Transcript: Press briefing remarks by Sen. Harry Reid on the government shutdown – Oct. 2, 2013

Partial transcript of press briefing remarks by Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.) on the government shutdown on Oct. 2, 2013:

I just finished a telephonic conversation with Speaker Boehner. My message to him was very simple. We have to stop playing these foolish games that keep coming to us from the other side of the Capitol.

This is not about him or me, about scoring points for one side or the other, or name calling like “the villains of villains”. It’s about doing the right thing for the American people. They expect us to act like adults. We actually work for the American people. They sent us here to get things done, not to play these silly games.

So here’s what I propose.

He’s sitting on a bill that would re-open the government right now. This bill would pass in a matter of minutes if they just let Democrats and Republicans vote. He doesn’t even have to vote for him. Let him vote against it but let the House work its will.

Once we re-open the government, I propose the House and Senate appoint conferees to work out the nation’s long-term fiscal challenges. Both sides have priorities that we want to move forward. So let’s sit down and talk. That’s how negotiations should work.

Remember…they said they wanted a conference.

So let me just read a part of a letter that I sent him an hour or so ago:

“Now we find ourselves at loggerheads. There needs to be a path forward to re-open the government and protect our economy. This is a communication to you offering a sensible, reasonable compromise. Before the House you have a Senate-passed measure to re-open the government funded at the level that the House chose in its own legislation. I propose you allow the joint resolution to pass, reopening the government. And I commit to name conferees to a budget conference as soon as the government opens. That conference can discuss the important fiscal issues facing our nation. You and your colleagues have repeatedly cited these fiscal issues as things in which you need to work. This conference will be an appropriate place to have those discussions where participants could raise whatever proposals, such as tax reform, health care, agriculture, and certainly discretionary spendings like veterans, national parks, NIH, they felt appropriate. I hope we can work together in this fashion. Together we can end this government shutdown and work to address the important fiscal issues facing our nation. I look forward to hearing from you.”

He can characterize the conversation between the two of us but it was a cordial conversation.


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