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Harry Reid: "Why Would We Want To" Help One Child With Cancer By Only Funding NIH?

"I have 1,100 people at Nellis Air Force base that are sitting home. They have a few problems of their own," he said.

Posted on October 2, 2013, at 3:24 p.m. ET

Democratic Senator Majority Harry Reid says Democrats won't "pick and choose" what parts of the government to fund at a press conference Wednesday. Following up on a question from CNN's Dana Bash about helping out a hypothetical "one child with cancer" by asking, "Why would we want to do that?"

"Listen, Sen. Durbin explained that very well," Reid said. "He did it here, did it on the floor earlier, as did Sen. Schumer. What right did they have to pick and choose what part of government is going to be funded? It's obvious what's going on here. You talk about reckless and irresponsible. Wow. What this is all about is Obamacare. They are obsessed. I don't know what other word I can use. They're obsessed with this Obamacare. It's working now and it will continue to work and people will love it more than they do now by far. So they have no right to pick and choose."

"But if you can help one child who has cancer why wouldn't you do it?" asked CNN's Dana Bash.

"Why put one against the other?" said Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York.

"Why would we want to do that?" said Reid. "I have 1,100 people at Nellis Air Force base that are sitting home. They have a few problems of their own. This is — to have someone of your intelligence to suggest such a thing maybe means you're irresponsible and reckless."

The government has been shut down since Tuesday morning.

Update: In an interview with Bill Press Reid said on his comments "the whole answer is this....why would we want to have the House of Representatives, John Boehner, cherry pick what stays open and what should be closed."

The full audio of Reid's interview with Bill Press has been been embedded below:

Here's another video of the exchange from the Washington Free Beacon.

View this video on YouTube

Here's the audio of Reid following up: