Harry Reid ‘Not Proud’ of Debt Conflict, but ‘Satisfied’ With Possible Solution

Aug 1, 2011 12:41pm

ABC News' Sunlen Miller (@SunlenMiller) reports:

Although admitting that the conflict in the past several months as lawmakers worked to broker a debt deal was not something that he’s “proud” of, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., today said he is “satisfied” that there seems to be a road ahead toward a solution.

Reid said the Senate “expects a vote hopefully during the day’s session sometime” today and cautioned that this is not over until the president’s signature is on a bill.

“It's not over until both houses of Congress pass the legislation dealing with the debt crisis we have in America. It’s not over until the president signs that bill, “Reid said, “but after weeks of facing off against each other, this partisan divide we have here in the Senate, we were finally able to break through with an agreement.”

The sign of a compromise and an agreement, Reid said, is that no one is happy with everything in the deal and a sign that the U.S. democratic process is working.

“People on the right are upset. People on the left are upset. People in the middle are upset. It was a compromise,” Reid said. “Today, Congress has a unique responsibility to show the world we can achieve not in spite of our divided government, but because of it.”

And then the majority leader became a little reflective about how the process has played out in a very long, messy and public way, spotlighting the dysfunction in Washington as Americans and lawmakers grew increasingly frustrated about the system. Reid gave a little history lesson in an attempt to show that this episode, in the grand scheme of Washington, really wasn’t all that bad, right?

“Over the years, things have been much worse than they have been in Washington in the last three months,” Reid said, pointing to anecdotes such as Sen. Charles Sumner, R-Mass., being beaten with a cane in the Senate in 1856. “Historic battles have taken place in our country where they talked, where they were much more difficult than what we have just gone through. What we have gone through was extremely difficult but there was never any consideration the republic would fall.”

Does it mean that Congress is always a happy and pleasant place?

Reid answered no.

“I wish it weren't as difficult as it has been the last few months. I wish it were much better than that. But that's where we are. But through all the years, through all the conflicts we've had, we've been able to come together and reach a reasonable conclusion.” 

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