Reid: Democrats Will Seek GOP Help On Wage Hike, Tax Cuts for Working Families

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Democrats will seek Republican help to raise the minimum wage, cut taxes for working families and make health care and college more affordable, incoming Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said Saturday.

"We intend to reach out to President Bush and our Republican colleagues in Congress," the Nevada lawmaker said in the weekly Democratic radio address. "The last four years ... have shown that a political party in Congress acting alone can accomplish nothing."

Bush has signaled his readiness to consider Democratic priorities such as a federal minimum-wage increase and to find compromise on renewing the No Child Left Behind education law and overhauling immigration policy.

Speaking in the wake of GOP sex and corruption scandals that contributed to the Democratic sweep of both houses of Congress in the midterm elections, Reid emphasized his party's plans for open and scandal-free government.

"We need transparency, new restrictions on lobbying and lawmakers, and a commitment to fiscal responsibility," he said.

Democratic victories in close races in Virginia, Montana and Missouri gave Senate Democrats a 51-49 edge over Republicans, changing Reid's title from minority leader to majority leader in January. Democrats will have at least a 29-seat advantage in the House.

Reid's list of priorities for the new Congress included changing the Medicare drug benefit program to allow the government to negotiate with pharmaceutical companies for lower prices, changing course in Iraq and expanding stem cell research.

"There are millions of Americans suffering from debilitating diseases like Parkinson's and diabetes that advances in stem cell research could potentially treat," Reid said, "if only we in Washington would allow it to expand."

The current Republican Congress passed legislation this year to expand stem cell research, but Bush vetoed it. Democrats would need to muster a two-thirds majority in both the House and the Senate to override another veto.Democrats will seek Republican help to raise the minimum wage, cut taxes for working families and make health care and college more affordable, incoming Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said Saturday.

"We intend to reach out to President Bush and our Republican colleagues in Congress," the Nevada lawmaker said in the weekly Democratic radio address. "The last four years ... have shown that a political party in Congress acting alone can accomplish nothing."

Bush has signaled his readiness to consider Democratic priorities such as a federal minimum-wage increase and to find compromise on renewing the No Child Left Behind education law and overhauling immigration policy.

Speaking in the wake of GOP sex and corruption scandals that contributed to the Democratic sweep of both houses of Congress in the midterm elections, Reid emphasized his party's plans for open and scandal-free government.

"We need transparency, new restrictions on lobbying and lawmakers, and a commitment to fiscal responsibility," he said.

Democratic victories in close races in Virginia, Montana and Missouri gave Senate Democrats a 51-49 edge over Republicans, changing Reid's title from minority leader to majority leader in January. Democrats will have at least a 29-seat advantage in the House.

Reid's list of priorities for the new Congress included changing the Medicare drug benefit program to allow the government to negotiate with pharmaceutical companies for lower prices, changing course in Iraq and expanding stem cell research.

"There are millions of Americans suffering from debilitating diseases like Parkinson's and diabetes that advances in stem cell research could potentially treat," Reid said, "if only we in Washington would allow it to expand."

The current Republican Congress passed legislation this year to expand stem cell research, but Bush vetoed it. Democrats would need to muster a two-thirds majority in both the House and the Senate to override another veto.