(Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., says he’s not ready to give up on immigraiton reform. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite))

Reid lobs criticisms at Republicans; says he’s not giving up on immigration reform

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said Monday he’s still pushing for immigration reform this year, that health care is going to get better and that Democrats will be okay in next year’s off-year elections.

Meeting with reporters for Latino-focused media outlets, Reid lobbed some criticisms at his counterpart in the House, Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, and at Republicans in the chamber.

“Eighty-five Republicans voted to reopen the government ,” said Reid, D-Nev. “Two-thirds of the House voted to default and keep government closed …. I don’t know what’s in their heads.”

He called that two-thirds, “Tea Party-driven” and said those who make up the Tea Party and its anti-government ways are the “modern-day anarchists.”

Although he touched on several topics, much of the discussion focused on immigration and Boehner’s recent comment that the House would not go to conference committee on the comprehensive immigration bill the Senate passed.

“I’m not going to give up on this year,” Reid said of immigration reform.

If Boehner can bring to the floor within 24 hours the bill that the House approved Friday to stop health insurance policy cancellations, he can do the same for immigration, Reid said.

“If Boehner is willing to do a bill, we can do it in a week,” said Reid.

He also said he remains uncertain of where Boehner stands on immigration.

“I do not know at five minutes to 4 (p.m.) on Monday what Boehner’s latest position is on immigration. It’s as if he’s trying all these different yoga moves,” he said.

Some groups have been pressing President Barack Obama to take executive action to stop deportations and do other immigration reforms.

The president has suspended deportations of certain young immigrants who arrived illegally with their parents, known as DREAMers. The Homeland Security Department announced Friday it would put on hold deportations on a case-by-case basis of spouses and children of military troops and veterans in the country illegally.

But Reid said doing “a little bit here, a little bit there” is not the way to do immigration reform  and won’t work.

“I do not believe this matter can be solved without legislation,” he said.

He expressed confidence things will improve on the health care issue. He said the law already has made differences by making it possible for young people to be on their health care plans, treating women fairly and other changes. The Affordable Care Act provided $11 billion for community health centers, whch he pointed out are used by many Latinos for health care.

As for the effect of the Obamacare rollout problems on the Democrats 2014 elections, “I personally feel we are going to do just fine in the off-year elections,” Reid said.

A portrait of former President John F. Kennedy Jr. hangs in the room where he met with reporters. This Nov. 22 is the 50th anniversary of Kennedy’s assassination. Reid said he was a student working part-time as a police officer when he heard the news of the assassination.

“How sad I was, not fully understanding what had happened,” he said.

He said he keeps in his Capitol office a copy of a letter then-President-elect Kennedy sent him because he had formed the first Young Democrats club at his college. He recalled walking past Kennedy’s coffin in the Capitol.

“I have such strong feelings for Kennedy and his family,” Reid said.

%d bloggers like this: