Two of the top Senate Democrats are blasting Republicans for inaction in Congress. They blame the Republican House for not passing laws, even though Democrats control the Senate and the White House, and even though their own aides said months ago that nothing would get done this year, in an election year.
"Republicans have clogged or blocked everything we have tried to do, even things, Mr. President, they have agreed on," Majority Leader Harry Reid said yesterday on the Senate floor.
Chuck Schumer, the New York senator who is also a Democratic leader, expressed agreement. "Madam President, I rise in support of the words of the majority leader and the majority whip," Schumer said. "Many of us have been frustrated lately by the glacial pace of activity in the House of Representatives. The Senate is supposed to be the cooling saucer, but these days, the House is where jobs bills and other important measures go to die."
This rhetoric from leading Democrats seems to shift the blame to Republicans, even though Democrats conceded that they'd be more or less inactive earlier this year, as they worked to reelect President Obama.
Citing top Senate Democratic aides, National Journal reported earlier this year that Democrats believe they are in good position to help the presidential election with their legislative agenda:
You know times have changed when Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., tells a gathering of about 40 House Democrats that the party is in a good position in 2012. According to staff members present at the meeting last week, Reid didn’t mean that the political atmosphere had dramatically improved, or that they would be passing more bills. The Democrats still can’t get much past Senate Republicans, much less the GOP-led House. What Reid meant is that the party is positioned to dictate a congressional agenda designed to get most of its congressional members—and President Obama—reelected.
Working with the White House, Senate Democrats are plotting a 2012 floor agenda driven by Obama’s reelection campaign and the fight for control of Congress. The year will see an intensified version of the course Democrats pursued this fall through votes on the president’s jobs bill. Senate floor action will be planned less to make law than to buttress Obama’s charge that Republicans are obstructing measures that would benefit the economy, leadership aides said.
The article is appropriately subtitled, "Forget passing bills. The Democrats just want to play the blame game in 2012." And the blame game is in full force.