Hoyer Calls for Compromise on Taxes, Budget

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Hoyer Calls for Compromise on Taxes, Budget

Washington, DC - 8/3/2012

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By Andy Marquis

Congressman Steny Hoyer (D: MD-5th) speaks to a crowd of Obama supporters at a rally in Prince Frederick, MD earlier this year.
Congressman Steny Hoyer (D: MD-5th) speaks to a crowd of Obama supporters at a rally in Prince Frederick, MD earlier this year.
Congressman Steny Hoyer (D: MD-5th) criticized House Republicans for not agreeing to extend tax cuts for 98 percent of Americans during a teleconference with the media on Thursday. Hoyer also is worried about what would happen if sequestration went in to effect.
“Yesterday, we failed in the House as we have in the past, to embrace a bipartisan agreement because of the desire to have it all one way or not do an agreement,” Hoyer said. “What I mean, as you’ve heard me say, everybody in the House and Senate agree taxes should not be raised on those making up to $200,000.
“Because we had an agreement, the Senate passed that bill, but because we did not agree on continuing ‘Bush Tax Cuts’ for those over those numbers, the House proceeded to pass their bill which they knew would not be passed (by the Senate) and the president would veto. In addition, they made sure it was going to fail because, when we adopt later today, the Republican process to pursue tax reform. This process is not one supported by us, the Senate or the President.”
Hoyer criticized the tax cuts that the Republican controlled House of Representatives passed on Wednesday, saying they would actually increase taxes on 25 million lower-income Americans while cutting taxes for the wealthiest.
“It’s unfortunate the TEA Party Republicans pursue confrontation over consensus and agreement,” he said. “We have been consistent, in the House of Reps, in choosing partisan opportunities over bipartisan success so we’ll leave here today without having done our work for the American people.”
Hoyer spoke about the sequestration cuts that will go in to effect on January 2nd, saying he hoped a compromise could be made before or during the lame-duck session.
“My view has been that we need to adopt a Bowles-Simpson plan to address our deficit as well as investment in jobs, growing economy,” Hoyer said. “We’ve got to do so in a balanced way. If we’re going to be responsible, we need to show the courage to address these issues in the lame duck. I don’t think it will be done before the election. Sequestration goes in to effect Jan 2nd. It was constructed because of Republican pressure to adopt huge cuts in spending. I am hopeful we will substitute a Bowles-Simpson type plan.”
The Hill, a Congressional newspaper, reported on Thursday that Congressman Steve LaTourette (R: OH-14th) will unveil a plan after the November 6th election that is described as a plan similar to the Simpson-Bowles plan and would include changes to Medicare along with other cuts. LaTourette, who is working with other Republicans and Democrats on the plan, is not seeking re-election. In response to a question from TheBAYNET regarding the report, Hoyer said he is open to cutting entitlement spending.
“I’ve talked to Steve (LaTourette) as recently as today which include possible alternatives,” Hoyer said. “There have been a number. The answer to your question is, I have said all along, entitlements need to be on the table. We need to make sure entitlements are fiscally sound for decades to come and sustainable.”
Hoyer also took a swipe at the budget plan that has been proposed by Congressman Paul Ryan (R: WI-1st) on multiple occasions, which Democrats claim eliminates Social Security and Medicare. Ryan, in fact, wants to privatize the programs but claims that privatizing them would strengthen them in the long run.
“They need to be on the table in a way to guarantee that what people have invested will be there for them,” Hoyer said.  “We need to deal with income and obligations and put those in to balance.    I think Democrats are prepared to deal with those. We are focused, unlike the Ryan budget which turns it in to a voucher program. We need to make sure the most vulnerable are not hurt by any agreement we reach.”
Hoyer also spoke about the ‘Off The Cliff’ scenario that has floated around Washington. Some political pundits, which include longtime Washington insider and current MSNBC program host Lawrence O’Donnell, believe that going off the budget cliff and allowing the Clinton tax rates to go back in to effect would free Republicans to vote for a plan that restores the ‘Bush Tax Cuts’ for 98 percent of Americans.
“If the tax cuts expired, the Norquist pledge would not apply because you would be reducing taxes because it would be the Clinton rates that have been enforced,” Hoyer said, referring to a pledge many Republicans take to Americans for Tax Reform founder and president Grover Norquist to oppose any increase in tax rates.
“My own view is that I hope we can act before that happens. If we don’t act at all, it would have an adverse impact on the economy. A tax increase on working Americans would not be helpful to the economy. (Sequestration) would be harmful to defense and discretionary spending.”
“The message is, we have once again rejected compromise in favor of political positioning,” Hoyer said when concluding the teleconference.

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