RENO, NV - Time is running out on this session of Congress and at the summer recess, the most powerful Democrat in the Senate already has given it a grade.
"A D-Minus," Nevada's Senator Harry Reid told a Reno press conference Monday.
The Majority Leader says the first session during the Obama Administration was highly productive, the lame duck session that followed even more so.
That progress, he said, came in the face of staunch GOP opposition.
"The Republicans made two decisions three days after President Obama was elected. Number one: They decided to make sure he wasn't reelected and failed miserably at that. Number two: that they would oppose everything he asked for, wanted or tried to do and they've done that."
Then, with Republicans taking the House in 2010, everything stopped.
"We used to do some things routinely, but no longer," he says. "The highway bill. We've had 11 extensions since 2009. Eleven extensions. These are five or six year bills we used to do. It's the only way transportation directors back here in Nevada and elsewhere can do any planning. We're not doing the things government needs to do."
So, he says the President resolved to do everything he could through executive action and, faced with repeated filibusters, Reid changed Senate rules.
"History will determine whether we changed it enough," he says, "but now for the first time in a long, long time all the judges are caught up. We have one circuit judge left. We'll complete that the first day we're back. Circuit judges are done. DC circuit filled up. We've been getting nominations done. Not enough, but we're getting things done because we changed the rules."
Reid actually speaks well of his Republican counterpart in the House, calling Speaker John Boehner, a "good person. I like him," adding "I hope that doesn't hurt him."
He adds that their staffs actually work well together. That, he said, is not the problem.
"His caucus is controlled by these crazy tea party folks," he says.
"When we had the legislation up to keep open government and not default on our debt and to stop sequestration, two thirds of the Republicans voted to keep the government closed, default on our debt and continue sequestration. That's what he's dealing with."
If it was just Boehner and Reid, there's a lot we could agree on, but his caucus is controlled by these... people."
As for the possibility of Republicans winning control of the Senate this November, the GOP would have to win six more seats and he thinks that's unlikely.
On other matters, the Senator said there would be no crisis on the border if Congress had passed comprehensive immigration reform and he said a majority of Republicans would have voted for it, if allowed.
On Iraq, he said he supports the president's decision to use air strikes to hit back at The Islamic State terrorists, but put no American troops on the ground.
And, asked if he'd be running for re-election in 2016, he said unequivocally, yes.
We've posted the entire press conference here on this website.