Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and nearly every GOP senator took turns criticizing President Obama and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) during the first hour of morning business Thursday.
More than 30 Republican senators called on Democratic colleagues to work on major pending issues rather than talking about the upcoming election.
“I understand there’s an election going on in a few months. But I’d like to remind my colleagues on the other side that we’ve also got a job to do around here,” McConnell said on the floor Thursday. “I mean, we’ve got multiple crisis-level issues to deal with. And yet Democrats don’t want to do a thing.”
“Our constituents didn’t send us here to watch the clock or to offer running commentary on the floor,” McConnell said. “They sent us here to make a difference. We’ve got jobs to do. It’s about time we did them.”
Senate Budget Committee ranking member Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) went after Reid for not dealing with debt and spending.
"I believe that is a colossal failure of leadership, a failure of fundamental responsibility, and puts him in a position of, in my opinion, of being unable to ask to be returned to leadership in this Senate," Sessions said.
Republicans accused Reid of lacking leadership and running the least productive Senate in modern time.
“Never before have a president and a Senate majority party done so little when our challenges have been so great,” McConnell said. “There’s no excuse for it.”
McConnell concluded by offering voters an alternative.
“If American people decide they want to make a change, the commitment I make to them is that the Republican conference will pass a budget,” McConnell said. “So the pledge we make to the American people, if they decide they want new leadership, is we will get these things done.”
Reid called the Republican’s display “a remarkable show of hubris or arrogance.”
“What they have done is the very definition of chutzpah,” Reid said. “What nerve, they’re complaining about the very thing they’ve created ... blocking one bill after another.”
Reid proceeded to list numerous bills he said Republicans have blocked during the 112th Congress, most recently the Middle Class Tax Cuts Act, the Veterans Job Corp Act, and several measures dealing with exporting jobs, including the Bring Jobs Home Act.
"They’re trying to make us look bad when they’re the cause," said Reid.
The majority leader also noted that Republicans have broken the record of filibusters, filing 382 during this Congress.
Freshman Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) is filibustering the upper chamber until he gets a vote on his own bill to end all foreign aid to Pakistan, Libya and Egypt as violent protests continue in the Middle East. The filibuster requires that the maximum amount of time be spent on each vote brought forward, holding up legislation such as a continuing resolution to fund the government for six months.
On Wednesday night, Reid announced that he and Paul had come to an agreement to have a vote on Paul’s bill if he stopped holding up the continuing resolution, but Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) then objected because he disapproves of Paul’s bill. The Senate is in talks to find a resolution before they recess for the elections.
—This post has been updated.