September 29th, 2010
07:40 PM ET
11 years ago

Democratic lawmakers scramble to wrap up work

(CNN) - Democratic lawmakers scrambled Wednesday to wrap up an already truncated work session.

In the Capitol hallways, many of them made it clear they are anxious to get home with enough time to convince uneasy voters to keep them in office and their party in power.

"I'll really be glad to get home," said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada who is in a tough re-election fight against Tea Party-backed Republican Sharron Angle. "I've spent a lot of time here working through the procedural morass that the Senate has become."

"I'm always more comfortable being at home," said Minnesota Democratic Rep. Tim Walz, who is in a close race for a third term. "Especially now making the case for why they should give me another shot at it and I think when I'm not there it's easier to say things that I can't defend."

Rep. Jason Altmire of Pennsylvania, another vulnerable Democratic sophomore, said he's confident he'll be re-elected but acknowledged that he looks "forward to getting back to talking to people and spending the next five weeks traveling around the district."

House and Senate Democrats insisted they would stay in Washington longer if they could pass anything. They blamed Senate Republicans for blocking most of their legislative wish list.

"We could not pass motherhood and apple pie right now because they would say it's some kind of anti-business government takeover", complained Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Missouri, who is not up for re-election. "The fact that we don't have to deal with the obstructionism for the next 30 days and we can get home and talk to real people, the middle class with real problems, is a relief."

"I think candidates were of the view if all we're going to do here is constantly face obstruction by the Republicans...let's go home," said Sen. Robert Menendez of New Jersey, who is in charge of the Democrats re-election effort. "If we're going to succeed at a few things then by all means lets do it."

"We've got 400 bills we've passed that the Senate's never touched," complained Rep. Louise Slaughter, D-New York.

Rep. Steve Driehaus, D- Ohio, is in one of the tightest races in the country.

"I think we are all wanting to get home and fight on the record," he said. "So I think keeping us here doesn't allow us to do that. I always would rather be home than here."

But Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell said the Democrats' troubles are of their own making.

"The public didn't like the stimulus. The public didn't like the health care bill. The public wasn't sure what the Wall Street bill was about and the public is deeply concerned that we are spending too much, borrowing too much and engaging in too many Washington takeovers. So, I think the one thing we can clearly say about our friends on the other side of the aisle, they have a unified desire to leave town."

–CNN's Ted Barrett, Dana Bash, Deirdre Walsh, Evan Glass and Matt Hoye contributed to this report

Filed under: 2010 • Congress
soundoff (11 Responses)
  1. southern cousin

    So because the fearful libs put their own political fortunes ahead of their duties, we are going to get the tax increase that lying president said we never would. And Obozo himself is out there just stinking up the country with more lies. These people are really sickening.

    September 29, 2010 08:04 pm at 8:04 pm |

    "Dems scramble to wrap up work"?? How funny. Voting to pass names of post offices, schools and other honorariums. Where is the budget for next year???? Where is the vote to eliminate the Dems' huge tax hike for next year??? Nope, they haven't done anything but reach deeper and deeper into our childrens' and grandchildrens' pockets.

    September 29, 2010 09:05 pm at 9:05 pm |
  3. New Age Independant

    Democrats have completely lost their mind. People aren't buying the whole "blame republicans" bit anymore. It's stupid to make such a claim when they have an overwhelming majority. It's this kind of thinking that will be the downfall of Democrats.

    September 29, 2010 09:32 pm at 9:32 pm |
  4. jim

    Toss all these wortless dems out in Nov. and put some real people in office that will bring some fiscal responsibilty with them.

    September 29, 2010 10:11 pm at 10:11 pm |
  5. thoughtdog

    And the GOP triumphs again for another session. Go home and get to work translating your frustrations to the public. Quit trying to be diplomatic and talk of process, talk to your hometown news outlets, the local folks that elected you and speak the truths that you have witnessed in Washington. The public that pays attention already knows what the problem is. It's the non-voters and the voters leaning that you must reach. You have take the country back, not support the system that no longer works.

    September 29, 2010 10:52 pm at 10:52 pm |
  6. S.L. Wilson Illinois

    McConnell&Boehner are both Trash~Talking idiots who fit extremely well with Palin~Angle~ODonnell~Miller~Ryan~Beck&Rush L! We better ALL hope and pray to God that these fools are soon only very distant memories~because they are very,very dangerous to th rest of us! No doubt about THAT!

    September 29, 2010 10:55 pm at 10:55 pm |
  7. TheTraveler

    You know, these jerks wouldn't have to "scramble" to get their work done if they'd just work in the first place. So now some of them want to go home and convince the electorate why they should be re-elected for another term.

    Really, if any of these free loaders were working in regular jobs, they wouldn't last a week. Remember this in November when you cast your ballots folks ...

    September 29, 2010 10:58 pm at 10:58 pm |
  8. roro

    No one in Congress should go home until the tax cut for those making under $250,000. is passed permanently. Perhaps we should consider merit pay for those in Congress. Maybe then they would get something done. Considering how many days Boehner spends on the golf course, we could all save a big chunk right there.

    September 29, 2010 11:55 pm at 11:55 pm |
  9. RufusVonDufus

    Our Dem lawmakers are proving to be the biggest joke north, east, south and west of any point in the U.S. They all deserve to be voted out–All of them!

    September 30, 2010 01:19 am at 1:19 am |
  10. J.V.Hodgson

    Well Republicans will not like that as it puts them on the back foot for the next 4/5 weeks On Tax = why spend $3.7 trillion of national debt increasing expenses when $3 trillion is enough over 10 years.
    Boehner, will also be seriously attacked on his affiliatiions to big business and the pledge and his ability to change Washington we all know well after 18months of demonstration by Republicans how to stop that you just Filibuster everything... Thanks for the lesson.
    He needs to grow up. He has no chance of reforming Washington as many of the changes really needed would require a 2/3rds majority in the Senate and sometimes the House as well.
    He's chosen a dangerous topic to hang his hat on... Obama is President and failed ( he possibly house leader) but I doubt it.
    With only 41 opposition Senators, and in the minoirity in the House. he used every rule in the book to delay or stop even everything.

    September 30, 2010 02:05 am at 2:05 am |
  11. King

    I applaud the dems for their humungus achievement without a single help from the repugs. Now theyre brasing for the great punishment from the brain washed american public and the rewarding of the sideline sitting obstructionist republicants

    September 30, 2010 07:58 am at 7:58 am |