Hoyer: GOP 'abusing' Senate rules to block Democrats' bills

Republicans are guilty of "abusing" Senate rules to block pieces of legislation, the second-ranking House Democrat charged Wednesday.

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) said the Senate is "broken," while absolving Democratic leaders in the Senate of culpability for slow-moving legislation.

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"I believe the Senate is broken. I don't think it's Harry Reid's fault, the Democratic leader," Hoyer said during an appearance on MSNBC. "What I think it is is the Republican leadership has determined that failure and gridlock are to its political benefit, and as a result, we've had more requests for cloture or filibuster votes than at any time in history."

House Democrats have bemoaned the lack of progress on bills they have passed but have been met with resistance in the Senate. That frustration is likely to grow now that Republicans have 41 votes in the upper chamber, allowing them to sustain a filibuster.

Hoyer accused the GOP of "abusing" the Senate's rules so far, though.

"Frankly, the Republican leadership is abusing a process which was used relatively infrequently in the '60s and '70s and even the '80s and '90s, but has escalated the usage of this requirement that every move of the Senate requires 60 votes," he said.