Dem: Senate thinks it's 'House of Lords'

The third-ranking House Democrat said Monday the Senate thinks of itself as a "House of Lords" that happens to be out of touch with voters.

Majority Whip James Clyburn's (D-S.C.) remarks are one of the most significant public shots taken at the Senate by a Democratic leader since healthcare negotiations between the two chambers stalled.

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"[Senators] tend to see themselves as a House of Lords and they don't seem to understand that those of us that go out there every two years stay in touch with the American people," he said in an interview with Fox News Radio. "We tend to respond to them a little better."

Clyburn referenced the British upper chamber of Parliament, on which many member of the nobility sit.

Tensions between the House and Senate have grown since healthcare negotiations broke down after Republican Scott Brown's win the Massachusetts special Senate election.

Brown's victory deprives Senate Democrats of their 60-seat filibuster-proof majority. Since then, Democratic leaders have struggled to develop alternative means to pass the bill.

Senate Democrats by and large prefer that the House passes the Senate bill as is with the Senate making fixes by way of the budget reconciliation process.

But House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said last week that the Senate bill does not have the votes to pass the House.

Pelosi and Clyburn took aim at special deals given to Nebraska and Louisiana, which many House Democrats and Republicans say were intended to attract the votes of centrist Sens. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.) and Mary Landrieu (D-La.).

Landrieu took a shot at Pelosi on Sunday for saying that the House doesn't have the votes to pass the Senate bill.

"She should work it harder," the Louisiana senator said Friday

Some Senate Democrats, though, have warned that waiting longer to come up with other alternatives may kill the bill.

"The Senate bill is not dead," Landrieu added. "The Senate bill will ultimately be accepted by the House and sent to the president for his signature ... because it is the only path open for healthcare reform."

Though Clyburn admitted Democrats made a mistake in not placing enough focus on making current healthcare plans affordable, he still called on the Senate to fall in line with the House's priorities.

"The Senate would do themselves a whole lot of good if they paid a little more attention to what we're doing over on the House side if for no other reason than we are out there more often then they are," he said.