Reid blames GOP for Dem failures

Congressional Democrats accomplished important goals this year but they need more cooperation from Republicans, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said Saturday.

The Democratic majorities in the House and Senate cut middle-class taxes, raised the minimum wage and took other steps to help working families, Reid said in the Democrats’ weekly radio address.

Democrats tried to do more, but President Bush and his GOP allies in Congress thwarted them while siding with tobacco firms and “big oil companies,” said Reid, D-Nev.

“Time after time, when Democrats have fought for change, President Bush and Republicans in Congress have stood in the way,” he said. “Like you, I am frustrated by the direction of our country.”

Reid’s comments reflected party leaders’ recent decision to temper their boasts about congressional accomplishments with admissions that Republicans have used their veto and filibuster powers to block or weaken many Democratic initiatives.

Democrats in Congress tried to improve pay and equipment for troops in Iraq, Reid said. “But because of President Bush,” he said, “they remain in Iraq without a clear mission or endgame, and our Armed Forces are stretched to a breaking point.

“And we took steps to secure our country from terrorism, but Bin Laden remains free, al-Qaida is growing stronger and the president’s focus on Iraq has allowed conditions in Afghanistan to deteriorate,” Reid said.

Despite Congress’ efforts to help American families, he said, “a possible recession still looms and millions may still lose their homes to foreclosure.”