Hoyer Rejects Idea of Targeted Spending Cuts

By Patrick Burke | February 26, 2013 | 1:26 PM EST

House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.)

(CNSNews.com) - House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) on Tuesday dismissed all proposals to make targeted spending cuts rather than the deep across-the-board -budget cuts -- known as sequestration -- that are expected to go into effect on Mar. 1.

“I think the White House believes and I believe and most economists believe that cuts of this magnitude, whoever does them and however you do them are going to harm the economy and undermine job creation and slow growth,” Hoyer said Tuesday during his weekly “pen-and-pad” media briefing on Capitol Hill, when asked whether he supported targeted spending cuts.

Hoyer instead said he supports a plan proposed by Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) which would repeal subsidies to oil companies and farmers, as well as impose a 30 percent tax rate on income above $2 million.

The combination of subsidy cuts and tax increases is designed to replace the across-the-board cuts, popularly known as “The Sequester.”

“I think Chris Van Hollen and the Senate proposal, which are very similar, do in fact accomplish the objective of reducing deficits by, frankly, reducing spending,” Hoyer said.

“In Van Hollen’s case as you know both the tax expenditures of big oil companies, the big five,” he told reporters. “In addition he said on the revenue side, millionaires ought to pay under the Buffet Rule as much as working Americans pay in terms of symmetry income on their taxes. So that’s a balanced plan that we think works.”

Rep. Reid Ribble (R-Wis.) introduced legislation on Monday that would allow the administration to shift spending cuts around within government agencies. This would allow President Obama and members of his Cabinet to decide what needs to be cut and what shouldn’t be cut in the budgets of each agency.

Unless Congress acts to forestall it, the Sequester will occur on Mar. 1, at which time $85 billion in spending cuts will affect every government agency during FY 2013.

On Tuesday, House Speaker John Boehner (R-Oh.) said the Senate should get “off their ass” and do something to try and avoid the Sequester.

“We have moved a bill in the House twice,” Boehner said. “We should not have to move a third bill before the Senate gets off their ass and begins to do something.”