Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto said Friday that the problem with the U.S. Senate is that there is no debate on the issues.
“The biggest chagrin in the Senate right now is we are not debating anything because one man is holding it up,” she told the Carson Chamber of Commerce on Friday.
That man is Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell who, Cortez Masto said, has complete control over what gets debated.
“If you’re too afraid to debate policy on the floor of the Senate, you shouldn’t be in the Senate,” she said.
She said the solution is for Democrats to take the majority, “and just start introducing legislation.”
She said that’s the only way to restore the Senate as a deliberative and policy making body: “It’s the only way we can fight for our democracy.”
“I don’t think it’s OK for one man to completely control the agenda on the Senate floor,” she said.
Cortez Masto also criticized the current approach to health care as “reactive.” She said the nation needs to put more money into public health and preventative care that would greatly reduce health care costs over the long term.
Cortez Masto said health care needs to focus on mental health and “wrap-around services, to focus on the needs and be flexible in communities where we need it.”
She also said the federal government needs to do a better job of working with states and local governments on that and other issues.
Cortez Masto said the coming census is critically important to Nevada and that it’s not a partisan issue because the census count determines how much money different states get from a long list of federal programs ranging from health care to transportation funding and each state’s representation in the House of Representatives. She said she is concerned that the Nevada team preparing for the census is behind compared to 10 years ago.
Cortez Masto said she agrees with those who argue the Congress must find a way to cut deficit spending and the continual growth of the national debt.
“We need to do more to really figure out how to start looking at a balanced budget.”
She said that means finding and cutting off wasteful, unnecessary spending, citing as an example the funding she said went into states to support robotic bartenders.
“Why are we funding that?”
Cortez Masto also affirmed her support for Israel saying, “there should be no daylight between us and Israel.”
She was in Northern Nevada for a series of events this week.