“We are going to have the Republicans belly up to the bar to turn down this plan,” Reid said during a virtual town hall meeting with supporters Wednesday.
Reid said he won’t immediately take up Obama’s plan because the Senate must tackle other issues first. He didn’t specify which bills would receive priority over Obama’s economic solution.
Reid’s comments came during his first Twitter town hall, where the Nevada Democrat fielded questions from voters on job creation, tax cuts, online poker, the housing market and other issues. Nevada has the highest unemployment rate in the nation at 12.9 percent. The national jobless rate is 9.1 percent.
“America has never, ever seen the poverty that we see now,” Reid said. “We don’t have to be mathematicians to understand that that’s not good for our country.”
Reid blamed the GOP for the nation’s lingering financial woes, saying Republicans have refused to take action because they want to impale Obama’s 2012 re-election campaign.
“The first eight months of this year, we have been held up because the Republicans have stopped us from doing anything,” he said.
Reid also touched on criticism that Obama’s jobs plan doesn’t address the wounded housing market.
“The only way of getting rid of this housing problem we have is creating jobs,” he said.
Republicans taunted Reid both on and off Twitter for not acting on any of the many jobs plans passed by House Republicans this year.
“Unfortunately for Americans, Senator Reid and President Obama’s second stimulus is filled with more of the same failed tax increases and massive spending hikes that have failed to put our country back to work,” said Republican National Committee spokesman Ryan Mahoney.
Reid’s staffers had encouraged people in recent days to send him questions on Twitter. Video of Reid answering only a handful of questions during the 20-minute town hall streamed live from the Senate Democrats’ website. Reid’s staff also posted abbreviated versions of his replies on Twitter.
Among the questions fielded, Reid responded to Democratic Sen. Jay Rockefeller of West Virginia and a Democratic activist whose Twitter account features a picture of Argentine revolutionary Ernesto “Che” Guevara.
An informal review of the questions sent to Reid suggested some participants were lashing out over the stalled economy.
One poster asked Reid: “How much of every dollar I earn do you think I should get to keep?” It’s a question that came up during a recent GOP presidential debate. Another commentator asked Reid “Why do you hate rich people? How do you reconcile that with the fact that you are one?” Reid did not respond to these or other anger-fueled questions.
Many of the questions appeared to come from people who want Congress to legalize online poker.
Reid, a former Nevada state gambling regulator, unsuccessfully pushed a bill to legalize online poker at the end of last year. The Department of Justice indicted in April executives and payment processors of online poker’s three biggest companies — PokerStars, Full Tilt Poker and Absolute Poker.
“Online poker would create jobs, and lots of jobs,” Reid said.