Sen. John Thune Wednesday accused Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of being the major roadblock to get anything done in Congress' upper chamber and blamed him for the failure Tuesday to pass a bill extending unemployment benefits.
"This endless cycle of not allowing Republicans votes, and not allowing the Senate to function, it just doesn't work," the South Dakota Republican said during an appearance on MSNBC's "Morning Joe."
The current debate over extending unemployment benefits is an example of the problem, Thune indicated. The bill to extend benefits stalled in the Senate Tuesday amid disagreement between Democrats and Republicans over how long the extension should last.
The problem, Thune said, is Reid "consistently blocks Republicans" from introducing amendments.
"Since July, there have only been four Republican amendments voted on in the United States Senate. Four, over a six-month period. I think that really says it all," Thune said.
Thune said there is still a chance the Senate could revisit the issue over unemployment benefits before they recess next week. But he said passage of the measure would have to "entail, at least, allowing some votes on amendments."
"At some point, hopefully, there's a breakthrough, and we're able to get to where we can have some votes and deal with this issue, not just simply with an extension, which, I think, treats the symptom. But, also deal with some of the causes for why we have high unemployment," Thune said.
Regarding the federal budget, Thune said he did not foresee another government shutdown. He predicted the funding bill currently before Congress would be "disposed of in a short amount of time." He said passage would settle federal budget issues "at least for the next year."
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