Armey Calls on Senate Majority Leader to 'Free the Daschle 50'

By Jeff Johnson | July 7, 2008 | 8:28 PM EDT

Capitol Hill ( - The overwhelming focus by Congress on the collapse of energy giant Enron Thursday did not keep members from getting in their shots, as it were, on other issues.

House Majority Leader Dick Armey (R-Texas) issued a press release entitled "Free the Daschle Fifty," in which he called on Democratic Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle (D-S.D.) to schedule votes on 50 bills that have passed the House, but have yet to be considered in the Senate.

"The American people want action," said Armey. "They don't want political posturing. The Democratic-led Senate has a responsibility to vote on legislation. In fact, it's their job."

The list includes bills addressing anti-terrorism efforts, economic stimulus, national energy policy, and election reform among other topics.

In a speech to the Center for National Policy January 4, Daschle seemed to blame the White House and Congressional Republicans for his choice not to allow a vote on either version of the House-passed economic stimulus package.

"I hope President Bush and our Republican colleagues will work with us in the spirit of compromise to pass an economic stimulus plan early this year, and put America back to work," Daschle said.

A member of Daschle's Senate leadership staff, who did not identify himself, also seemed to imply Thursday that the lack of action in the Democrat-controlled Senate was the fault of Republicans. He did agree, however, that the press release was "creative."

"Our hope would be," he said, "that those creative energies would be used to help us break some of the impasses on things like economic stimulus."

Charles Jarvis, chairman and CEO of the United Seniors Association, is incredulous at the attempts to blame Republicans.

"Senator Daschle is absolutely the only roadblock to passing bi-partisan economic recovery legislation," he said in a written statement. "How can he in good conscience blame anyone but himself for the inaction?"

Jarvis pointed to the House of Representatives passage, not once but twice, of an economic stimulus bill. That bill is one of the 50 Daschle has refused to schedule for a vote.

"Americans around the country are absolutely disgusted with the partisan politics being played by Senator Daschle," Jarvis said, adding that people "want positive legislative action from the U.S. Senate now, not more political rhetoric and higher taxes."

As of Thursday evening, none of the 50 House-passed bills on Armey's list had been placed on the Senate calendar.

See Also:
Daschle Warns Bush Agenda Will 'Enron' American People (Jan. 25, 2002)

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