Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s delivery doesn’t seem designed to persuade — at least not in the usual sense. With his hushed tones and tendency to look down as he speaks, he’ll wear you down before you rise to your feet in rapturous agreement with his argument.
“I don’t come here to argue and badger people,” Reid said, standing beside a poster reading, “Open the Government/Pay our bills/And let’s negotiate,” during a rare floor speech Tuesday preceded by a so-called live quorum call.
As the president held a news conference at the White House over the approaching debt limit, and with government still closed, Reid called for all senators to file to their desks and hear an important message.
But the spectacle on the floor hinted at no breakthrough; rather Reid told his colleagues that his position was no bluff and not merely a starting point for negotiations. The Senate CR and a clean debt-ceiling extension aren’t just offers. They’re the offers, in Democrats’ view.
Surrounded by 98 of his colleagues, Reid launched a familiar-sounding speech that called on Republicans to accept the Democratic Senate’s measures. Some Republicans and Democrats strained to hear Reid. Others pulled out cell phones to read. Democratic Sens. Barbara Boxer of California and Carl Levin of Michigan listened with their hands on their chins.
At the heart of Reid’s logic is that Republicans will not want to risk the perception of causing a default.
“I’m cynical by nature. That way I’m not disappointed as much as my friends who are optimistic,” Reid said. “I am optimistic, [though], the Republicans are not going to hold the full faith of the United States hostage.”
Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky rose, after Reid all but urged him to get real. Republicans want to negotiate, was his message.
“We now have divided government. It means we have to talk to each other and get to an outcome,” McConnell said. “And I think it’s far past time to get that done, and I hope, given where we are today, that there’s adequate incentive to get those talks started, principally between the majority leader and the speaker.”
Sen. John McCain delivered a passionate speech urging his colleagues on both sides to work together, suggesting a repeal of the medical-device tax as a possible path beyond disagreement.
“We know how it’s gonna end,” McCain said, adding that the government would open and the debt ceiling would be raised. “Why don’t we do this sooner rather than later?”
Later, Budget Chairwoman Patty Murray of Washington sought to go to a budget conference with the House, but was ultimately blocked once again.
Recently, Sen. Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., walking in the Senate subway tunnel, offered his view on how the problem would — or wouldn’t any time soon — get solved.
“You’ve got the immovable object and the irresistible force,” he said. “Both sides are dug in. Both sides are intransigent.”
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Despite trailing Hillary Clinton by a significant margin, Bernie Sanders wasn't going the way of Ted Cruz tonight. The Vermont senator upset Clinton in Indiana, with MSNBC calling the race at 9pm. Sanders appears poised to win by a five- or six-point spread.
And just like that, it's over. Ted Cruz will suspend his presidential campaign after losing badly to Donald Trump in Indiana tonight. "While Cruz had always hedged when asked whether he would quit if he lost Indiana; his campaign had laid a huge bet on the state." John Kasich's campaign has pledged to carry on. “From the beginning, I’ve said that I would continue on as long as there was a viable path to victory,” said Cruz. “Tonight, I’m sorry to say it appears that path has been foreclosed."
The Republican establishment's last remaining hope—a contested convention this summer—may have just ended in Indiana, as Donald Trump won a decisive victory over Ted Cruz. Nothing Cruz seemed to have in his corner seemed to help—not a presumptive VP pick in Carly Fiorina, not a midwestern state where he's done well in the past, and not the state's legions of conservatives. Though Trump "won't secure the 1,237 delegates he needs to formally claim the nomination until June, his Indiana triumph makes it almost impossible to stop him. Following his decisive wins in New York and other East Coast states, the Indiana victory could put Trump within 200 delegates of the magic number he needs to clinch the nomination." Cruz, meanwhile, "now faces the agonizing choice of whether to remain in the race, with his attempt to force the party into a contested convention in tatters, or to bow out and cede the party nomination to his political nemesis." The Associated Press, which called the race at 7pm, predicts Trump will win at least 45 delegates.