With Congressional Democrats pivoting to focus on job growth and deficit reduction, there's "no rush" to get health care done as long as it happens sometime this year, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said Tuesday.
"We're not on health care now. We've talked a lot about it in the past," Reid told reporters following the weekly Senate Democratic caucus lunch. "There are a number of options being discussed. Anything that we talk about, we have to look at the procedural aspects of that. And I've had a number of meetings with the Speaker, spoken to the White House on several occasions. I'm meeting with the Speaker later tonight in a bicameral meeting -- we'll talk about that. My leadership will go to that with me, we're going to find out how to proceed. But there is no rush. This is a Congress. What we have done lasts for two years. We've just finished our first year."
Falling back on the image of the Senate as a more deliberative body than the House, Reid said delays are the nature of a bicameral legislature, designed by America's founding fathers "to build competition between the chambers." Few members of the Second Continental Congress reflexively used the threat of a filibuster, however.
Earlier Tuesday, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) told reporters that the Senate is a "broken system." Asked to respond, Reid again took the long view.
"I have great affection for Steny, but you can go back over the two and [one] third centuries we've been a country, and House leaders have been saying this about the Senate from the very beginning," Reid said. "I could put in a few comments about how I feel about the House."