Washington, DC—Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada delivered the following statement today praising President Bush on the floor of the
“M. President, it is more than fair to say that President Bush and I often do not see eye to eye. But when the President takes a step that is good for
, I have never hesitated to offer my support. Today, there are not one but two positive signs coming from the White House.
“First, there are reports this morning that President Bush has sent a personal letter to
’s leader, Kim Jong-Il. I have not read the letter. But I hope and believe that it is meant as a positive step to breathe new energy into our diplomatic efforts with
– and to ensure that they do not become a nuclear threat.
“Diplomacy must be grounded in communication and the personal touch. In taking this step with
, I believe President Bush is taking a page out of the Ronald Reagan book of diplomacy. As much as Reagan hated the Communist Soviet Union during the Cold War, he kept open a constant dialogue. Too many throughout the world have come to view
’s approach to foreign policy as ‘shoot first, talk later.’
“I take this letter as a modest sign that President Bush has finally learned that communication is not a sign of weakness, but a sign of strength. And as I have been saying since the national intelligence report on Iran was published earlier this week, we should be taking exactly that approach with
“The President should make Secretary Rice and Secretary Gates available to meet with their Iranian counterparts to begin those long overdue diplomatic efforts.
“On another subject, Secretary Paulson this morning will unveil the Administration’s strategy to address the crisis in subprime lending. We do not yet know the details of this plan. But I am glad to see the White House finally begin to address this awful situation that now threatens the homes, security, and way of life of millions of Americans – including more than 150,000 Nevadans.
, we continue to work hard locally with constituent services and education to make at-risk homeowners aware of the options available to them. But this crisis calls out for national leadership, and we look forward to Secretary Paulson’s proposal.
“We believe that our proposal, the FHA Modernization Act, goes even further than the Administration’s. Earlier this week, Secretary Paulson called upon Congress to pass the FHA bill. Democrats stand ready to do so. Thus far, Senate Republicans have blocked those efforts.
“Today I once again call upon Senate Republicans to heed the call of the millions of at-risk homeowners – and to heed the call of Secretary Paulson – to work with us to pass the FHA Modernization Act.
“On November 15, we tried at the same time to pass FHA Act to assist at-risk homeowners and the Transportation-HUD appropriations conference report to invest in our nation’s roads, bridges and other vital infrastructure. Unfortunately, as has been a repeating pattern, Republicans blocked both of those bills. Yesterday, Senator Murray tried again to pass the Transportation report, which was once again objected to by the Republican minority.
“The FHA Modernization act has widespread bipartisan support, including vast support from the housing industry. The Banking Committee sent it to the floor with a vote of 20-1.
“As I said, Secretary Paulson, who I have enormous respect for, called upon Congress to pass it. Most important of all, the well-being and security of millions of American homeowners lies in the balance. With their struggle to keep their homes in mind, I ask for unanimous consent to pass the FHA Modernization Act.”