Harkin interrupted to slap Alexander for going over the three-minute time limit with a “speech” followed by a question, then said that the “secretary can answer as he sees fit. He does not have to answer —”
Alexander: “Is a senator is not entitled to an answer to a question?”
Harkin said that Perez can “answer as he wants to answer, not as you direct him to answer. You can’t force him to say one thing or another. If he wants to answer that question, then he can answer that question.”
Alexander: “So a senator is not entitled to a yes-or-no answer to a specific question?”
Harkin: “The senator is entitled to ask a question, and the secretary can give the answer as he sees fit.”
Alexander: “That’s not much congressional oversight in my book.”
Harkin: “Well, it’s being respectful of people who want to respond in the way that they feel is best suited to answering the question.”
Alexander: “Well then we might as well not ask questions if we can’t get answers.”
At that point, Perez offered to answer “if you would give me an opportunity to do so.” Said Alexander, “I’ll be glad to as long as it ends up with a yes or no.”
The flash between Harkin and Alexander is just the latest example of the civil chaos in the Senate, where Democrats have moved to derail GOP opposition to President Obama’s agenda, including raising the minimum wage.
But the GOP will let them get away with this, and all the other Democrat efforts along the same lines, while more or less promising that they would never be so crass as to return the favor if they should take control of the Senate.
In other words, they’ll give the Dems a free pass, but not their own party. Which is a major reason why I have very little confidence in the Gutless Old Pussies faction of the Ruling Party.