WASHINGTON — The Republicans who make up 45 percent of the Senate have adopted a “47 percent” mentality, said Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin on Thursday, resurrecting the specter of Mitt Romney’s much maligned comment during his failed presidential bid.
As the Senate struggles to reach a deal to pass unemployment insurance, the two parties are mired in disagreements over the procedural aspects of bringing the bill to the floor. But as the Senate prepares to jet back home for a week of recess, Democrats are working to paint the disagreement not as one over procedure, but as a result of Republican opposition to extending unemployment insurance for the over one million people in the country who are out of work.
“This 47 percent mentality of Mitt Romney is now the mentality of Senate Republicans,” Durbin said at a Thursday press conference.
That comment, which he acknowledged probably contributed to Romney’s loss in the 2012 presidential election to President Barack Obama, “defined a Republicanism that was unacceptable in America,” Durbin said.
“What do you see on the floor of the Senate today? You see a mentality among Republicans and their leadership that basically says when people are down and out, need a helping hand, we’re not give it to them. ‘Cause they’re lazy. And the only way to get them off the couch and away from the television and off to work is to stop sending unemployment checks,” Durbin said. “What other conclusions can you draw from their opposition to unemployment checks?”
Republicans have attacked Reid for being “unfair” in his proposals for bringing the bill the floor, saying he had arranged the procedures in such a way that even if Republican amendments were brought to the floor, there would be no chance of them passing.