Hoyer Continues His Criticism Of GOP Majority's Stewardship

House Minority Whip Hoyer criticized GOP leaders Tuesday for
what he called an "abuse of power" for holding floor votes open
until the majority position prevails. Hoyer cited five votes
during the 108th Congress, including the nearly three-hour
Medicare prescription drug bill vote and a recent defeat of an
amendment that would have repealed a provision of the USA
PATRIOT Act, as egregious examples.

   Hoyer did not deny that Democrats used similar practices,
including extended votes and closed rules, while in the
majority.

   The distinction, Hoyer argued, is that Republicans decried
such procedural maneuvering as "corrupt" when they were in the
minority, but have now taken such practices to the extreme to
subvert the will of the House and to override the majority
position on major policy issues.

   "Some [reporters] ask me 'Well, you guys did it, you know?'
But we didn't call it a corrupt practice," said Hoyer. "And
frankly, if I thought it was a corrupt practice, I would
criticize my party for doing this. I don't think it's a corrupt
practice. But it is hypocritical [for Republicans] to say it is
corrupt and then do it, or it is exceedingly unethical to do
that," Hoyer said.

   Hoyer backed away from pledging that Democrats would prohibit
holding votes open if they regain the majority in November. "I
understand that I am not going to be in a position where now I
do what I am attacking and be hypocritical -- to get the vote on
a very important budget act that I will say 'Oh, no, we can't do
that," Hoyer said, "No, I am not going to put myself in that
position."

   A spokeswoman for Hoyer later clarified that while Hoyer
opposes holding votes open to force the will of the House, the
12-term member is "a realist and an institutionalist" and did
not want to make a blanket commitment regarding House rules.

   House Minority Leader Pelosi proposed a Minority Bill of
Rights in June. "Floor votes should be completed within 15
minutes, with the customary two-minute extension," it states.
"No vote shall be held open in order to manipulate the outcome."
She pledged to abide by the document if Democrats regain the
House. House Speaker Hastert has not responded to the document.