Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid lashed out at Republicans in a scathing Senate floor speech Thursday, accusing the GOP of risking women's lives and costing Americans jobs.
"Consistently, this Congress has taken weeks or months to pass even simple, common-sense proposals – proposals that would previously have passed in minutes," he said in prepared remarks. "The Senate has wasted literally months considering bipartisan bills, only to have those bills smothered to death under piles of non-relevant, Republican amendments."
And, he charged, "congressional Republicans have held even the most important jobs measures hostage to extract votes on unrelated, ideological amendments."
Republicans, who control the House of Representatives and have 47 of the Senate's 100 seats, have countered that they want legislation routinely paid for, and have alternative approaches to job creation.
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Reid pointed to recent reports that GOP Republican leaders see little chance for progress before the election. GOP leaders counter that they want progress but Democrats refuse to compromise.
"Rather than work with Democrats to strengthen our economy or create jobs, Congressional Republicans will put on a show designed to demonstrate the extreme, ideological direction in which they would lead the country," Reid said.
"Speaker Boehner and Leader McConnell’s statements are Orwellian – they do exactly the opposite of what they say."
"Republicans have launched a series of attacks on women’s access to health care and contraception, and filibustered legislation to ensure American women equal pay for equal work," he said. "They’ve put women’s lives at risk by holding the Violence Against Women Act in limbo."
Lawmakers from both parties agree the act should be passed, but differ on some aspects.
"They opposed our efforts to restore fairness to the tax code and to ensure billionaires don’t pay lower tax rates than middle-class families. They blocked a bill to hire more teachers, cops, firefighters and first responders," Reid said.
"And they stalled important jobs measures like the aviation jobs bill and the transportation jobs bill for months to pursue ideological battles. For months Congressional Republicans have actively worked against any piece of legislation that might create jobs or spur economic growth.
"Don’t take my word for it – just look at their record."