Inouye blames GOP obstructionism for continuing resolution votes

Inouye, the longest serving member of Congress, said the temporary funding measures, called continuing resolutions, are nothing new. But what is new is Republicans' overuse of the filibuster, he said.

Some Republicans have complained that the Senate should have taken up 11 of the 12 appropriation bills passed out of committee rather than the spending resolution. Inouye countered that Republicans were the reason why the appropriations bills hadn’t been voted on — not Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.).

“The decision by the House to break faith with the Senate and the administration on funding levels and the inclusion of outrageous legislative policy riders in their bills drained the enthusiasm for acting on the bills,” Inouye said. “But, the real culprit thwarting the efforts of the committee was a handful of Republican members who insist on delaying the business of the Senate.”

Inouye said he doesn’t oppose the filibuster, but the fact that Republicans have used it 382 times in the past six years to block bills has “crippled the Senate.” He said 30 percent of the Senate’s time has been wasted because of time wasted on procedural cloture motions. 

“The Senate has been held up, delayed, and rendered ineffective for at least 30 percent of its time by the abuse of the filibuster,” Inouye said. “These filibusters were not to highlight important policy differences nor were they to protect a Senator’s constituents. Instead, in virtually every case, they were simply to thwart the ability of the Senate to function.”

Inouye recommended that the body “alter either its behavior or its rules.”

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