Senior Newsman Reveals:
Harry Reid Destroys Nevada Bill
To Prevent Applause for Ensign
|Nevada senator Harry Reid last month blocked legislation sponsored by fellow Democrat Dick Bryan to help Southern Nevada, rather than let potential 1998 GOP challenger Rep. John Ensign collect a share of the positive press.|
in the October 4 edition of his copyrighted newsletter, The
Ralston Report, veteran Nevada newsman Jon Ralston
revealed that Reid -- maneuvering behind the scenes in
the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources --
had killed legislation jointly introduced early this year
by Democrat Bryan and Republican Ensign.
The bill, titled "The Southern Nevada Public Land Management Act of 1996," would have authorized the sale of 20,000 acres of federal land in southern Nevada, then used the millions of dollars of proceeds to support water infrastructure there. The Nevada state education fund would also have been allocated five percent of the land-sale revenues.
"There are those who accuse Reid of outrageous conduct, sacrificing a meritorious measure and squandering countless hours spent forging an amazing coalition, simply to try to preserve his own political health," wrote Ralston.
"But there are others who figure the bill can pass next year and admire the senior senator's Machiavellian technique."
"He doesn't in any form or fashion want Ensign to have this, win," Ralston quoted one insider, who reportedly knows Reid well, as saying. "It boils down very simply to 'why give a guy who can be knocked off in this election another bullet in his armory?'"
Bryan and Ensign had appeared with Clark County commissioners January 19 to announce they would each introduce, in their respective houses of the U.S. Congress, the same legislation -- based on work done by a task force created by Ensign's predecessor, Rep. Jim Bilbray.
"It was a classic symbiosis," wrote Ralston. "Bryan knew what a tremendous issue he had latched onto, but he also knew in a GOP Congress he would need some Republican assistance. Ensign was only too glad to help, realizing, as one observer put it, 'this would be a huge issue, a huge positive.'"
But "as soon as Ensign was on," said one insider, 'Harry was off."
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evidence of Reid's central role in the death of the bill,
said Ralston, was a September 26 letter from Alaska
senator Frank H. Murkowski, Senate Energy and Natural
Resources Chairman, to Rep. Don Young, chairman of the
House Resources Committee.
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