Republicans have long complained that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid won't allow them to attach amendments to bills. Now they say they are treating Democrats better in the House, where they are in charge.
Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, a Texas Democrat, has had 18 roll call votes on her amendments alone in the past year, The Hill reports
. All the Republicans in the Senate combined haven't had that many.
Reid reportedly bristles at charges he isn't allowing Republicans to make amendments. He called in a group of mostly liberal columnists to his office recently to make his case.
"It irritates me so much when people say, 'Why don’t they just work together?'" E.J. Dionne Jr. reported Reid as saying
. The real problem, Reid said, is that "Republicans made a decision . . . to oppose everything Obama wants."
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell's spokesman, Don Stewart disputed that, pointing to two recent bipartisan bills on terrorism insurance and job training. Reid allowed Republican amendments on both those bills.
The House has allowed roll call votes on more than 180 amendments from Democrats in the last year, while the Senate has allowed only 12, The Hill reported.
"I want to thank the Republicans for their generosity," Jackson Lee told The Hill when asked about the amendments. She suggested Reid and McConnell work things out in the Senate to improve bipartisanship.
But some of Jackson Lee's Democratic colleagues say Republicans are pulling a fast one, allowing amendments on spending bills, which they don't believe will pass anyway, while not allowing them on other bills.
"They don't allow any amendments on the actual policy bills," Rep. Zoe Lofgren of California told The Hill.
Reid said earlier this month
that Republican obstructionism in the Senate forces him to rule with a strict hand.
"If that makes me too powerful, that's too bad," he said.
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