Litigating Capitol Hill recess in weekly addresses
September 22nd, 2012
06:03 AM ET
8 years ago

Litigating Capitol Hill recess in weekly addresses

Washington (CNN) - President Barack Obama and Sen. Jeff Sessions argued over inaction on Capitol Hill in their Saturday weekly addresses, with the Alabama Republican presenting his case as though the audience were a jury.

“As a prosecutor, I learned to trust the wisdom of these everyday citizens. I also learned, more than anything else, jurors want the facts,” Sessions said in the GOP address. “Today, my goal is to present to you the facts as honestly and directly as I can.”

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He and Obama saw many of the facts differently, but at least agreed that legislators left the nation's capital this weekend with their business unfinished.

“Last week, without much fanfare, members of the House of Representatives banged a gavel, turned out the lights, and rushed home, declaring their work finished for now,” Obama said in his weekly address. “If that frustrates you, it should, because their work isn’t finished.”

Republicans have control of the House. Democrats, meanwhile, hold the White House and Senate, and Sessions made the case that they are at fault.

“Adding to the chaos, the Senate Democrat majority has decided to adjourn through November having utterly failed to meet its most basic obligations,” he said. “For the last three years, in a time of national crisis, Senate Democrats have deliberately violated to legal requirement to produce a budget plan.”

The Senate adjourned early Saturday morning after a series of votes, while the House adjourned during the day on Friday. House members and staff streamed down the Capitol steps after the session ended and they were free to return to their districts, where many are up for re-election in a few weeks.

The president, who is expected to hit the campaign trail himself over the 45 days between now and November 6th, called for Congress to reconvene after the election to work on legislation including a farm bill, jobs measures, and his tax proposal.

“After going home and listening to their constituents for a few weeks, members of Congress should come back in November and do this work,” Obama said. “They should do the right thing for veterans and farmers, for responsible home owners and small businesses, for Americans everywhere who are just trying to get ahead.”

Sessions faulted Democrats for blocking budget measures, and said, “if given the chance, Republicans will get this government under control. A Republican Senate will pass a budget.”

Obama has his next opportunity to make his case in person to voters on Saturday when he holds a campaign event in Wisconsin. Sessions’ seat is not on the ballot this year and Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney has no public events scheduled on Saturday, although GOP vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan will campaign in Florida.

Also see:

- Rubio tweets his airline woes

- Ryan 'very comfortable' as Romney's V.P. candidate

- Litigating Capitol Hill recess in weekly addresses

- Gingrich to Romney: Do to Obama what you did to me

- Biden: Romney tape, demeanor shows he ‘does not understand’ middle class

Filed under: 2012 • Congress • Jeff Sessions • President Obama • Senate
soundoff (26 Responses)
  1. John Oboho

    For the fact that the Republicans in congress said that,thier single most important issue is to make Obama a one term president is enough indictment in this case.Over to you jurors.

    September 22, 2012 07:10 am at 7:10 am |
  2. Andrea Sharp

    I think these people on capitol hill owe the american people a reduction to there salary. They make to much money for the lack of work.

    September 22, 2012 07:13 am at 7:13 am |
  3. Gurgyl

    Just remove all the animals from the congressional pen. This solves the most of the problem now this nation is facing. Drive GOP idiots out. Period. Obama12.
    PS: god bless us all.

    September 22, 2012 07:18 am at 7:18 am |
  4. survalerie johnson

    why not. they 1% are doing fine.hurry nov-06-2012 lost soul.

    September 22, 2012 07:18 am at 7:18 am |
  5. Gurgyl

    Young, please come forward to serve this nation with honesty, integrity and without bias of color, creed, or origin. Now is your turn. Folks, remove all the rusty old JUNK. God bless.

    September 22, 2012 07:21 am at 7:21 am |
  6. Romney Hood's a FRAUD

    LOL. Boehner had better hurry back to DC and enjoy his last few days as Speaker. In a couple of weeks, he's fired!!

    September 22, 2012 07:50 am at 7:50 am |
  7. Rick McDaniel

    Harry Reid is the worst Senate Leader in my lifetime. The WORST!

    September 22, 2012 08:07 am at 8:07 am |
  8. bearced

    Mr. Sessions, why would they present a budget knowing that your party would filibuster? Between the completely partisan house bills and the filibusters by your party in the senate it is impossible to get anything done. If your party was serious you would allow a vote on a democratic budget, after all the largest budget deficits created in the last 50 years came from your party! Reagan, Bush, and Bush and yes Bush 2 is primarily responsible for the current deficit. Why don't you tell the American people those "facts".

    September 22, 2012 08:19 am at 8:19 am |
  9. Norma Vessels

    The Republicans are always blaming the Democrats for not putting out a budget each year. Maybe they forgot, somehow, that they, Republicans, have to be the other half of the budget plan .. without them, it can't be passed. Meanwhile, the Republicans are so busy saying 'no' to everything that passes their way from the Democrats or the President, that they lost all sight of what they themselves are supposed to do, to move this economy ahead .. and that is, be the other half of Congress, and not the constant wall of objection!

    September 22, 2012 08:43 am at 8:43 am |
  10. Jerry

    Original Chinese Proverb

    Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day. Teach a man to fish and he will eat for a lifetime.

    2012 White House Revision

    Give a man a welfare check, a free cell phone with unlimited free minutes, cash for his clunker, food stamps, Section 8 housing, free contraceptives, Medicaid, ninety-nine weeks of unemployment, free meds, and he will vote for Democrats the rest of his life; even after he's dead.

    September 22, 2012 08:57 am at 8:57 am |
  11. Ron L- Mich

    Yes the Congress did very little the last 2 weeks but You want to know REAL NEWS...of the week.....There are a very SMALL PERCENTAGE of Americans who put their life on the line EVERYDAY for this country. They are paid AVERAGE wages for the ULTIMATE SACRIFICE and yet you have SENATORS willing to defeat a bill designed to HELP these few EXTREMELY dedicated Americans with a JOBS bill that they HELPED WRITE!!! This should be in the TICKER EVERY DAY.. This is the type of thing that SICKENS most of us. Frankly, it would serve the nation right if HALF of those how are either thinking of enlisting or extending their service were to decide not you. WHY should anyone be willing to risk their LIFE for a a SENATE that has close to half it's members playing politics with their future and lives? AMERICA this is disgusting, unacceptable and all of of us should be making sure the SENATE members who did this know WE WON"T FORGET THIS the next time they need our votes.

    September 22, 2012 09:12 am at 9:12 am |
  12. GI Joe

    uh wrong – EVERY member of the house is up for re-election every two years. Unless they are quitting.

    Hopefully we can sweep those baggers out this year that promised us jobs two years ago and then did nothing but obstruct every jobs bill, or attach an abortion bill to it.

    September 22, 2012 09:33 am at 9:33 am |
  13. Marie MD

    The teapublikklans made sure to turn their backs to our fighting men and women with a vote of 58-40 which is no longer a majority in the Senate. At least five rethugs care about our troops employement future.
    The rest just like to send them to war and early death. They could care less about them when they return home.
    All those troops who keep voting rethug. Wake up!!! You are just a pawn in the game for these slimeballs in congress.
    It's obvious that they are more interested in getting reelected to continue to tank the country and work with the President than about US!

    September 22, 2012 09:54 am at 9:54 am |
  14. Joan

    Every member of Congress should be held accountable for their record and how much has been done for the citizens of America while they have been in office. This Congress has a 10% approval rating, has the worst productivity record in history and the Republicians have filibustred and obstructed bills more than at any other time in history. The economy was slowly starting to come back and then everything halted when the Republicans took back the House in 2010. They have stalled everything, won't even bring the President's jobs bill to the floor, embarassed the US around the world with their debt ceiling tantrums and caused the credit rating to drop to AA. Leaving without passing the farm bill, a jobs bill and other policies that could be helpful to every day citizens is disgraceful.

    September 22, 2012 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  15. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    Sessions has learned to trust the wisdom of everyday citizens, but chooses to ignore that he is representing only 30% of them and ignoring the other 70%. Way to vote against the veterans jobs' bill in the senate, you fool.

    September 22, 2012 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  16. CBR

    Congress has not accomplished anything and most Senators and Representatives are willing to blame each other and the President. However, when members of Congress announce that they will do nothing to help the President to be re-elected and then refuse to lead their colleagues to solve any issues we are all in trouble. Sen. Sessions has been part of the problem at times and he certainly has not pushed Mitch McConnell and others to do their jobs. To blame everyone is a little hypocritical. Until members decide to leave their egos at the door and to work together to pass legislation and to work through problems we will never see any results.

    It really does not matter who is President when members of Congress refuse to cooperate or compromise. So long as they believe their ideas are more important than those of another member of Congress and will not move off the proverbial dime the United States of America is in trouble. So long as Congress refuses to budget for the war and everything else then the financial status of our country is compromised. Members need to stop blaming everyone around them and need to do the job they were sent to Washington to do.

    Some members are too self-absorbed, too stubborn, and too willing to receive a salary and the funding to maintain an office without doing any work. It might be wise for members to figure out just who much it is costing us to keep them in office. Compare that to other salaries of those who are nurses, social workers, teachers, policemen and firemen, etc.

    September 22, 2012 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  17. 1byrd

    Business is unfinished and much is still within the grasp of bipartisanship...... Not.... Even the bill that would have provided for job incentives for returning veterans – written through the sincere cooperation of Republicans and Democrats – was filibustered by Republicans (some of whom had actually written portions of the bill) purely to obstruct... to prevent anything good happening in the country that might reflect well on Obama. Congress adjourns? Hey.... who'll notice...

    September 22, 2012 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  18. judy

    vote all repos out. Lets start fresh with people that will work for the middleclass. Forward 2012. Democrats cant get anything done untill congress comes back simple as that.

    September 22, 2012 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  19. marty

    Did Senator Sessions sign the Grover Norquist pledge? If so, he violated his oath of office and should should all other congressmen and congresswomen who signed this pledge.

    September 22, 2012 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  20. steven harnack

    The Republican's latest stunt SHOULD seal their fate. It shows their absolute disdain for unemployed servicemen and women at a time when the whole country should be thanking them. Maybe they got a memo from R&R reminding them that these unemployed ex-military are part of the 47%, and as such, need to be taught a lesson?

    September 22, 2012 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  21. batjones

    Senator Sessions has failed to realize that the continuing resolutions that he has been passing for the past three years are the budget. Essentially, the President, Speaker Boehner and Senate Majority Leader Reid have kept spending flat at 2008 costs. This is a pretty significant fete that has been overlooked.

    September 22, 2012 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  22. Thomas

    Did Senator Sessions sign the Grover Norquist pledge? If so, he violated his oath of office and should should all other congressmen and congresswomen who signed this pledge.


    Yes he did , he's an attorney , he's word means nothing !

    September 22, 2012 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  23. C Anderson

    Ann Romney throws in the towel. Stop the fight, please stop beating my husband. Romney is against the ropes, both eyes cut with a broken nose. Obama holds his punches, waves for ref to stop fight. (boxing analogy).

    September 22, 2012 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  24. nmmell08

    I looke at congress and the senate and see buisnessmen and lawyers. Where is everyone else?! Where is the diversity. In the science community, people of all backgrounds, creeds, race, and nationality come together and work to a common goal in improving our knowledge of the world. We argue and debate, but we always strive to get the right and best answer to a question at hand. If congress even came close to doing that, they would be much much more liked. I'm tempted to even say bring in the scientists, socialologists, priests, farmers, small buisness owner, plumbers, bring them all in! With this diverse group, we would be better able to see the issues of all

    September 22, 2012 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  25. Ann

    the president looks so unhappy and helpless ... let him go, the job is too stressful for him.

    September 22, 2012 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
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