As the midterm elections approach, President Obama has taken to criticizing Congress, particularly the Republican-controlled House of Representatives, for failing to act on issues like immigration and student loan debt, urging them to "stop just hatin' all the time" and get to work.
On Saturday, though, one member of the House Republican caucus lobbed the charge right back at the president and his "do-nothing" Democratic allies in the Senate.
"President Obama enjoys complaining about Congress, but the fact is, his own party controls the Senate, and they need to get to work," said Rep. Doug Collins, R-Ga., in the weekly GOP address. "Of the bills that have been signed into law, more than 75 percent of them have originated in the House. What's more, right now, Senate Democrats have failed to take action on more than 340 bills passed by the House -- many of them have bipartisan support, including most of the 43 jobs bills that are stuck in this do-nothing Senate."
Collins applauded congressional action to reform the Veterans Affairs medical system and overhaul federal job training programs, but he said other proposals on energy, education and jobs are "collecting dust" in the Senate.
"Even when it comes to a crisis like the one on our southern border, House Republicans passed a commonsense solution, and Senate Democrats left town without doing the hard work to pass their own," Collins said, referring to the recent surge of unaccompanied immigrants, many of them children, crossing the U.S.-Mexico border. "That's just irresponsible - there's no other word for it."
The House-passed bill would have allocated $694 million to the cash-strapped agencies dealing with the border crisis and expedited deportation proceedings for people found crossing the border. Senate Democrats refused to take it up, though, and the president issued a veto threat, saying it would put "arbitrary and unrealistic demands on an already broken system."
Last Thursday, White House press secretary Josh Earnest said some departments and agencies have already begun diverting resources meant for other priorities to address the crisis at the border.
"These are the kinds of actions that have to be considered by the executive branch when the legislative branch utterly fails to fulfill their basic responsibility," he said.
In his own weekly address Saturday, the president touted his proposals to reduce the cost of higher education, saying paying for college is a "constant struggle" for too many families across the country.
"As president, I'm working to make sure young people ... can go to college without racking up mountains of debt," he said. "We reformed a student loan system so that more money goes to students instead of big banks. We expanded grants and college tax credits for students and families. We took action to offer millions of students a chance to cap their student loan payments at 10 percent of their income."
Mr. Obama urged Congress to pass a bill that would "let students refinance their loans at today's lower interest rates, just like their parents can refinance their mortgage."
He also urged colleges and universities to do their part to rein in costs and increase accessibility, citing a proposal to create a new "college scorecard" that would allow parents and students to comparison-shop different schools to find the best value.