Hoyer Blames Senate Gridlock for Lack of House Activity

Posted October 20, 2009 at 1:49pm

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) wants colleagues grumbling about the sluggish pace of action on the floor to know: He’s grumbling, too.

Hoyer, who sets the floor schedule for the chamber, on Tuesday blamed Senate gridlock on bills that have already cleared the House for the slowdown.

“The Senate hasn’t passed all its bills, much less going to conference,— he said. “So when you hear the grumbling, count me as one of the grumblers.—

The House in recent weeks has been convening for less than three days a week, with lawmakers often taking their first votes on Tuesday evenings and wrapping work by Thursday afternoons. This week, just two measures are set to come to the floor under a rule: the Solar Technology Roadmap Act and the Coast Guard Authorization Act.

The holdup is partly because of spending bills. The House cleared all 12 of its appropriations measures by July, but the Senate has lagged behind, and only three have made it to the president’s desk. Hoyer said that in the meantime, he was not going to “make work. I’m not going to have people stand here and just twiddle their thumbs.— And he noted that while the floor might be mostly quiet, lawmakers are grinding on health care, “a very heavy lift.—

The No. 2 House Democrat added that he did not blame Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) for the House pace. “This is not a criticism of Harry Reid. It is difficult to get things done in the Senate,— he said, adding, “I think Sen. Reid has the most frustrating job in government in the United States of America.—