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House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy Swipes at Senate GOP

Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call
House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy said Senate Republicans’ maneuvers are partly to blame for the glut of House-passed bills that stall in that chamber.

“Senate Republicans share House Republican frustrations with a Democrat agenda that increases taxes and spending but not jobs. Republicans on both sides of the Capitol are in complete agreement when it comes to passing legislation that helps create jobs and improve the economy, and I would point to likely Senate passage later this week of the House-passed JOBS Act,” the Senate aide said, referring to the Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act.

McCarthy’s comments are particularly noteworthy: Leaders in both chambers go to great pains to avoid criticizing their counterparts, even indirectly, and Republicans in particular have made a great show of their unity in message over the last year.

Still, McCarthy is not alone in his unhappiness.

For instance, when asked if complaints about the Senate GOP’s tactics resulting in House-passed bills being stalled are widespread, one rank-and-file Member said bluntly, “Hell yes, they are.”

Republican lawmakers privately agreed with McCarthy, saying that while Reid has shown little interest in passing House bills, Republicans in the chamber have also shown little interest of their own, opting instead to demand votes on poison pill amendments or fight protracted procedural wars with Reid rather than move legislation.

So far this Congress, House Republicans have plenty to complain about. The House has passed about 30 bills with some measure of bipartisan support that have essentially died at the Senate chamber’s door. And while some of those bills are not bipartisan in any real sense — drawing only a few Democratic votes or co-sponsors — others have passed the House with significant backing from both parties. For instance, 25 of those bills have had at least 10 Democratic votes, while 24 have 15 or more.

And House Republicans haven’t been shy about slamming the Senate over the lack of action on their bills. Speaker John Boehner (Ohio) has made the stockpile of House bills awaiting action in the Senate a repeated part of his weekly news conferences, as have other GOP leaders. For instance, Cantor on Tuesday said the blame for a lack of action lies squarely with Reid. “I think it’s Harry Reid who controls the other body. ... I really point right to him,” Cantor said.

“The Senate does two things and only two things well: nothing and overreact,” Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-N.C.) quipped.

Seeking to clarify his previous comments, McCarthy on Tuesday also blamed Reid.

“Leader Reid has consistently blocked bipartisan efforts by the House on job creation, while attempting to advance an out-of-touch agenda that puts politics before the American people. In the face of Leader Reid’s obstructionism, [Senate Minority  Leader] Mitch McConnell [R-Ky.] and his Republican colleagues in the Senate have fought to bring legislation to the floor that would grow our economy and create jobs,” McCarthy said.

However, McCarthy did acknowledge that, “The Senate and the House are different bodies, and differences in process often appear. However, House and Senate Republicans all share the same goal: to get  Americans back to work.”

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