Hoyer on Health Bill: No Tax Hike, No Deficit Spending, Fully Paid For Or ‘I'm Not Going to Vote For It'

By Nicholas Ballasy and Edwin Mora | September 2, 2009 | 4:34 PM EDT

Waldorf, Md., (CNSNews.com) – House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D.-Md.) told a town hall meeting on Tuesday night that the health care reform legislation under consideration in Congress will not increase taxes or deficit spending, and must be paid for or he won't vote for it.

A participant at the town hall meeting that was held in Waldorf, Md., asked Hoyer if he believed the health care bill would cause a "tax increase or an increase to the deficit?"

"Neither," Hoyer replied.

"The fact of the matter is, though," he added, a moment later, "that on this bill, we have said, a) it will be paid for. It will be paid for. And if it’s not paid for, I’m not going to vote for it.”

When asked again about the issue, Hoyer said: “What I said is, it would be paid for. In part it would be paid for, as I indicated, in ringing out and making more efficient, Medicare. We’ll get some dollars from that. That will be a savings from that, that will be applied to the cost of this [health care reform] bill.”

He continued: “Then there will have to be other revenue sources that we’re talking about so that we pay for it. It’s not for free. You’re absolutely right.” 

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO), in a July 17 assessment, estimated that the House Ways and Means Committee’s health care legislation would increase the deficit by $239 billion over 10 years even if taxes were raised by $583 billion. 

Anyone at the town hall meeting who wanted to ask Hoyer a question was given a raffle ticket with a number. During the question-and-answer session, the moderator randomly chose five tickets out of a box at a time. The chosen ticket holders were then able to ask their questions.

Health-care legislation has been passed through three House committees. Hoyer mentioned that House staffers had been working through the August recess to reconcile the three bills.