By Molly K. Hooper - 10/04/11 04:54 PM EDT
House GOP freshmen castigated Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) Tuesday for refusing to act on House-passed bills.
Illinois Rep. Randy Hultgren (R) said that senators shouldn’t get paid since they haven’t approved a budget.
“If the Senate continues to refuse to do their job — the primary responsibility to pass a budget — they should lose their job or stop getting paid,” Hultgren said.
House frustration with the more slow-moving Senate is a common occurrence in Washington. When Democrats controlled both chambers, House Democrats were sometimes frustrated with their Senate counterparts.
Divided government just turns the heat up more — House Republican freshmen have become extremely irritated with Senate Democrats after nine months in Washington.
“It’s a circus over there, it’s no circus [on the House side], we’ve passed these bills, we’ve taken a hard stance, we’ve gone back home and faced people who’ve said, you didn’t cut it enough,” Kelly said.
The former University of Notre Dame football player became riled up as he spoke at a freshman event intended to pressure the Senate to move a budget.
“When you pass bill after bill after bill and it goes to the Senate and it gets tabled, won’t be discussed, won’t be amended — well, there’s another chamber there that’s not doing anything,” Kelly said.
More than a dozen freshman Republican members attended the press conference, where they urged voters to contact the Senate and demand passage of a budget plan, as well as other House-passed measures that lawmakers contend would create jobs.
“Empirically we can show that the bottleneck is in the Senate — I hope every American stands up and says to Senator Reid: get these bills passed, we’ll go to conference, let’s work it out, we’ll work weekends and get this thing moving again,” Virginia Rep. Scott Rigell (R) said.
The pressure comes as President Obama is urging House Republicans to move his jobs plan. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) said that package was dead, but that the House could move forward with pieces of Obama’s favored legislation.
Senate Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad (D-N.D.) later on Tuesday said Republicans are wrong in arguing Democrats have not passed a budget.
He said the Senate did approve a budget when it approved legislation to raise the debt ceiling.
Conrad said that legislation locked in spending levels for the year, and that while it wasn't the normal procedure for passing a budget, it did represent something stronger than a normal budget.
"This year’s process has been unusual, but it has nonetheless achieved everything that is in a traditional budget – including setting discretionary caps, providing enforcement mechanisms, and providing a process to make proposals for entitlement spending and revenues," Conrad said in a statement.
Conrad added "the budget resolution was not needed for this purpose, but the final agreement, which now has the force of law, achieved everything and more found in a traditional budget resolution.”
This story was updated at 3:59 p.m.