Sam Stein at Huffington Post captured these surprisingly frank assessments yesterday of the (dysfunctional) U.S. Senate from three progressive congressmen. Tom Perriello of Virginia (speaking via Skype) was especially blunt.
The entire exchange (about 10 minutes) is well worth watching as well. Here's the recorded video of the panel.
I've added some video to further capture the moment.
A trio of progressive House members took direct aim at their colleagues in the Senate on Saturday, declaring that the upper chamber "sucks," has a "toxic effect" on the legislative process, and would cost House Democrats seats in the 2010 election.
"They say the senate has a luxury of time, six-year cycles for elections," said Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-Ariz.), co-chair of the House Progressive Caucus. "But these last 18 months have, in memory, have not only been the most frustrating but the inertia created in the Senate is what is jeopardizing Democrats and progressives' opportunities in the midterms. It is not our lack of action. It has been their lack of action."
"I think [we] feel a frustration because my constituents don't necessarily distinguish between the House and the Senate," said Rep. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.). "And so when they see something not getting done they are not really tolerant of my argument which is, 'Well it passed the House.' That doesn't really wash. They hold us all accountable for the failure of these issues moving forward. I personally think the 60-vote requirement in the United States Senate is a bastardization of the United States constitution."
"It sucks," said Rep. Tom Perriello (D-Va.), "and I mean it literally. It sucks the energy out of the room and it sucks the urgency out of what we do... The lack of urgency from the Senate on these jobs bill is soul-crushing."