WASHINGTON (CNN) – House Democrats expressed frustration Friday with their Senate colleagues after being forced to stay in town to approve a spending bill to keep the federal government from shutting down.
An exasperated Rep. David Obey, chairman of the House Appropriations Committee - which writes the spending bills - exited the House floor and curtly said, "There's no point in whining. I just want to get things done."
The Senate's inability to pass a $410 billion government spending bill for the remainder of 2009 on Thursday night meant the House had to pass a temporary spending measure to keep the government operating. After voting Friday 328-50 to pass the stopgap remedy, some House Democrats accused senators of neglecting their duties.
"We'll stay all night if we can't approve something. They just go home for the weekend," said Rep. Carolyn McCarthy of New York.
"I suppose there is a sense of frustration that we couldn't move forward," said Rep Rosa DeLauro of Connecticut.
Some of the House's most liberal members have complained about the Senate Democratic leadership's inability to pass legislation already approved by the House, such as the nearly $800 billion economic stimulus bill. That legislation was held up by a bipartisan group of Senate moderates, and the resulting bill was less appealing to many House Democrats.
But DeLauro acknowledged the political landscape of the Senate, where 60 votes are needed to approve all controversial legislation, and insisted that future policy initiatives will not be derailed.
"They have a certain set of circumstances that exist there. We are two separate, individual bodies," she said.