“You expect a lot of this give and take but right now it’s pretty toxic.”
It was the second time this week the senator had sharp words for his chamber. After the Senate voted down a prison system reform bill Webb had spent years working on with Republicans and Democrats alike, he went to the Senate floor to air his grievances.
“It is impossible not to notice over the past two years the lamentable decline in bipartisan behavior in this body, even in addressing serious issues of actual governance,” he said. “I say this with a great deal of regret, both personally and politically.
“The legislative process has too often become sidetracked by what can only be termed an indiscriminate obstructionism.”
Webb will not seek a second term in 2012, and said he hasn’t decided yet if he’ll campaign for President Obama.
“A lot of good ideas have fallen by the wayside, having become hostages in the larger debate about who should comprise our national leadership and how we should solve long-term problems such as our fiscal crisis,” he said. “I would ask my friends on the other side of the aisle to think hard about the overwhelming frustration across our country with the persistent failure of the Congress to address these kinds of issues.”
On “Topline,” he said congressional failure is shaking the faith of the American people in their government.
“I think what happened with this national debt debate is it really shook a lot of people up,” he said. “They said, ‘What is going on when your government gets paralyzed by a vote just to raise the national debt?’ I was in the Reagan administration, and Ronald Reagan raised the national debt 18 times. We know we have to get our arms around it, but was that the right symbolic effort to come together to threaten to push the economy over the cliff? I quite frankly don’t think it was.”