'Meet The Press' Panel Laments ‘Do-Nothing Nature’ of Republicans In Congress

A common theme among liberal journalists is to blame a “do-nothing Congress” when liberal policies fail to become law. Such was the case during a panel discussion on Sunday’s Meet the Press when moderator David Gregory and his entire panel lamented the lack of legislative action on Capitol Hill, mainly in the Republican-controlled House of Representatives. 

Gregory summed up the panel’s sentiment when he bemoaned how “until the incentives are changed, a desire for some compromise or even meeting challenges that Americans want dealt with, will not get done. Because nobody will give the other side even a small win in this climate.” [See video below.]

As the segment continued, Ruth Marcus of the Washington Post eagerly attacked Republicans in Congress, mainly Senator Ted Cruz: 

I do believe that Ted Cruz must be Texan for chutzpah. Because for Ted Cruz, of all people, to be complaining about obstructionism and lamenting congressional dysfunction when he has been one of the chief architects of that with a ridiculous all-night filibuster to stop a bill that everybody understood was going to pass.

PBS NewsHour co-anchor Judy Woodruff expressed similar sentiments as she complained that “I do think it's stunning, Congress,  next week they will go home for a five-week summer break. After a year in which they've accomplished almost nothing.” 

Unsurprisingly, another liberal journalist, this time the Washington Post’s Nia-Malika Henderson, not only agreed with the previous comments but used the “do-nothing Congress” as an opportunity to cheerlead for Hillary Clinton’s potential 2016 presidential run:  

And I think it was notable that over the last couple of days, you have Hillary Clinton talking about compromise, talking about the idea of we shouldn't elect folks who essentially say they're going to go to Washington to do nothing. And I think you are having some folks to look at 2014 and the folks who are running, they are sometimes having issues on the stump, sort of justifying their time in Congress not having passed bills. And you wonder in 2016 some of the guys who are going to be running if they're going to have the same issue as well.

Nowhere in the segment did the panelists, or moderator David Gregory himself, consider the “do-nothing” attitude was more a reflection of members of Congress not wanting to implement liberal policies onto the country. Instead, they all seemed content blaming congressional inaction on House Republicans. 

See relevant transcript below. 


NBC

Meet the Press

July 27, 2014

DAVID GREGORY: Let me turn back to Congress and the do-nothing nature of it. And some of the examples from the Veterans Administration to other more mundane things where there's bipartisan agreement that can't result in anything being done. My colleague Kelly O'Donnell talked to one of the Senate's most outspoken voices, Ted Cruz of Texas, Republican, about who's to blame for nothing getting done. Watch this.

SEN. TED CRUZ: There's only one member of the U.S. Senate that has control over the agenda. And that is the majority leader. I can't control the agenda on the Senate floor. The reason we have no votes on tax reform is because Harry Reid won't allow any votes on tax reform. The reason we have no votes on regulatory reform is because Harry Reid won't allow any votes on the regulatory reform. The reason we don't even spend a minute talking about substantive issues to generate economic growth in jobs is because Harry Reid won't allow the votes. At the end of the day, the Senate used to be called the world's most deliberative body. We don't debate anything nowadays.

(END TAPE)

DAVID GREGORY: Ruth Marcus--

RUTH MARCUS: I'm chomping at the bit.

DAVID GREGORY: You say Harry Reid is like Dikembe Mutombo, "No, no, no, no votes."

RUTH MARCUS: There is a legitimate grievance that Republicans have with their ability to get amendments debated on the floor. That said, I do believe that Ted Cruz must be Texan for chutzpah. (LAUGHTER) Because for Ted Cruz, of all people, to be complaining about obstructionism and lamenting congressional dysfunction when he has been one of the chief architects of that with a ridiculous all-night filibuster to stop a bill that everybody understood was going to pass. Complaining now in terms of immigration, that he won't vote for any immediate money if we don't undo some of the president's previous acts for the dreamer. And I'm going to actually lump in your other guest also as long as I'm on my roll here, which is to listen to Paul Ryan saying the Senate has chosen not to legislate, when everybody understands that the Senate's immigration bill, if it were allowed to go to the House floor--

DAVID GREGORY: It was blocked in the House too.

RUTH MARCUS: --would pass. Okay, done.

DAVID GREGORY: One of the things, David, that I see, and I talk to people around the country, is that until the incentives are changed, a desire for some compromise or even meeting challenges that Americans want dealt with, will not get done. Because nobody will give the other side even a small win in this climate.

DAVID BROOKS: I used to think the problem was Washington, I now think the problem is the country. The country is polarized. The people actually in the states have become more polarized. But also, it's a different attitude. Politics is a competition between half truths, usually both sides of a piece of the truth. Take this immigration debate. You have these kids flowing across the border. We've got to do two things at once. Give them humanitarian refuge, some of them, and also readjust this law that induces them to come over. So you've got to do two things. The Republicans want to readjust the law. The Democrats want to give them refuge. Somehow you can't say, "Okay, they're both kind of right. Let's just jam it into a bill." We don't have the mentality that allows each side to say, "You're both kind of right."

JUDY WOODRUFF: I do think it's stunning, Congress,  next week they will go home for a five-week summer break. After a year in which they've accomplished almost nothing. And you talked about it earlier with Paul Ryan, you had not only immigration, the border issue, which everybody realizes is urgent. But the veterans, where you had a bill, it passed the Senate, 93 to three, you had the sponsors were Bernie Sanders, a socialist, and John McCain, they can't get an agreement. So David, I hear you saying it's the country, but something's wrong.

DAVID GREGORY: Yeah, but that's what I mean, if the incentives don't change for members of Congress, and they're still preying on that polarization to stay in office and to stay popular enough by standing on principle.

NIA-MALIKA HENDERSON: That’s right. And I think it was notable that over the last couple of days, you have Hillary Clinton talking about compromise, talking about the idea of we shouldn't elect folks who essentially say they're going to go to Washington to do nothing. And I think you are having some folks to look at 2014 and the folks who are running, they are sometimes having issues on the stump, sort of justifying their time in Congress not having passed bills. And you wonder in 2016 some of the guys who are going to be running if they're going to have the same issue as well.

Jeffrey Meyer
Jeffrey Meyer
Jeffrey Meyer is a News Analyst at the Media Research Center.