U.S. Senator Mark Pryor (D) said he’s tired of the drama that has engulfed Washington, D.C. politics and he wants to see Congress function in a bipartisan, problem-solving manner.
“I think most Arkansans will agree with me on this: I am tired of the drama. I have shutdown fatigue, okay,” Pryor said on KARK’s Capitol View on Sunday morning.
“I’m tired of it, people in our state are tired of it, people across the country are tired of it. They sent us up here to govern, to sometimes make hard decisions, even decisions that may not always be completely popular. But they want us to lead and show some leadership and govern up here,” he said. “Unfortunately, what happens is that the House has just become ‘Drama City’ over there. We work in a bipartisan way in the Senate, that’s how you get things done.”
In Washington over the weekend, the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives are debating measures to keep the federal government lights on. Wrapped up in the debate is the issue of raising the federal debt limit ceiling, defunding or delaying the new health care law, and funding a host of critical government agencies.
Pryor said the lack of compromise and brinksmanship voting amounts to a dangerous game being played with the fragile U.S. economy.
“[Y]ou don’t play games with the U.S. economy. One of the things they keep talking about is the debt ceiling. They want to play games around the debt ceiling,” said Pryor. “I think more than anything what the markets want, what the business community wants around the country, even around the world, is they want to see signals from Washington that it’s okay to invest, it’s okay to expand, it’s okay to hire. Let’s do those things. Let’s get the economy improving and moving again.”
When pressed to note that the high-stakes procedural jockeying between the House and Senate is part of the political process and the way Congress was designed to function, Pryor acknowledged that those tools exist for Republicans, but there comes a time to move on.
“I understand what you’re saying about they feel like that’s their only tool – well, look: some of these issues we voted on and they lost. They lost. And, we’ve had an election since then and they lost that too. Now, they’re just trying to scratch and claw and get everything they can. That’s not really the way a democracy is supposed to work,” Pryor said.
“A democracy is designed where we make these hard decisions and we all get together in the House and Senate and we work through these things. Again, we don’t always agree. Democracy is not about agreeing, but you reach a consensus and you move on to the next issue. And unfortunately what a lot of people, a lot of – quite honestly I’m not too partisan – but the Republicans in the House are doing is they’re not allowing us to move on. They keep going back and back and back to the same old issues,” he said.
You can watch his full interview below.