdown and co-authors of the Senate immigration bill that passed last year, warned of grave consequences of Obama were to act unilaterally.

“Why not give the new Congress six months to see if we can find a way forward?” Graham told HuffPost. “You’ve got a bunch of new people coming in who need to be tested about what they believe regarding immigration. Patience is a virtue in life, it’s a necessity in a democracy. I just think it’s ill-conceived and the public will rebel against it.”

Graham added that he had appealed directly to the White House on the matter.

“I said, ‘Listen, what’s the downside of giving the new Congress a chance? I think most Americans will find this inappropriate and Democrats will pay a price,'” he said. “Most Americans would be for rational comprehensive immigration reform. Very few Americans are for Barack Obama going it alone.”

McCain said Obama’s decision to take executive action “poisons the well in more ways than one.”

“If the president were serious about immigration reform, he’d say, ‘It’s a new Congress, new members, in both House and Senate, and I’ll give them a chance to move forward on immigration reform.’ He’s not going to do that,” McCain said. “So you have to question whether he’s really serious about immigration reform or helping with the Hispanic vote in the 2016 election.”

McCain also rejected the notion that Congress had forced Obama’s hand by failing to act on the issue.

“There may be something happening. You should give it time in order to find that out. What’s the difference between three months?” McCain said, adding that he would “absolutely” vote for a continuing resolution that defunds any executive action Obama takes on immigration.

“If he vetoes, he vetoes,” McCain said. “I believe in the Constitution. He’s the one who’s violating the Constitution.”

But when asked if Republicans would threaten a government shutdown over immigration, McCain said Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) had already taken a shutdown off the table.

McConnell, who will become the majority leader in January, reiterated on Thursday that Republicans would not shut down the government if Obama enacts executive action on immigration.

“We will not be shutting the government down or threatening to default on the national debt,” he said twice at a press conference.

The exact timing and plan for executive action is a well-guarded secret within the Obama administration, but both Fox News and The New York Times reported that it could come as soon as next week, when the president returns from travel abroad.

Fox News reported on Wednesday that the plan was being finalized and could be announced next week. According to Fox News’ sources, the 10-point draft proposal would expand deportation relief and work authorization to the parents of U.S. citizens and legal residents. It would also broaden eligibility for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, a 2012 policy that allows undocumented young people who came to the U.S. as children to stay and work legally. It would end or change the controversial Secure Communities program that uses local law enforcement to pick up immigrants, and reaffirm the government’s priorities for deportation.

Beyond addressing undocumented immigrants, the proposal would send more resources to the border and increase the pay of Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers to boost low morale, Fox News reported. It would also allow for more immigrants with high-tech skills to come to the country. The New York Timespublished a separate report on Thursday with many of the same details, saying Obama could grant deportation relief to up to 5 million people. Both outlets reported that the details are not final, and could change before the final announcement.

White House spokesman Josh Earnest told reporters on Thursday that the process was nearing completion, although he did not indicate an announcement date other than to say it would be by the end of the year. He said the president does not plan to wait until Congress finishes its session to see if the House will pass immigration reform, but if they were to pass the bill approved by the Senate last year, Obama “would happily sign it,” according to a transcript.

Neither the White House nor the Department of Homeland Security responded to a request for comment on the timeline or details of the proposal being considered.

Beyond government funding, Republicans have said executive action could also complicate the effort to confirm Loretta Lynch, Obama’s nominee for the next attorney general.

“I would think it may,” McCain said. “It would affect my view of her if she thinks it’s constitutional for the president to act with an executive order on an issue of this magnitude.”

UPDATE: 4:45 p.m. — Reid released a statement later Thursday clarifying his support for executive action:

I strongly support the President’s use of his well-established authority to provide relief to families who continue to suffer under our broken immigration system. The President can and should act to provide this relief. Immigrant communities cannot wait any longer for House Republicans to act.

In recent days it has become increasingly clear that a small but vocal minority of Republicans are looking for an excuse to derail what has been a productive, bipartisan process of drafting a year-long funding bill to keep the government open. It is incumbent on responsible leaders within the Republican Party to work with Democrats and complete the business of keeping the government open in the coming weeks, regardless of when the President acts to provide relief to families.

The most interesting thing Harry Reid told Chuck Todd

WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 30: Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) answers reporters' quesitons during a news conference at the U.S. Capitol April 30, 2014 in Washington, DC. Members of the Democratic leadership held the news conference moments after the Senate failed to open debate on the bill to raise the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) answers reporters’ questions during a news conference at the U.S. Capitol April 30, 2014 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

This is indeed an interesting revelation…

The Washington Post – Chris Cillizza

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid sat down with NBC’s Chuck Todd for a wide-ranging — is there ever any other kind? — interview about the world’s greatest deliberative body, the Koch brothers and, yes, even the Washington Redskins. But, the most fascinating part of the sitdown came at the end — when Chuck asked Reid his thoughts on the coming 2016 Democratic presidential race.

It was a lengthy back and forth but it’s worth excerpting large chunks of it.  First, here’s Reid on his feelings about the Clintons:

Chuck: And on the Democratic side, you didn’t mention any names.  Why is that?

Reid: No, I’m not going to.  I–

Chuck: There’s one name.

Reid: I have a few friends out there.

Chuck: Well, there’s one name that — that — do you think–

Reid: Everybody — everybody knows I love the Clintons.  And I don’t need to say more.

Later, Chuck probed on Reid’s feeling about the possibility of a serious primary challenge to Clinton — and whether primaries were generally a good thing.

Chuck: And do you want her to be the nominee?  Or do you think there should be a healthy primary process?

Reid: Rarely do I think primaries are healthy.

Chuck: Oh, is that right?  You don’t think they’re good for for Democrats?

Reid: Why do you go to all the trouble?  It’d be nice to just have people anointed and run off — I’m being facetious, you know.
Chuck: Oh, okay. I thought you were and I wasn’t sure.  So, you think — you think it would be better for — for Secretary Clinton if she has a serious Democratic rival?

Reid: I believe that the primary that was — with Obama and Clinton was an extremely healthy process.  I think it was wonderful.  And I think it — people learned about these two people that they didn’t — things they know about before.

That’s absolutely fascinating — particularly when you remember that Reid was one of the driving forces behind recruiting a freshman Senator named Barack Obama to challenge Clinton in the 2008 presidential race. Here’s how Reid described the encouragement he gave to Obama in the epilogue to his memoir — as described by the Las Vegas Review Journal’s Lisa Mascaro:

Reid said he invited Obama to his office off the Senate floor ostensibly to discuss other matters. But actually the majority leader brought the young senator in to tell him, as Reid writes in the book, “If you want to be president, you can be president now.”

Reid recalled Obama as uncertain, even doubtful of his presidential prospects, according to the epilogue in “The Good Fight: Hard Lessons from Searchlight to Washington.”

“I think he was kind of surprised by the conversation,” Reid told the Sun last week. Reid could not recall the exact date of their talk. Obama filed papers to run in mid-January 2007, with a public plan to announce his formal candidacy almost a month later.

Reid’s comments are doubly fascinating when you consider that several of his Senate colleagues — including Claire McCaskill and Tim Kaine, both of whom were early Obama endorsers in 2008 — have already thrown their full support behind Clinton’s potential candidacy in 2016. Not only did Reid not endorse Clinton in the interview with Chuck, he seemed keen on the prospect of a contested primary — a scenario that the Clinton forces would be glad to avoid.

Now, of course, Reid does have a long relationship with another candidate thinking about running: Vice President Joe Biden. But, Reid never even mentions Biden’s name in the interview.

Why Reid chose this particular tack when asked about the possibility of a 2016 Clinton bid is anyone’s guess. (He certainly had to expect that Chuck would ask the question.) But, the tepidness of his responses — you should watch the clip below to get the full effect — does suggest that Reid may not be ready to sing from the Clinton songbook just yet.

See video on MSNBC here…

Mitch McConnell Loses His Mind and Accuses Harry Reid of Intimidating Him

Wow…the audacity of some Republicans is  absolutely mind-boggling.


Mitch McConnell is claiming that Harry Reid is intimidating him by threatening filibuster reform if Republicans don’t cease their endless campaign of obstruction.


Oh no, big bad Harry Reid is threatening the Republicans by suggesting that something be done to stop their obstruction. In the same speech on the Senate floor, McConnell tried to claim that the talk of Republican obstruction was all part of a Democratic power grab, “Let’s be clear. These threats to use the nuclear option because of obstruction are just pretexts for a power grab. The Senate has confirmed 19 of the President’s judicial nominees so far this year. By this point in his second term, President Bush had a grand total of four judicial confirmations.”

What Sen. McConnell didn’t say was that Obama’s judicial nominees have waited an average of 227 days for confirmation compared to 175 days for George W. Bush’s nominees. Chuck Hagel was the first defense secretary nominee ever to be filibustered. Obama’s EPA nominee is being filibuster by Sen. Roy Blunt. In fact, McConnell didn’t bother to mention that Republicans used the filibuster 252 times during Obama’s first term. Senate Republicans are averaging nearly three filibusters a month in so far in 2013.

Harry Reid is “intimidating” Mitch McConnell by suggesting that the rules be changed so that Republicans will be forced to stop gumming up the works of the legislative process. What Mitch McConnell called a culture of intimidation is what the rest of us refer to as a functioning government.

There has been no word yet on McConnell’s other claims that Harry Reid took his lunch money, and knocked his books out of his hands on the way to 6th period study hall, but we should put nothing past noted master of intimidation Harry Reid.


Harry Reid Fires Back and Calls John Boehner a Do Nothing Speaker

Harry Reid in session


Harry Reid fired back at John Boehner’s attempt to blame the Senate for the sequester by saying, “The speaker’s doing nothing to try to pass anything.”

After trying to blame just the president got him nowhere, Speaker Boehner took aim at the Senate Democrats.


Speaker Boehner (R-OH) said, “The president has known for 16 months that the sequester was looming out there when the super committee failed to come to an agreement. And so for 16 months the president’s been traveling all over the country holding rallies instead of sitting down with Senate leaders in order to try to forge an agreement over there in order to move a bill. We have moved a bill in the House twice, we should not have to move a third bill before the Senate gets off their ass and begins to do something.”

Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) fired back at Boehner, “I think he should understand who is sitting on his posterior. We’re working to pass something. The speaker’s doing nothing to try to pass anything.”

Boehner has the entire legislative process backwards. The bills that the last House passed in 2012 would end food and medical care for nearly 2.5 million Americans, but those bills died with the end of the 112 Congress. Speaker Boehner knows this, but he has yet to pass a sequester replacement bill in the new Congress. The reason why Boehner hasn’t passed a sequester replacement is because he doesn’t have the votes needed for passage.

Beneath Boehner’s blame game is the fact that he can’t pass anything. This is why he is trying push the blame on to the Senate and the White House. House Republicans aren’t trying to avoid the sequester. They are trying to pass the buck. The reality is that the president can’t do anything until after Congress passes the legislation.

Since this is a budgetary matter, the House will have to pass a sequester replacement bill. John Boehner has redefined the meaning of the term do nothing speaker. The 112 Congress was the most unproductive since 1947-1948. The gridlock was caused by House Republicans who refused to compromise.

The speaker is still refusing to compromise, but he is also not doing his job. The House must pass a new sequester replacement. What the House did in the old congress does not carry over. The House hasn’t even voted for a sequester replacement in the new Congress. In reality, it is John Boehner who is content to sit on his ass and try to win the blame game while Rome burns.

John Boehner’s empty tough talk isn’t going to put food on the table of workers who are facing layoffs or pay cuts thanks to his sequester. It’s looks like Boehner’s do nothing incompetence is finally about to catch up with him.

RNC Chairman Calls Harry Reid A “Dirty Liar”

RNC Chairman Reince PriebusWay to stay classy Reince Priebus…

Think Progress

RNC Chairman Reince Priebus today deflected Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s (D-NV) calls for Mitt Romney to release more tax returns by resorting to outright name-calling.

On ABC’s This Week with George Stephanopoulos, Priebus first said he would not respond to the comments and seconds later launched into a personal attack on Reid:

PRIEBUS: As far as Harry Reid is concerned, listen, I know you might want to go down that road, I’m not going to respond to a dirty liar, who hasn’t filed a single page of tax returns himself, complains about people with money, but lives in the Ritz-Carlton here down the street. So if that’s on the agenda, I’m not going to go there. This is just a made-up issue. The fact that we’re going to spend any time talking about it is just ridiculous.

STEPHANOPOULOS: You say you’re not gonna respond, but you just called him “a dirty liar.” You stand by that? You think Harry Reid is a “dirty liar?”

PRIEBUS: I just said it.

Watch the video:

Assuming Priebus meant to say that Reid has not publicly released his tax returns, it is worth noting that given the level of the office, most successful presidential nominees have released their tax returns since the 1970s. The same tradition does not apply to those in Congress and Reid has never been a presidential candidate.

Reid, citing an anonymous source, claimed this week that Romney may not have paid any taxes for 10 years.

On Friday, Romney himself dismissed Reid’s attacks, lamenting the tone of the campaign. Hesaid “I had hoped it would be a debate about the direction of the country. What we’re seeing instead is one attack after the other — misleading, false attacks.”

Reid to Romney: It’s Your Obligation to Put Up Instead of Shutting Up

When Mitt Romney was in Europe a few days ago, he only took three questions from reporters during that entire trip.

What exactly is Romney trying to hide?  Does he truly believe that he can run his entire campaign on secrecy and lies up until election day?   Yes, there are some myopic voters who, although they’re voting against their own economic interest, will vote for Romney because Rush, Hannity, et al tells them to.  However, the majority of voters know better and this secrecy strategy will come back to haunt Romney in the General Election.


Republicans are playing right into Harry Reid’s hands but they’re too puffed up with the smug, bellicose inhaling of conservative media to know it. They’re all excited that Mitt Romney told Reid to “put up or shut up” about Romney’s tax returns.

Let’s just take a moment here to think about that. Who needs to put up or shut up? Romney is the one running for president and refusing to do the most basic qualification of the job as a candidate. For some reason, no matter how politically costly it is, Romney is too scared to release his tax returns. He gave us one year, which his own father pointed out could easily be distorted. He promises to give us another year, but it’s August already.

Romney can manage to squeak out a few tough talking sound bites on Hannity’s show:

“It’s time for Harry to put up or shut up. Harry’s gonna have to describe who it is he spoke with because of course that’s totally and completely wrong. It’s untrue, dishonest and inaccurate. It’s wrong. So I’m looking forward to have Harry reveal his sources and we’ll probably find out that it’s the White House.”

Wow, what’s that about dishonest attacks? Romney is blaming the White House now for Reid’s alleged knowledge of Romney’s taxes? Where is Romney’s proof of this allegation — does he even have an “unnamed source” or was he just throwing some paranoia at the Hannity and hoping it would stick? Someone is getting desperate to deflect.

Romney is a weak candidate who has been labeled a wimp by Newsweek and worse than Sarah Palin by the British press. When he tells Reid to put up or shut up, he obviously doesn’t know who he’s dealing with — but even more bizarre, it’s almost as if Romney is talking for us to him.

Put up or shut up, Romney.

Continue reading here…


Finally, someone has stood up to the GOP and their war on women!

Huffington Post

A deadline looming, the Congress’ top Democrat accused Republicans on Friday of risking a government shutdown because they want to make it harder “for women to get cancer screenings.”

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid unleashed his attack as his main antagonist in long-running negotiations, Speaker John Boehner, said spending cuts — not social issues– were blocking agreement to prevent a shutdown at midnight.

“Most of the policy issues have been dealt with and the big fight is about spending,” Boehner said Friday afternoon.

The maneuvering unfolded as President Barack Obama canceled a trip to Indianapolis and spoke in separate phone calls with Reid and Boehner.

“Discussions between the leaders and the White House aimed at reaching a budget agreement are continuing,” White House press secretary Jay Carney said in a written statement.

“I assure you, these are not unresolvable issues,” added Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky.

Obama, Reid and Boehner met at the White House on Thursday evening for the third time in two days, and their aides struggled without success to reach agreement in middle-of-the-night talks in the Capitol.

Story continues below

For a nation eager to trim to federal spending but also weary of Washington bickering, the spending showdown had real implications.

A closure would mean the furloughs of hundreds of thousands of workers and the services they provide, from processing many tax refunds to approving business loans. Medical research would be disrupted, national parks would close and most travel visa and passport services would stop, among many others. 

Today 5:10 PM John Boehner Told Not To ‘Fold’ As Government Shutdown Looms

HuffPost’s Elyse Siegel reports:

With a government shutdown looming, leaders in the Tea Party community urged House Speaker John Boehner not to cave and agree to a budget compromise with Democrats that contains anything less than $61 billion in spending cuts.

Tea Party Patriots national coordinator Debbie Dooley said if Boehner agrees to a deal that fails to meet that threshold, then the Republican party “will have broken their campaign promise,” according to the Wall Street Journal. The suggestion was presumably made in reference to a “Pledge to America” released by congressional Republicans last year outlining plans to reduce government spending.

Read more here.

Democratic majority ends with accomplishments

Barack Obama addressing a joint session of Con...
Image via Wikipedia

At the risk of sounding redundant

Yahoo News

This is the story of a “lame duck” Congress that wasn’t.

Shaken by a historic election in which angry voters canceled Democratic control of the House, lawmakers of both parties and President Barack Obama tried something new: They consulted each other. They cooperated. And finally, they compromised.

From tax cuts to a nuclear arms treaty and the repeal of the ban on openly serving gay soldiers, Congress and the Obama White House closed up their respective shops and headed out for the holidays with an uncommonly full bag of accomplishments.

Bipartisanship was one of them.

“That progress is … a reflection of the message the voters sent in November, a message that said it’s time to find common ground on challenges facing our country,” Obama told reporters before joining his family in Hawaii. “It’s a message that I will take to heart in the new year, and I hope my Democratic and Republican friends will do the same.”

That’s less likely come January, when Republicans take control of the House, gain seats in the Senate and are guided in part by a shrewd GOP leader who has declared that his top priority is denying the president a second term in 2012.

But even he — Kentucky Sen. Mitch McConnell — walks away having had a seat for the first time at the negotiating table with the Obama administration. Technically, he negotiated with Vice President Joe Biden, McConnell’s Senate colleague for years, on a huge package of tax cuts, plus extended benefits for millions of unemployed workers.    More…

The do-something Congress

In the past two years, the Democratic controlled 111th Congress has been one of the most productive in decades

MSNBC – First Read

With an approval rating in the teens, Congress right now is about as popular as Julian Assange at the State Department’s Christmas Party — or Sarah Palin at The Nation’s editorial meeting, or President Obama at a Federalist Society convention.

And, politically, the Democratic-controlled Congress took a beating from voters in November, as Republicans won back control of the House and picked up seats in the Senate.

But lost in the poll numbers and the voters’ message in November is this one unmistakable fact: This Congress, which likely will come to a close this week, accomplished more, legislatively, than any other Congress since the 1960s (the Great Society) or the 1930s (the New Deal).

In the past two years, it has:
— expanded the safety net with the health-care law;

— invested billions in the nation’s roadways, airports, schools, and green technologies with the stimulus;

— reformed the nation’s financial system with financial reform;

— passed billions in tax cuts for Americans with the stimulus and the extension of the Bush-era tax cuts

— expanded civil rights with the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”

And in its final piece of business, the Senate is currently working on one of the White House’s top foreign-policy goals: ratification of the New START treaty with Russia. Then throw in all of the other legislation enacted this Congress, like credit-card reform and the Lilly Ledbetter anti-pay-discrimination act.

“I would probably rank the New Deal [Congress] first,” congressional scholar Norm Ornstein told First Read. “I think this one edges the Great Society. It is at least on par with the Great Society.”

“For all the dysfunction, it was just astonishing what they were able to get done,” Ornstein added.

Many can take credit for these accomplishments. President Obama (who spent his political capital on these legislative items, especially health care). Democratic leaders (who had to placate everyone in their party from Bernie Sanders on the left to Ben Nelson on the right).

Democratic members of Congress (many of whom cast tough votes). And, at least on the tax-cut deal, congressional Republicans (who bucked growing conservative resistance to the legislation).

What’s more, these accomplishments will likely have staying power. While Republicans campaigned, at least in part, on rolling back the agenda passed these past two years, they won’t find doing so easy as long as Democrats remain in the majority in the Senate and the president wields veto power. (However, it appears that the U.S. Supreme Court will have the final say about whether one of the key components of the health-care law is constitutional.)

Of course, the Democratic-controlled Congress biggest failure was losing 63 House seats — the most since the 1940s — and control of that chamber, as well as losing six Senate seats.

Yet as we — and others — have pointed out before, political power in Congress comes and goes. What truly matters is what you do with it when you have it.

Senate GOP Blocks Cloture On Repeal Of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell


After negotiations between Senate Democrats and Republicans apparently broke down today, the Senate GOP just blocked a cloture vote on the defense spending bill that includes a repeal of the military’s ban on openly gay servicemembers. Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME), the focus of the negotiations, voted in favor of cloture while Republican Sens. Scott Brown (MA) and Lisa Murkowski (AK) voted no. Freshly-elected Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) also voted no.

Three Senators missed the vote: Sam Brownback (R-KS), John Cornyn (R-TX) and Blanche Lincoln (D-AR). Brownback and Lincoln are both leaving the Senate after the lame duck — Brownback was elected governor of Kansas, and Lincoln went down in defeat to Sen.-elect John Boozman (R).

The final vote was 57 for cloture, 40 against it, just shy of the 60 Democrats needed.

The bill could theoretically be brought up again before the end of the lame duck session, but a Democratic leadership aide tells TPM that negotiations are basically at an impasse. Collins had said she wanted time to debate and amendments, and apparently she got what she wanted. But Republicans like Brown and Murkowski who also wanted time to debate the bill apparently were not satsified.

Continue reading here…