Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) on Wednesday accused Republicans of wasting time by pursuing several investigations against the Obama administration instead of passing legislation like the Senate’s immigration bill.
“What are they doing over there?” Reid asked on the Senate floor. “Day after day, investigations. Investigate everything and accomplish nothing.”
House Republicans have just launched a select committee to investigate the 2012 Benghazi attacks, after emails indicated that the Obama administration dismissed intelligence that said the assault was orchestrated by terrorists.
Last week, the House voted to hold ex-IRS official Lois Lerner in contempt of Congress, a move the GOP hopes will result in a court case that could require Lerner to testify about the IRS targeting scandal. Various House committees have held several oversight hearings on these and other issues over the past year.
And both the House and Senate are pursuing an investigation against the Department of Veterans Affairs over attempts to make it appear that veterans are not facing long waiting times to get healthcare. A Senate committee will hold a hearing on that issue Thursday, and a House committee voted to subpoena VA Secretary Eric Shinseki.
But Reid accused GOP leaders of wasting time on these matters, and said this focus has prevented Republicans from taking up an immigration bill passed by the Senate.
“They’ve wasted far too much time on a bill that the Senate introduced, considered and passed in less than two months,” he said. “What’s House Republicans’ excuse? Why are they doing this? What are they achieving by dragging their feet on immigration reform?”
House Republicans have said they’re not dragging their feet on the Senate bill, and that they have already decided they won’t bring up the bill at all. Instead, they’ve said they plan several smaller immigration bills, but only after President Barack Obama gives the GOP a reason to trust that he will fully implement whatever laws Congress passes.
Reid’s Wednesday comments are the latest shot in a years-long rhetorical war over which body is being more productive. Reid and other Democrats blame Republicans for passing bills to repeal Obamacare as the reason why the current Congress is one of the least productive in history.
Republicans note the House has passed dozens of job-related bills that Senate Democrats refuse to consider. They also note that Reid is not even allowing amendment votes on most bills at this point, a change that prompted Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) to say Democrats have turned the Senate into a “graveyard for good ideas.”