The question of why Washington is doing so little prompts partisan answers from Nebraska’s United States Senators.
Sen. Ben Nelson, a Democrat, points to the other chamber, blaming Republican House leaders. Nelson contends the top Republicans in the House worry more about pacifying Tea Party members in the House than the consequences of inaction.
Nelson rejects suggestions that little can get done if the Senate leaves until after the November elections, saying that that would do little good in the current atmosphere.
“If the other side is not prepared to deal with the realities of the consequences back home, you can’t do it just by being back here, talking,” Nelson says.
It appears Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, a Democrat from Nevada, is prepared to shut down the Senate after approving a continuing resolution to keep the federal government funded through the first of the year. That would leave major issues for a lame-duck Congress to tackle after the November elections, including extending the Bush-era tax cuts and deciding whether to stop deep budget cuts set to automatically kick in if Congress doesn’t act.
Sen. Mike Johanns, a Republican, sees things differently.
Johanns defends the House, claiming it has passed dozens of bills Reid has refused to take up. Johanns has been very critical of Reid, blaming the Senate leader for the stalemate in Congress.
“It’s the Senate that hasn’t passed a budget for four years, not because we don’t want to, but because Sen. Reid says we won’t,” according to Johanns.
The House has failed to move the Farm Bill, even though it easily won approval in the House Agriculture Committee. Johanns dismisses suggestions that that can be laid at the feet of Republican House leadership, insisting that such slow progress on the bill is not unusual.
AUDIO: Brent Martin reports [:45]