Politics

Sen. Harry Reid Delivers Final Thoughts Before Retiring

| by Oren Peleg

Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid gave his final speech from the floor of the U.S. Senate on Dec. 8. The Democratic senator from Nevada, who was first elected to the Senate in 1987, used his last speech as a farewell address.

"I didn't make it in life because of my athletic prowess,” said Reid, reports CNN. “I didn't make it because of my good looks. I didn't make it because I'm a genius. I made it because I worked hard."

In an opinion article Reid wrote for The New York Times that ran on Dec. 8, he focused on the incoming Trump administration’s plan to repeal the Affordable Care Act.

“To Republicans, I say recognize the difference between campaigning and governing, and beware of knee-jerk opposition to the accomplishments of the Obama era,” Reid wrote. “Despite the fact that your nominee lost the popular vote by nearly three million votes, your leaders have announced their intention to repeal the Affordable Care Act early in the next Congress, with no replacement. This is a dramatic misreading of your mandate. It will lead you into a quagmire that will cause pain for millions of Americans and bedevil you for the next four years.”

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In an interview with NPR that also aired Dec. 8, Reid elaborated on his predictions for the future of  ACA, also known as Obamacare.

“If they repeal Obamacare, they are in for a rude awakening,” he said of President-elect Donald Trump and GOP leaders. “I don't think they want to get rid of health care for 21 million Americans. I don't think they want to be those who say that if you have a disability, you can't get insurance -- the way it used to be before Obamacare ... They repeal Obamacare at their peril.”

Reid then discussed how his views of Trump have shifted.

“I have to say this -- he's not as bad as I thought he would be,” he said. “We heard from Trump that one of the first things he was going to do is repeal [the DREAM act] executive order. In an interview he had with Time magazine in the last day or two, he said, 'Nah, I'm not going to do that' -- those young people deserve to stay here. He's not going to prosecute [former Secretary of State] Hillary Clinton criminally, as he said he would do. Obviously he didn't believe in all of the stuff he said -- which is a step in the right direction.”

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Reid will retire in January at the end of the current congressional session. Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York is set to replace him as the Democratic leader in the Senate. 

Sources: CNN, The New York Times, NPR / Photo credit: Center For American Progress Action Fund/Flickr

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