Freshman Congressmen: ‘Reid and Senate Holding Americans Hostage’ by Failing to Pass Budget

By Penny Starr | October 4, 2011 | 5:31 PM EDT

Rep. Bobby Schilling (R-Ill.) said at the Oct. 4, 2011 press conference in Washington, D.C., that the Senate failing to pass a federal budget is like holding Americans hostage. ( Starr)

( – Thirty seven House freshmen held a press conference on Tuesday to mark the 888th day since the U.S. Senate has taken any action on passing a federal budget.

"Harry Reid and the Senate have held the American people hostage for 888 days,” Rep. Bobby Schilling (R-Ill.) said at the press conference at the U.S. Capitol.

With three toy-fortune-telling eight balls as a prop on the podium, many of the 37 freshmen said they were at the press conference to urge Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) to act to put a federal budget in place – a move the group said would end the uncertainty in the U.S. marketplace.

The group also announced the launch of “Operation Turnaround,” which seeks Senate action on 11 “pro-growth” pieces of legislation that were passed by the House but have languished in the Senate. A resolution disapproving of the Federal Communications Commission’s net neutrality regulations also was cited.

Many of those tabled bills deal with reducing federal regulations and taxes and three specifically address offshore domestic energy resources and job creation in the Gulf of Mexico. (See complete list of bills below.)

“Not only has the Senate neglected to act on any of these bills, it has neglected to pass a budget for 888 days,” Rep. Austin Scott (R-Ga.) said at the press conference. “I believe, as do many of my colleagues who join me today, that if Washington can just get a couple of things right that we as Americans can and will lead the world out of this recession.”

“These bills are a good start,” Scott said.

“I’m a small business owner and the only thing we’re hearing from the other side is we need more taxes and more regulations,” Schilling said. “Well, I’m here to tell you that that’s not going to help turn this economy around.”

A reporter asked the House members whether the threat of a government shutdown could be averted, given a politically divided House and Senate.

Rep. Renee Ellmers (R-N.C.) said at an Oct. 4, 2011 press conference that the U.S. government would not be in danger of shutting down if a federal budget was in place. ( Starr)

“We wouldn’t be voting on a (Continuing Resolution) if we had a budget that we were working under,” Rep. Renee Ellmers (R-N.C.) responded. “That’s the whole point."

“And the American people are tired of it,” Ellmers said. “They see us with these stop-gap actions to keep the federal government operating because there is no budget.” (The $1.04 trillion continuing resolution to keep the government funded through Nov. 18 passed in the House on Tuesday afternoon.)

The following 11 bills have been passed by the House and sent to the Senate:

• HR 2560 – The Cut, Cap and Balance Act

• HR 872 – Reducing Regulatory Burdens Act

• HR 910 – The Energy Tax Prevention Act

• HR 2018 – The Clean Water Cooperative Federalism Act

• HR 1315 – Consumer Financial Protection and Soundness Improvement Act

• HR 2587 – Protecting Jobs from Government Interference Act

• HR 1230 – Restarting American Offshore Leasing Now Act

• HR 1229 – Putting the Gulf of Mexico Back to Work Act

• HR 1231 – Reversing President Obama’s Offshore Moratorium Act

• HR 2021 – The Jobs and Energy Permitting Act of 2011

• HR 1938 – North American-Made Energy Security Act