Hoyer, Dems blast GOP budget bill, budget discipline

For Immediate Release:

February 17, 2011

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Pete Kasperowicz
The Hill

House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) on Wednesday morning reiterated Democratic arguments against the Republican spending bill for fiscal 2011, and said House Republican rules will ensure nearly $5 trillion in new debt despite the party's claims that it is cutting spending.

"I suggest to you that the rules adopted in this House not only did not affect discipline, they ignored and threw out the door discipline, and said that they could borrow $4.7 trillion and not pay for it," Hoyer said. He added that at least $1 trillion in new debt has been rung up under recent Republican presidents, while a surplus was achieved under President Clinton.

At the same time, Hoyer charged that the cuts Republicans are proposing for the rest of the fiscal year would hurt job creation, reduce scientific progress by cutting the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation and prevent the U.S. from upgrading its air traffic control system.

"Even as they fail to change our long-term fiscal picture for the better, these cuts recklessly damage programs essential to America's competitive edge," Hoyer said.

Other Democrats joined Hoyer's criticism and argued, as others have, that the budget should reflect U.S. values, and that it goes too far.

Rep. Jim McDermott (D-Wash.) Wednesday morning argued that Republicans are "anti-choice and anti-women" based partly on language in the bill that would re-impose the "global gag rule" preventing the direction of U.S. funds to doctors that discuss the option of abortion.

"The Republican leadership has laser focus not on jobs or the economy or the national security, but on attacking women and children in this bill, waging a culture war to get campaign contributions from the extremists in this country," McDermott said. "Republicans love to silence Americans and anyone else that gets on their moral crusade. Only a real Republican could love a law that says it has a gag rule."

Rep. Laura Richardson (D-Calif.) took to the floor to argue against cuts in funding for police and community development block grants. On Tuesday, an amendment from Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas) that would restore funding for police was subject to a Republican point of order and thus cannot be considered.

Also subject to a point of order was an amendment from Rep. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.) that would have moved $1 billion in Defense spending to community health centers.