Monday, July 6, 2009 | 11 a.m.
WASHINGTON -- Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid introduced Al Franken today at the Capitol, both embracing the filibuster-proof potential the 60th Democratic-senator-to-be represents, and simultaneously tamping it down.
“Much has been made of the expectations of Al Franken,” Reid said. “I expect him to help deliver on the change this country is demanding.”
Reid pointed to this summer’s heavy agenda on the economy, health care and energy.
With Franken standing by his side in the hallway just outside the leader’s office, the majority leader added this about the Minnesotan.
“We need more than just his presence,” Reid said. “These challenges are not Democratic challenges or Republican challenges … The American people want us to work together ... I hope the party of ‘no’ is coming to an end.”
Easier said than done. Republicans have remained fairly unified against the Obama agenda, testing how far Democrats are willing to compromise to strike a deal.
Democrats on the left in particular are growing increasingly impatient with Reid for not pushing harder to jam legislation forward.
By reaching out to Republicans on this first day of the long summer session, Reid is establishing his aim for bipartisanship on the big ticket items of the Obama agenda. But he is also setting the stage for blame if his 60 votes have trouble making it happen.