WASHINGTON — Patty Murray and her three fellow Senate Democratic leaders called a press conference Thursday afternoon to announce some major beef with Republicans — House Republicans to be specific.
Their complaint: a backlog of bipartisan Senate bills that have stalled in the other chamber. Among them the once-routine farm bill, the postal-service reform bill, the Violence Against Women Act and a China currency bill Democrats say would create 1.6 million jobs by stemming the flood of cheap imports.
That came after House Speaker John Boehner and other Republican leaders held their own news conference, accusing Senate Democrats of “inaction on 40-plus jobs bills that we’ve sent there.”
The bickering highlighted a sense of morass on Capitol Hill. The expiration of Bush era-tax cuts looms, with no agreement in sight. The 10-year, $1.2 trillion in automatic spending cuts known as sequestration is slated to kick in Jan. 2. The two parties are far apart on how to avert it.
Sen. Charles Schumer of New York, the Democratic conference vice chair, predicted “mainstream” Republicans will more readily embrace bipartisanship after watching backlash against tea party conservatives in the elections.
“There have always been Republicans who want to work with us,” Schumer said. “But they have been outshouted” by tea party Republicans.
Murray was equally optimistic that the logjam will break after November. But that won’t happen, she said, unless Republicans drop their insistence on not raising taxes on anyone, including the rich. Democrats favor keeping the Bush tax cuts for only the middle class and the poor.