Is the Senate 'broken'?
By Ben Pershing
Is the Senate "broken"? One Democratic leader made clear Tuesday that he believes the answer is yes, while another begged to differ.
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) added his voice to the growing number of Democrats frustrated by the inaction of the Senate, particularly the chamber's inability to move major legislation such as health-care reform because of the need for a 60-vote supermajority. In a speech Tuesday at the National Press Club, according to Roll Call's account, Hoyer said: "It's one thing to have a considered process. It's another thing to have a broken process. Many of us believe the Senate process is broken, and when I say 'many of us,' I speak for many members of the United States Senate as well."
A few hours later, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) was asked at a press conference to respond to Hoyer's comment. And while Reid has complained of the GOP's alleged obstructionism on a near-daily basis, on Tuesday he took the tack of defending the institution:
If you go back to the history, you'll find that ... the founding fathers created a very unique legislature. We have a bicameral legislature. This was unheard of before the founding fathers did this. One of the reasons they did is to build in competition between the chambers, so my friend Steny. ... I have great affection for Steny. But you could go back over the two-and-a-third centuries we've been a country, and House leaders have been saying this about the Senate from the very beginning. So I could give you a few comments about how I feel about the House, but I won't.
Perhaps so he wouldn't say more on the subject, Reid then ended the press conference.
January 26, 2010; 3:22 PM ET
Categories: Capitol Briefing
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