Washington, D.C. – Nevada Senator Harry Reid spoke on the Senate floor today regarding the bipartisan agreement to reopen the government and pay our bills. Below are his remarks as prepared for delivery:
The eyes of the world were on Washington this week. And while they witnessed a great deal of political discord, today they will also see Congress reach a historic, bipartisan agreement to reopen the government and avert a default on the nation’s bills. The compromise we reached will provide our economy with the stability it desperately needs.
It’s never easy for two sides at odds to reach consensus. After weeks spent facing off across a partisan divide that often seemed too wide to cross, our country came to the brink of a disaster. But in the end, political adversaries set aside their differences and disagreements to prevent that disaster.
I thank the Republican Leader, for his diligent efforts to reach this important agreement. The Republican Leader’s cooperation was essential to reaching an accord that could pass both chambers and be signed by President Obama.
As part of our agreement – and in order to assure Congress continues the work of setting this country on a path to fiscal sustainability – this legislation instructs leaders to name conferees to a budget conference committee. The members selected must have open minds willing to consider every option, no matter how painful to their own political party. This conference committee, led by Chairman Murray and Chairman Ryan, which will produce its negotiated budget resolution in December, is the appropriate place to discuss our differing views of the best way to chart a course for economic growth.
This legislation also funds the government through January 15 and averts default through February 7, during which time we can work towards a long-term budget agreement that prevents these frequent crises. And perhaps most importantly, this legislation ends a standoff that ground the work of Washington to a halt this fall.
I look forward to working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle and both sides of the Capitol to pass this remarkable agreement, which will protect the long-term health of our economy avert a default on our nation’s debt and allow us to set a foundation for economic expansion.
We have sent a message to Americans from every state and citizens of every country that the United States lives up to its obligations. Now Congress must return to its most important job – fostering economic growth and protecting middle-class families.
I appreciate the stead hand of President Obama through this process, guiding us to this conclusion. And I am optimistic that the spirit of compromise that has taken root in the Senate over the last two days will endure.