House Democratic leaders have been "sloppy" custodians of Congress and broken several of their key promises to voters, Republicans charged yesterday, prompting the Democratic congressional leadership to offer a list of their key accomplishments in response.
"After six months, you can only talk about reform so much," said Rep. David Dreier, California Republican, during a press conference in which Republican leaders distributed a list of what they called the "100 broken promises" from Democratic lawmakers. "The leadership has been nothing short of sloppy."
As examples of the Democratic leadership's sloppiness, Mr. Dreier's office cited a failure to enact sweeping ethics and earmark reform, the backlog of appropriations bills and the time spent on the Iraq war supplemental-funding bill.
Democratic lawmakers were quick to respond when confronted with the accusations of running an ineffective Congress during the first half of the year.
House Appropriations Committee Chairman David R. Obey, Wisconsin Democrat, said the slow pace of passing this year's various funding bills is largely the fault of Republicans, who did not pass a number of their own spending bills before adjourning last year.
Stacey Bernards, spokeswoman for House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer, Maryland Democrat, said, "Democrats have changed the debate on Iraq, brought unprecedented accountability to earmarks, and restored fiscal accountability to Washington after six years of a Republican culture of corruption and damaging debt."
She added, "The only thing that is sloppy around here are Republicans' predictable attempts to block progress on America's priorities."
Democratic leaders held a press event to showcase what they described as a growing list of legislative accomplishments.
"Democrats have brought a new direction to Congress," said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, California Democrat. "It is a new way of thinking and a new Washington — one in which we defend our country, grow our economy, care for our children and families, protect our planet and restore accountability."
A theme of the Democratic response has been to point out what they call failures of past Republican congressional leadership in comparison to their six months in charge.
"Democrats have made great progress in addressing America's priorities and tackling problems this administration and past Republican Congresses have ignored," Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Nevada Democrat, said during the event. "We have much to be proud of from the first half of the year, and we have even more to do as we enter the second."
Mr. Reid said Democrats would be focused on pressuring President Bush and Republican lawmakers in the weeks after the Fourth of July recess to support a withdrawal of U.S. forces from Iraq.
For their part, Republicans said they are now united on issues, including fiscal discipline, that appeal to conservative voters.
"We're united and returning to the core principles that bring us together as Republicans," said House Minority Leader John A. Boehner of Ohio.
House Republican Conference Chairman Adam Putnam of Florida said, "We are committed to rebuilding our brand of fiscal responsibility."
Asked what issues the Republicans can cooperate on with the president, Mr. Boehner said conservative lawmakers are now playing "offense" on spending debates, which he described as "those core principles that frankly got last in the lost couple of years."
c Sean Lengell contributed to this report.