Hoyer Blasts Republicans on Taxes, Debt Ceiling: ‘We Need More Revenue’

Ryan Kierman | August 1, 2013 | 2:57pm EDT
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Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-Md.)

(CNSNews.com) – House Democrat Minority Whip Steny Hoyer openly criticized House Republicans’ resistance to raising the debt ceiling during his weekly Capitol Hill press briefing, bluntly stating that the federal government “need[s] more revenue.”

“If we don’t have additional revenues to invest and grow in jobs, I don’t think that’s the kind of policy that the president’s for or I’m for,” Hoyer said, as he argued for once again raising the debt ceiling , which would allow Congress to continue to borrow and spend more money.

“This (113th) has been the least productive Congress in which I have served, exceeding the last Congress. The past seven months have been wasted,” Hoyer complained, citing recently-introduced legislation that would mark House Republicans’ 40th attempt to repeal Obamacare, “which is not going to happen and they know it’s not going to happen.”

Hoyer also made light of the results of the 2010 mid-term congressional election, in which Republican candidates around the country rode into Washington on a wave of popular discontent with the Democratic agenda. The GOP won six Senate seats and 63 seats in the House in that election, the largest turnover since 1948. Republicans also gained a record 680 seats in state legislative races.

But Hoyer, who lost his own position as House Majority Leader in the 2010 power shakeup, dismissed the electoral results as a voter “tantrum.”

“The country had a civic tantrum,” Hoyer stated. “It was mad as hell and wouldn’t take it. And it reflected that and elected this Congress, which in the House has continued its leadership, and I would say has continued in some degree the tantrum, and stamping its feet, yelling and screaming, but not getting anything done. Tantrums aren’t very productive.”

Hoyer made it clear what he considers “productive” congressional action: “My own view is we need more revenue.”

Without expressly calling for tax increases himself, he called on Republicans to cooperate with Democrats who are seeking an increase in both the debt limit and taxes, harshly criticizing the House Republican leadership for what he called their "unwillingness" to find a satisfactory "bipartisan" agreement:

“Speaker Boehner has indicated that he’s just not too well interested in talking to the president. Well, I’m not too sure who I’d want to talk to on the Republican side right now… Very frankly, I will tell you, there are a number of Republicans who I have talked to that are as concerned and frustrated as I am.  Some of them are threatened with Tea Party opponents by the Club for Growth. That’s the context in which they’re dealing with [this].

“My view is that part of the problem isn’t that there aren’t some Republicans willing to talk, but … I think you’ve got a lot of Republicans looking over their shoulder at their Tea Party challengers who have an unwillingness to be perceived even as having a willingness to talk.”

But Club for Growth spokesman Barney Keller had a different take on the current congressional logjam:

“Only in Washington does compromise seem to always mean growing the size of government, adding trillions to our debt, and harming our fragile economy even further with anti-growth tax hikes,” Keller told CNSNews.com.

“When Steny Hoyer’s ready to abandon the far left and work towards limiting government and growing the economy, I think many Republicans would be happy to chat with him.”

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