While most national media is focused on today’s Super Tuesday action, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is raging against the Bush administration back in Washington.
“The Bush Administration is Orwellian. Orwellian,” Reid ranted Tuesday morning on the Senate floor.
“The American people know how disingenuous [this administration] has been,” he said. “What has taken place here in the Senate floor today [is] keeping with this – the Bush Situation…. Mr. President, what we have heard today here on the Senate floor is as Orwellian as anything could be. … So, Mr. President, the Orwellian Bush Administration has now slopped over into the Senate, and now the Republican Leader is now becoming Orwellian himself.”
Reid’s anger was focused on the GOP opposition to the add-ons Democrats put on a $159 billion economic stimulus package designed to stave off a recession. The Senate plan is estimated to cost $204 billion and includes extra unemployment benefits, energy subsidies and mortgage assistance.
“People are cold,” Reid said. “And we have a pet project in this bill dealing with giving them assistance so they can pay their heating bills…We have another pet project that was supported on a bipartisan basis in this bill to give homeowners some relief.”
Republican National Committee spokesman Alex Conat e-mailed media a statement that said Reid’s speech was “complete with imprecise literary references, and name calling was as unproductive as it was uncalled for. When you’re talking about economic stimulus, time is money and Reid is wasting it.”
Although Reid may be temporarily stymied, he has revealed a long-term strategy to opening up federal coffers for his economic plans.
On Monday, President Bush presented a whopping $3.1 trillion budget proposal to Congress that Democrats said increased defense spending by too much and needed to allocate more money to social programs. Upon the budget’s release, Reid’s office issued a statement that said the budget was “fiscally irresponsible and highly deceptive, hiding the costs of the war in Iraq while increasing our skyrocketing debt.”
Reid told Congressional Quarterly he would circumvent Bush’s budget by delaying budget proceedings until 2009 to pass a different version under a Democratic president.
“The president really had us over a barrel last year on the appropriations bills because we did not want another continuing resolution,” Reid said. “But he doesn’t have us over a barrel this year, because either . . .Clinton or Obama will be the President in less than a year — and if we have to deal with a CR [continuing resolution] next year, we’ll deal with it.”