May 13th, 2012
10:33 AM ET
11 years ago

Senators in agreement: Senate isn't working

Washington (CNN) – Two leading senators from opposing political sides agreed on Sunday that the major issues facing the upper chamber, like taxes and spending, will not be addressed before the November elections. But they disagreed on who deserves the blame.

"I think that's an honest appraisal," Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois said on CNN's "State of the Union," when asked if it was true the Senate would stall on such topics before the 2012 election.

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"There is no good reason for us to be here if we're not going to make some of these tough decisions, cast tough votes, that's what we get paid for. That's what we should do and that's what we should be held accountable for," Republican Sen. John Cornyn of Texas told CNN Chief Political Correspondent Candy Crowley.

Although Durbin conceded Democrats and Republicans are both to blame for the stalemate in Washington, he singled out Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, for saying it was job No. 1 to make President Barack Obama a one-term president and for what Durbin said were unprecedented numbers of Republican filibusters.

"We just cannot take up anything constructive," Durbin said, pointing to last week's GOP filibuster of a bill to keep student loan interest rates from doubling in less than two months.

Republicans said they wanted to extend Democratic legislation that lowered interest rates but would not accept Democratic proposals to pay for a one-year extension by changing a law that would allow wealthy taxpayers to avoid paying taxes on some entitlements.

Meanwhile, Cornyn focused his criticism on Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada, who he said will not call important votes to the floor for fear Democratic incumbents will be required to cast "tough votes" before the election.

"When Sen. Reid refuses to allow the minority an opportunity to offer amendments and debate amendments and vote on amendments, then we have no choice but to say, we have to protect the minority's right to have a voice heard," Cornyn said. "The people we represent simply cannot be excluded because of Sen. Reid's fiat."

Both senators used their frustrations with Congress to stress the importance of Election Day.

"The American voters have the last word in November; do they want to continue this kind of obstructionism? Do they want to see something different?" Durbin said.

Cornyn, who serves as chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, the group in charge of electing Republicans to the Senate, said Richard Mourdock's recent GOP primary victory over six-term incumbent Sen. Dick Lugar in Indiana is evidence of more to come.

"People are mad at what's happening in Washington," Cornyn said. "People are tired of just yelling at the TV set, they're actually going to turn out to vote. ... And they want to try new leaders, and that's what happened in Indiana."

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Watch State of the Union with Candy Crowley Sundays at 9am ET. For the latest from State of the Union click here.

Filed under: 2012 • Congress • Dick Durbin • John Cornyn • Senate • TV-State of the Union
soundoff (22 Responses)
  1. GI Joe

    Cornyn has a black belt in being a real JERK.

    May 13, 2012 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  2. GOP is for the rich

    Just remember brought this on yourself with all the stonewalling and filibusters! We know who you really work for and it is not the voter. That's why you will be out in November. You think you would have changed your tune after 2008, but the idiot tea-baggers encouraged you falsely in 2010!

    May 13, 2012 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  3. GI Joe

    ".....................we have to protect the minority's right to have a voice heard," Cornyn said. "The people we represent simply cannot be excluded.............."


    Unless you're a woman or a gay. Vote the obstructionists out. Minorities have rights too. No civil right should ever be put to a vote.

    May 13, 2012 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  4. Eagle Eye

    If the senators agree that the senate is not working then why are the tax payers paying them to do nothing?.

    May 13, 2012 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  5. vic , nashville ,tn

    We know they don’t work ,please tell the truth to us

    This week JP Morgan lost 2 to 3 Billion we don’t know how many wrong bets out there. After this news broke politicians back on media attacking each others
    SAD PART both party not telling the truth to us when it’s about Wall Street

    May 13, 2012 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  6. Four and The Door

    GOP is for the rich
    Just remember brought this on yourself with all the stonewalling and filibusters! We know who you really work for and it is not the voter. That's why you will be out in November.
    Actually, American voters sent Republicans in large numbers to Washington in 2010 with a very clear mandate to stop the out-of-control spending by the Obama/ Pelosi/ Reid debt machine and the Republicans have done exactly what we asked them to. They first major accomplishment was lowering the 2011 federal budget by $100 billion. The second was creating a long term spending reduction as a key part of raising the debt ceiling. Obama fought this fiercely but after he was defeated on it he tried to take credit for the original idea. The third major accomplishment by this strong message from voters in 2010? Reducing the unemployment numbers which had peaked at over 10% in October 2010. There is plenty of opportunity to reuse national unemployment to half of what it is now, but Obama is not the guy who can get us there.

    Romney 2012 and as many Republican Senators as we can put in office!

    May 13, 2012 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  7. texasoil

    Bills come out of congress with bipartisan support and Henry never lets them hit the floor. Bill come out of the executive branch with no support and Henry never lets them hit the floor. And no bills ever get out of the senate Since bills are suppose to be argue over and change then voted on once they hit the floor how are we going to get things done in Washington?. Now ask your self who is holding up progress here. Can we say good bye to the democrat held senate in November? Yes we sure can. FORWARD with out the obstructionist democrats.

    May 13, 2012 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  8. chuck weidemann

    Look at what's happening in Greece. No parties can get along on "compromise" now they fall apart and no one wins....the world is left to pick up the pieces!! We all lose....same here! Regular everyday people pay the price for the sins of our leaders who refuse to govern. Both sides waiting to win while we all lose....the wealthy are insulated by their wealth. Workers are not! The old saying applies "United We Stand, Divided We Fall." Petulant leaders are not Leaders!!!! Just spoiled children of the privileged few who think they know what's best for the masses. Vote the bums out.....It's very easy to see who they are.

    May 13, 2012 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  9. Ricardo

    Wait a minute, these idiots make the country suffer just to make Obama one term president. Good to know

    May 13, 2012 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  10. chuck weidemann

    Power to the people,power to the people right on! Let's do our job !!! It's the 70's all over again......

    May 13, 2012 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  11. gg

    why are they getting payed

    May 13, 2012 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  12. judy

    vote all repos out then the senate will work. So determined to get rid of this president that they have held the American public hostage for over 3 years now. When will the repos start looking out for our interest? Obama 2012 Forward

    May 13, 2012 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  13. T'sah From Virginia

    ◄◄With or without Romney, D.C. a surprising Mormon stronghold◄
    And yet the Mormon running for president "cannot" be that BOLD!!
    Instead he rather LIE, FLIP-FLOP and pretend he is all of THEE!
    And complains about it's NOT about his Faith – It's about the economy

    It's more than that MITT and not just about being on TOP of Corporations with greed
    It's about Women – Health Care – Gay equality – EQUAL pay and MOST will agree!!

    Obama 2012 – The Only Trusted Way Forward!!

    Oh, and DUH!! The Senate and Congress is NOT Working!!

    May 13, 2012 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  14. GOP is for the rich

    Yes the rich are the only minority the republicans want to hear from.

    May 13, 2012 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  15. GOP is for the rich

    @Four and The Door- Yeah, and what did that get us? BACK INTO THE RECESSION. The republicans took the country back alright!

    May 13, 2012 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  16. GOP is for the rich

    There has been basically NOTHING passed since 2010, hence the article (four and...), so your lies are out in the open. Maybe your new name shold be 'two and the door'!

    May 13, 2012 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  17. GOP is for the rich

    The 2011 budget came out before the election and that was President Obama's idea to cut the budget by $100 billion.....What ARE you smoking, four and the door?

    May 13, 2012 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  18. chuck weidemann

    Romney and the tea party....the blind leading the blind!!!

    May 13, 2012 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  19. GOP is for the rich

    Four and the Door said "The second was creating a long term spending reduction as a key part of raising the debt ceiling."
    Yes, the obstructionists did that, and that resulted in the lowering of our credit rating. By the way, the reptili'con's are now trying to renig on that agreement by trying to cut other spending instead of their sacred defense budget, the defense of which is not to keep America safe, but to engorge their contractor buddies with lots of nice, green money!

    May 13, 2012 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  20. Tubby the Tuba Texas

    We, the people, have not seen anything in the form of a plan, from the Republicans about illegal immigration, job creation, or helping the middle class, or women or the gay communities. Nothing at all. They have exclude a good 75% of the middle class. Why would they expect to win the next election?! The rich have been hording their money for three years, they have NOT created new why to the Republicans want to give away the bank to the RICH? Maybe the pubic and private sectors of of America should look at how much MONEY the Republicans make, their Retirement plans and their Cadillac health coverage for which they pay 0 for, and continue to recieve free from the American people, only then will we all understand why they want to support themselves instead of the people who sent them there!! We allow for them and other politicians do that to us, the American People!!

    May 13, 2012 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  21. Gimmeabreak!

    Excuse me! Who hold the majority in the Senate? I DO believe it's the Democrats. More garbage talk from the Dems about who isn't doing what!

    May 13, 2012 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  22. Dave Harris

    We all know who's to blame. If Republicans can't run the government, they'll prevent anybody else from doing that. It's just a case of being bad losers. And the morons who vote for them will deserve it when their Social Security checks stop arriving and the government stops paying for their medical care.

    May 13, 2012 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |