Amid the gridlock and election-year partisan politics, Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., declared today that he’s too frustrated to even come to work anymore.
“On Monday mornings when I get up, I get up about 4:30 to catch a flight to come back up here. And I’ve noticed that I have an attitude problem, I don’t want to come anymore,” Coburn said today from the Senate floor. “And the reason I don’t want come anymore is because we’re not doing anything to address the real problems that are in front of our country.”
The Senate, he says, is like a person “with their head in the sand,” making the “immediate political situation trump everything.”
“We’re ignoring the real problems so we can create political contrasts, for an election all the while the country is sinking, sinking and sinking.”
It’s “cowardice,” he declared.
“There needs to be a renewed sense of awareness of what the real problems are facing this country. And a redoubling of our commitment to shed partisan robes and get down to fixing the real problems in front of us. And parochialism has no place in that discussion. The political careers of members have no place in that discussion. The real future of our country is at risk.”
It was a poignant moment which aides say the Senator delivered in an unscripted addition to his prepared remarks, expressing frustration with how things on Capitol Hill work during an election year.
The Senate, in their first session of the week, is debating the Veterans Jobs Corps Act which calls for a $1 billion investment to help veterans find work as police officers, firefighters and other jobs serving in their communities. Coburn, the Senate’s leading budget hawk, said the bill has a “noble desire” but is an example, he thinks, of the “absolute laziness” of Congress in an election year.
“When we find ourselves $16 trillion in debt and we’re going to pay for another bill over five years by ten years of changes, we never get out of the problem,” Coburn exclaimed on the Senate floor, “we’re making the financial problems worse with this bill. I’m befuddled and disappointed that we cannot as a group of individuals who all love this country very much come together under some certain baseline principles we ought to be operating in the Senate.”