Wednesday, Sept. 14, 2011 | 4:51 p.m.
In his first-ever Twitter town hall, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid charged Republicans are holding up progress on President Barack Obama’s jobs bill. But he still plans to push the Senate to vote on the $450 billion measure.
“We’re going to have the Republicans belly up to the bar and turn down this plan that will create hundreds of thousands of jobs,” Reid said, as he fielded questions via the social-media web platform.
He also included online poker in his jobs message: “We have millions and millions of people that are playing online right now...what we need to do is make it legal. Online poker would create jobs, and lots of jobs.”
Reid also promised that he would bring up a bipartisan bill to censure China’s currency-lowering practices, and expressed incredulity that bills to fund transportation projects had not yet progressed. Oklahoma Republican Sen. Tom Coburn has been objecting to funding dedicated specifically to bike paths -- an issue Reid referred to without naming the senator. Coburn wants to make the funds dedicated to walking and bike trails open to states’ discretion -- a change that in most places, would mean those projects wouldn’t see any money.
Reid’s 30-minute town hall ran for closer to 20 minutes, and included plenty of local shout-outs: to Nevada-based Bombard Electric (“that little company has done good things; they were the ones who put a solar unit at my home in Nevada.”); D.W. Bistro of Spring Valley; and townhalls in Las Vegas -- though that one was rather the opposite of a shout-out ("Guarantee I have more people at my Twitter town hall. I’ve been to some of those town hall meetings where six or seven people show up on a good day.”)
The questions he fielded appeared to provide more of a platform for him to explain his positions than challenge his critics.
Among the handful of questions he took were a query from Sen. Jay Rockefeller about whether a bill on disaster relief funding could pass, and a question from the National Council of La Raza. Moderator and Deputy Chief of Staff Darrel Thompson skipped questions from Republicans about Reid’s personal finances, why the Senate hadn’t yet taken up most House economic bills and his support for Nevada Senate candidate Shelley Berkley.