A War Of Words Between Congressional GOP, Democrats
Both accuse the other of inaction
By Jonathan Karl/CNN
WASHINGTON (July 13) -- In the halls of Congress, the gloves are off.
"They are decimating the education budget," Rep. Dick Gephardt (D-Mo.) complains.
Following a meeting with President Bill Clinton, the top Democrats in Congress hit the Republican leadership for what they say has not been done on issues ranging from health care to funding for the International Monetary Fund.
"It is totally irresponsible for this Republican leadership to leave America and the rest of the world in this situation," Gephardt said.
The Democrats are taking a page out of Harry Truman's playbook. His 1948 campaign against a "do-nothing Congress" swept the Democrats into power.
Clinton spokesman Mike McCurry took a slightly more gentle approach when asked about the GOP-led Congress.
"Well, it's done some things, but they've been little things," McCurry said.
For their part, the Republicans seem ready to run against a do-nothing White House.
"He's [Clinton] been out of town an awful lot, particularly this year, on foreign travel and then when he comes in from a foreign country, he seems to hit town and throw a few executive orders and throw a few criticisms at the Congress and he's gone again," said Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott.
From Africa to Chile to Europe to China, the president ha racked up a lot of frequent flyer miles this year. But Congress, especially the House, has logged a lot vacation time, too, making this one of the shortest congressional sessions in the last three decades.
The carping from both sides can be expected to increase as the midterm elections approach. But it's not clear that anybody is listening. With the economy on a roll, polls show Congress and the White House have popularity near their highs.