Hoyer Adds Fuel to the Budget Fire

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Steny Hoyer (D-MD), the number two Democrat in the House has put out a fairly suggestive flyer hammering Republicans in both bodies for their sudden and hypocritical aversion to passing controversial legislation via budget reconciliation. It reads in part:

The budget reconciliation process has been used most years since it was first used in 1980, including in recent years when Republicans controlled Congress and considered the following legislation:

  • 2005 – Legislation That Reduced Spending on Medicaid and Raised Premiums on Upper-Income Medicare Beneficiaries
  • 2003 – President Bush’s 2003 Tax Cuts
  • 2001 – President Bush’s Signature $1.35 Trillion Tax Cut
  • 2000 – $292 Billion “Marriage Penalty” Tax Cut (VETOED)
  • 1997 – Balanced Budget Act
  • 1996 – Legislation to Enact Welfare Reform
  • 1995 – “Contract With America” Agenda

And then it names names. Specifically, it calls out such influential Republicans as John Boehner, Judd Gregg, and Charles Grassley, who as recently as three years ago were singing the praises of the reconciliation process as a way to circumvent Democratic filibuster efforts. But now, in an unsurprising twist, they strongly oppose it. Just last week, in a somewhat melodramatic episode, Gregg compared the maneuver to “running over the minority, putting them in cement and throwing them in the Chicago River.”

This all occurs against the backdrop of a brewing controversy over the possibility that Democrats will try to pass several aspects of Obama’s agenda via reconciliation. And whether they genuinely intend to go that route, or are trying to pressure Republicans into crossing the aisle on issues like climate change and health reform, Hoyer’s move is more fuel for the fire.

The whole flyer can be seen here.

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