Senator Reid sees "mopping up" lame-duck session
LAS VEGAS |
LAS VEGAS (Reuters) - Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said on Tuesday the Senate would return for a "mopping-up" session after the November congressional elections and that he hoped to find support for a national renewable energy standard by year-end.
Reid, speaking at an alternative energy conference he hosts annually in Las Vegas, also said he had at least one Republican senator ready to vote for a small business jobs bill when Congress returns to work next week.
Democrats have been focused on freeing up credit and giving tax breaks to small businesses in a $30 billion plan that tops Reid's agenda.
"This is not just pie in the sky. I've got commitments from at least one Republican to support us on this. This will be good," he told reporters.
"And remember, we still are going to be in Congress, working, after the election. I've committed to a lame duck. There are things that we have to do. There is a lot of mopping up to do when we come back after the election," he said.
Passing major legislation the rest of this year may be difficult, with Republicans hoping to take the House of Representatives and perhaps even the Senate in the November 2 elections.
Reid, himself, is in a tough re-election fight in Nevada against his Republican opponent.
He suggested that Congress focus on smaller issues, such as improved efficiency and a drive toward natural gas that would cut dependence on foreign oil, which he said had broad support.
Congress has dealt with a number of major issues since President Barack Obama took office in January 2009, including healthcare and financial reform. Efforts to tackle climate change have failed so far.
"I think we are at a point now where we are going to have to start looking at doing pieces of big things and not worry so much about the big things," Reid said.
"Couldn't we claim victory and feel real good about things we've done?" he added, referring specifically to natural gas and efficiency measures.
(Reporting by Peter Henderson; Editing by David Gregorio and Peter Cooney)
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