Senate leader says he's ready to deal, suggests House speaker is too

Susan Walsh/AP

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said he is ready to compromise on taxes and budget cuts, and he's hopeful that House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, is also set to deal following a "pleasant" Wednesday morning conversation with Boehner.

Reid called Tuesday's election results a signal that Americans are "tired of partisan gridlock."

"I am going to do everything in my power to be as conciliatory as possible. We want to work together," Reid said at a Wednesday news conference, while warning Democrats refuse "to be pushed around."

Reid suggested he expects Boehner, at his own news conference this afternoon, will strike a more conciliatory tone than he did in a recent assertion that House Republicans will oppose any revenue increase as part of an agreement to avert the so-called fiscal cliff of tax increases and budget cuts set to hit in January. 

"He is not drawing any lines in the sand. I am not drawing any lines in the sand," Reid said. 

Reid said an agreement must include added tax revenue and seemed to suggest Boehner was not personally ruling out that option, though he is restricted by his conference.

Reid, who also said he spoke Tuesday night with President Obama, rejected assertions that the election left Washington's balance of power unchanged. In addition to Obama's resounding victory, "we picked up seats in the Senate; we picked up seats in the House," Reid said. 

"That's not the status quo."

Reid offered little about his legislative plans, but said he planned to test calls to soften the stance on immigration with multiple votes in the next Congress on unspecified immigration reform proposals. 

Reid said he expects the government will not hit the federal debt ceiling during the lame duck. And he said he hopes for a comprehensive deal addressing the fiscal cliff. "I am not for kicking the can down the road," he said. "I think we've done that far too much."

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