On the Clock: Democrats Close the 'First 100 Hours'

'Creative Clock-Keeping?'

And the cooling saucer of the Senate could prove downright chilly to other measures, at least in their pure House forms. The minimum wage increase, for example, will likely pass the Senate only with a provision of tax breaks for small businesses, which Hoyer denounced today. In addition, the more narrow Democratic majority in the Senate, along with that body's particular set of rules, requires that the bills go through debate in specific committees.

Nor does the bipartisan voting indicate GOP happiness. Republicans have accused Democrats of what Rep. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., referred to in a speech as "creative clock-keeping." As of this morning, nine days after the 100 hours began, only 34 official hours have passed on Pelosi's clock. And though Democrats were gaveled into control on Jan. 4, it wasn't until five days later that the clock started, after other matters involving ethics and lobbying reform had been voted upon.

Republicans have also objected to the Democrats' refusal to allow the minority party the ability to offer competing bills.

"It's a very poor policy avenue to pursue to say, 'We will only listen to you after we have done what we want to do,'" said Rep. Adam Putnam, R-Fla., chairman of the House GOP caucus. "Their agenda is not like a gallon of milk. It won't expire in 100 hours."

In an interview with ABC News, Majority Leader Hoyer took issue with the Republicans' complaints, saying Democrats had outlined their six agenda items before the 2006 election.

"Very rarely are the six items that we're going to move discussed as openly and as extensively as these items have been discussed," he said. "We think that they offered their alternatives in the election. Their alternatives in many respects were 'no.'"

Z. Byron Wolf and Dean Norland contributed to this report.

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