Nevada Senator Harry Reid made the following remarks today on the Senate floor:
Mr. President, the eyes of America and the world were on Washington this week.
They witnessed some of the worst political wrangling Congress has seen in years.
But after weeks spent facing off across a partisan divide that seemed too broad to cross, patriots from both parties reach a historic, bipartisan agreement that revived America’s faith in our Democracy.
Americans voted for a divided government, and it’s not always easy for two sides at odds to reach consensus. But I believe reasonable Republicans and Democrats alike understood that in this case, without compromise, our country faced disaster.
If the United States had defaulted on its debt for the first time in history, it would have put our economy and the world’s economy at great risk.
I was satisfied last night when Congressional leaders from both parties agreed on a long-term solution to avert that default, reduce the deficit by trillions of dollars and provide our economy with the stability it desperately needs.
We have sent a message to Americans from each state we represent and to citizens of every country in the world that today this great Democracy is moving forward in the name of progress.
There is still work to do. Shortly I will present to the Senate Democratic Caucus the agreement bipartisan, bicameral leaders have reached.
The agreement protects the long-term health of our economy. And it establishes a committee that will look at every option for reducing future spending – no matter how painful to either party.
The support of Democrats and Republicans from both houses of Congress will be essential to passing this accord. Neither party can do it alone in either the House or Senate.
The Irish statesman Edmund Burke said that “All government – indeed, every human benefit and enjoyment, every virtue and every prudent act – is founded on compromise.”
Congress has a unique opportunity – and responsibility – to show the world what we can achieve when we work together.