Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) accused some lawmakers of stalling pushes made during President Barack Obama's presidency "because he's the wrong color."
Rockefeller made the comments during a Senate Finance Committee hearing on transportation funding on Tuesday.
“It’s an American characteristic that you don’t do anything which displeases the voters, because you always have to get reelected here,” Rockefeller said. “I understand part of it. It has to do with -- for some, it’s just we don’t want anything good to happen under this president, because he’s the wrong color."
Politico reports on the comment:
Rockefeller’s tirade was sparked by the long-running dilemma over funding the trust fund that covers most of America’s federal transportation spending. Many lawmakers have ruled out a hike to its primary funding mechanism: the tax on gasoline.
That tax has not been raised since the 1990s and its buying power for infrastructure investments has eroded significantly, but raising it is considered a political nonstarter in Congress and for the administration.
The five-term senator said ideological barriers and lawmakers’ own narrow self-interests were preventing them making tough political decisions.
“For some it’s the tea party. For some it’s just a fear of their own reelection prospects,” said Rockefeller.
Rockefeller isn't the only one to cite Obama's race as a reason work's not getting done. In an interview with Fusion published Tuesday, former Gov. Charlie Crist (D), a former Republican, said a "big reason" why he left the GOP was because the party was "so unfriendly toward the African-American president."
"I couldn't be consistent with myself, and my core beliefs, and stay with a party that was so unfriendly toward the African-American president. I'll just go there," Crist said.