First came a series of speeches by Sens. Chuck GrassleyChuck GrassleyClinton email headache is about to get worse Ten senators ask FCC to delay box plan Overnight Cybersecurity: Guccifer plea deal raises questions in Clinton probe MORE (R-Iowa), Mike LeeMike LeeMeet the billionaire donor behind Hulk Hogan’s lawsuit against Gawker Overnight Cybersecurity: Guccifer plea deal raises questions in Clinton probe Senate panel delays email privacy vote amid concerns MORE (R-Utah) and Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.).
Grassley said that Democrats were actively urging the Supreme Court to uphold the constitutionality of the Obama administration's healthcare reform law. The court is set to hand down a ruling on whether the law is constitutional in June.
"Political leaders from the Democratic side of the aisle are now preemptively charging the Supreme Court with judicial court with judicial activism if that court would strike down President Obama's healthcare law as unconstitutional," Grassley said. "I cannot remember when such a significant threat to judicial independence was made by attempting to affect the outcome of an impending case. It's an outrageous attack on the separation of power."
Lee called on Democrats to "stop yelling" at the high court.
"I hope and I trust that moving forward, President Obama and my colleagues in this body will refrain from attempting to bully the Supreme Court who are seeking to misrepresent the court's important work in fulfilling its constitutional duties," Lee said. "Let's stop yelling at the referees and let the Supreme Court do its job while we do ours."
Kyl followed Lee saying that Democrats should wait until the Supreme Court has handed down its ruling to react.
"I can't guess how the court is going to rule, it may not agree with my views, but I suggest that political leaders in the executive and legislative branches need to cool their rhetoric — as my colleague said stop yelling to the umpire, stop the thinly veiled threats, and react to the ruling after its been rendered rather than before," Kyl said.
When Senate Majority Leader Harry ReidHarry ReidSanders tests Wasserman Schultz Nearly 400 House bills stuck in Senate limbo Puerto Rico debt relief faces serious challenges in Senate MORE (D-Nev.) took the floor, he said Republicans have displayed a thinly veiled strategy of unnecessary obstruction throughout the entire 112th Congress.
"Consistently this Congress has taken weeks or months to pass even simple commonsense legislation. Proposals that would previously have passed in minutes — the Senate has wasted literally months considering bipartisan bills only to have those bills smothered to death under piles of non relevant Republicans amendments," Reid said. "And Congressional Republicans have held even the most important jobs measures hostage to extract votes on unrelated, ideological amendments despite the minority leader's own call to 'stop all the show votes' — those were his words. Mr. President, Democrats and the American people have endured this obstruction all year, in fact, for 18 months."
Reid referenced an often-cited statement by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnellMitch McConnellIn House GOP, Ryan endorsement of Trump seen as inevitable McConnell: Trump White House will have ‘constraints’ Nearly 400 House bills stuck in Senate limbo MORE (R-Ky.) that the top priority for Republicans was to make President Obama a one-term president.
"They're headed in doing whatever they can, whatever it takes to try and make President Obama a one term president," Reid continued. "Mr. President, we're fighting back from the greatest recession since the Great Depression. Yet Republicans' top priority hasn't been to create jobs. Their top priority wasn't to help business grow and have people hire workers. It wasn't to train the next generation of skilled employees and hire more cops and firefighters and put construction crews back to work."
But Sen. Charles SchumerCharles SchumerSanders tests Wasserman Schultz Puerto Rico debt relief faces serious challenges in Senate Overnight Healthcare: House, Senate on collision course over Zika funding MORE (D-N.Y.) said that there was a "silent majority" of Republicans working with Democrats and that it was actually possible to still pass legislation.
"Even as the loudest voices on the Republican side cite the President's defeat as their number one goal, I believe there's a silent majority within the Republican caucus that yearns to come together and address the nation's problems free of bipartisan politics," Schumer said.
Schumer also responded to comments by House Majority Leader Eric CantorEric CantorJohn Feehery: GOP: Listen to Reince The Trail 2016: Dems struggle for unity Overnight Regulation: Supreme Court rejects GOP redistricting challenge MORE (R-Va.) suggesting that legislating was effectively over until after the Nov. 6 presidential election. Schumer mentioned a briefing he attended organized by Sen. Lamar AlexanderLamar AlexanderSenate backs equal pay for female soccer players Overnight Healthcare: Momentum on mental health? | Zika bills head to conference | Only 10 ObamaCare co-ops left Overnight Regulation: GOP slams new Obama education rules MORE (R-Tenn.) and Sen. Mark WarnerMark WarnerNo time to relax: A digital security commission for the next generation Army posthumously awards female veteran who served as WWII spy The Hill's 12:30 Report MORE (D-Va.) earlier in the week.
"Believe me, no one in that room thinks as Leader Cantor apparently does that these issues should be put off till the election," Schumer said. "The conversations were quite preliminary for sure but all the motivation of the senators that attended were pure."
Schumer also praised Sens. Tom CoburnTom CoburnMcCain: No third-party foes coming for Trump Tough choice for vulnerable GOP senators: Embrace or reject Trump The Trail 2016: Donald and the Supremes MORE (R-Okla.) and Lindsey GrahamLindsey GrahamSenators to Obama: Make 'timely' call on Afghan troops levels Senate amendments could sink email privacy compromise Trump: Romney 'walks like a penguin' MORE (R-S.C.) as Republicans actually interested in legislating even if it meant bucking the "party's orthodoxy."
Schumer said Cantor was wrong and that the Senate could bring the parties together.
"I suggest to Leader Cantor, Washington doesn't need an election to bridge our differences, it needs the Senate," Schumer said.