Sorry, Harry Reid opponents.
Eye injury or no, the Democratic Senate minority leader plans to run for his Nevada seat in 2016. Speculation has swirled that an exercise accident that he recently suffered would dissuade him.
But in a press conference in his office suite just off the Senate floor, he said emphatically: “I fully intend to run.”
Senator Reid suffered severe injury to his right eye and several broken ribs while exercising at his home on New Years Day. He is scheduled to undergo surgery next week to move some broken facial bones, but told reporters the he and his doctors expect that he will make a full recovery.
Despite missing the start of the new Congress, the senator – pilloried by Republicans for the closed way he ran the Senate as majority leader – has been watching from afar. He’s been kept in the know by his fill-in, Democratic whip Dick Durbin of Illinois. “There’ve been no surprises for me,” he said.
Of course he had opinions on what’s been going on without him. On the president’s push for free trade in his State of the Union message, Reid – who doused that idea after last year’s address – again poured water on it.
“Until it’s shown to me that trade agreements help the middle class, I’m not going to be jumping on the bandwagon,” he said.
As for how his successor, the new majority leader Mitch McConnell (R) of Kentucky, is running things, he said simply “he’s doing fine.” Senator McConnell has been running a more open Senate, for instance, allowing several Democratic amendments to be debated on the Keystone bill.
Republicans – and some Democrats – complained about the lack of debate and amendments that Reid allowed on the floor. The former majority leader said the measure for “success” is not the number of amendments allowed, it’s how the new Congress helps the middle class.
"I believe this Congress will be determined whether it's a success or a failure on what happens to the middle class," Reid said. "Right now what they've spent their time on is foreign oil coming across America to be shipped other places. That does not help the middle class."
This article includes material from Reuters.