CHARLESTON, W.Va. - As Congress prepares to recess until after the election, members of West Virginia's congressional delegation took stock of the year gone by.
Sen. Joe Manchin said Thursday he would rather stay in Washington to talk about the debt - which is now more than $16 trillion - than go home to campaign.
The junior senator, who expresses perpetual dismay about an intractable Washington, said he didn't even know what to call the 112th Congress.
"They will have to have a new word added in the dictionary for this one," Manchin told reporters during a Thursday conference call.
But the state's senior senator, Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., wasn't so despondent.
"Despite historic levels of opposition, Congress has found a way to pass a number of important bills this year," Rockefeller said Thursday night through a spokesman. "A lot depends on where you sit and what you have responsibility for."
Rockefeller, chairman of the Senate's powerful commerce committee, said he's held 177 hearings, conducted 28 sessions to mark up bills and reported over 100 pieces of legislation to the full Senate.
Still, Rockefeller said he was frustrated by partisan politics and blamed Republicans.
On the House side, Rep. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., held a call with reporters to tout a package of measures friendly to the coal industry.
The measures have already passed the House but not the Senate. So, the House tied the bills together, named the package the "Stop the War on Coal Act" and plans to try to pass them again today.
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., maintains a webpage devoted to tracking "jobs bills stuck in the Senate."
"We've passed things over to the Senate we can't get done," Capito said.
But Capito called herself an optimist.
She said the Congress has worked broadly on "pulling down" the nation's spending.
Capito also cited a comprehensive two-year transportation bill and a bill meant to spur job creation that did pass and become law this year.
"The bigger question is all the things we left undone," she said.