Updated 1:58 p.m.: Sen. Tom Coburn, a Republican from Oklahoma, slammed Senate Majority Leader and Nevada Democrat Harry Reid for failing to lead the Senate productively.
“Harry Reid’s a good guy, I like him, but I think he’s been a failure,” Coburn said.
Reid tries to “make every bill something that creates a political advantage,” Coburn said on Thursday’s Morning Joe, claiming that by skipping the committee process and preventing certain amendments from being added to bills, Reid is hurting the workings of the Senate. It’s a view conservatives have posited before.
“The Senate is being used for the 2014 election and that’s the primary goal, that’s why it’s a disaster,” Coburn said. “That’s been Harry Reid’s mode of operation for the last seven years.”
Reid emailed a response to Coburn’s remarks to msnbc.com Thursday afternoon, saying he was disappointed in his colleague.
“If he wishes to raise concerns with me I would have hoped he would talk to me directly. He and every other senator knows my door is always open,” Reid said. “Sadly, Sen. Coburn’s lack of discourse is perhaps an example that too many are more interested in media attention than they are in working to find consensus to fix our nation’s problems.”
Coburn lamented on the failure of a pro-gun amendment he tried to move forward in the Senate on Wednesday, which he had attached to a water resources bill. The amendment would have repealed the law that bans weapons in lands managed by the Army Corps of Engineers, like many of the nation’s lakes, parks, campsites and trails. Coburn said he tacked the amendment onto an unrelated bill because Reid had forbidden it from being added to other gun control bills.
Coburn said Reid’s has been “dishonest” and “played games.”
Republicans have “done our own damage in response,” Coburn added. “What we have is people pointing fingers at each other, but what we need is leadership.”