Senate Dem Leader Noncommital to Funding Ban for Terrorist Civilian Trials


Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-NV, came out swinging against "The Party of No" (aka: Republicans) Tuesday, noting that "Every day is Groundhog Day" w/ Republicans, clearly chafed by a bill that Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-SC, introduced today that would shut off funding for civilian trials for the alleged 9/11 terrorists.


Graham picked up 2 of Reid's Dems as official co-sponsors -- and Sens. Maria Cantwell, D-WA, and Evan Bayh, D-IN, indicated they are on board, pending a full reading of what Graham has offered.


While Reid was armed with stats on how many civilian trials the Bush Admin held (300), and how many terrorists are being held in federal prison w/o incident (348) --- along with hitting Rs with a charge of blocking "critical national security nominees" (which they are) and noted that Rs "voted against funding our troops" last year ----- Reid admitted that Democrats spent time in their closed-door weekly lunch today talking about this very thing.


And Reid then left the door open to Graham's legislation-- calling it "something we will work our way through." A spokesman said Reid is "non-commital."


Reid said the committees of jurisdiction (presumably Judiciary, Intelligence, and Homeland Security) will hold hearings, and noted, interestingly, that "rather than follow the Administration, we'll have to see what happens around here."


Clearly, this is a midterm election year where an issue like this carries a real bite for Democrats.


Already, Bayh laid out a stinging message for reporters in support of the Graham bill, saying, "These folks should be given the minimum rights required under the Constitution, should be tried quickly, and they should be harshly punished. And we shouldn't jeopardize American citizens if we don't have to. We shouldn't spend more money than we have to. With this budget and this economy? There's no justification for that."