Sen.-elect Dan Coats on Thursday attacked Congress for its performance during the lame-duck session, and warned that the incoming class of Members “are watching” and will do things differently next year.
Coats, a Republican who easily won an open seat in Indiana in November, put out a statement decrying the jam-packed session, saying Americans are “understandably disappointed” at what took place over the last few weeks in Washington and that lame-duck sessions “often do more harm than good.”
“On November 2, the voters of Indiana and the nation voted for less spending, greater accountability and more transparency from their federal government. Instead they got a lame duck session of congress in which the Democrats are still in charge, and many who failed to be re-elected are still in office,” Coats said.
Coats added that Congress “should have voted against raising taxes and against new spending, and then packed up for home to enjoy the holidays with families and friends.” Instead, he said, the new Members are “watching on the sideline as several bills and issues that did not succeed in the regular session are being pushed by members whose big government agendas were rejected overwhelmingly just last month.”
Coats did not highlight any particular piece of legislation but singled out Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and outgoing Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.). He said the Democratic leaders were “threatening to keep members in session until some pet projects are addressed before school is let out.”
Coats closed his statement with a promise that “those of us who will be sworn in next month are watching, too, and have been sent to Washington to do things differently.”
It was a far cry from fellow Republican Sen.-elect Ron Johnson, who sent an e-mail that replaced the O in his first name with a wreath and included a happy photo of Johnson with his wife and three children. “Hoping you and your family find joy and peace in the Season, and blessings in the New Year,” the Wisconsinite wrote.
Sen. Mark Udall (D-Colo.) released an e-mail greeting featuring snow-peaked Rockies and smiling photos of his family members. Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) asked supporters to donate to the USO because the group helps “lift the spirits” of troops serving abroad.
Vice President Joe Biden waits to conduct a mock swearing-in ceremony with Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, in the Capitol's Old Senate Chamber, December 2, 2014. Schatz was sworn in to serve the remainder of his term since he was appointed to the seat after Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, passed away.