Democratic Whip Says House Republicans Are “Constitutionally Incapable” of Bipartisan Consensus on Key Issue

For Immediate Release:

October 27, 2004

Contact:Anna Bell Farrar

WASHINGTON, DC – House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer (MD) released the following statement today regarding the continuing impasse on an intelligence reform bill and the failure of this Republican Congress to enact legislation on other major issues:

“Just days before millions of Americans go to the polls on Election Day, House Republicans are providing voters with a perfect example of why their leadership has failed the American people and why they should be replaced by a Democratic House Majority that is willing and capable of achieving consensus and responding to our nation’s most-pressing needs.

“House Republican leaders are continuing to hold up major intelligence reform that is supported by all 10 members of the bipartisan 9/11 Commission, a bipartisan Senate and the families of 9/11 victims.  President Bush has even called Speaker Dennis Hastert and Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, and urged them to resolve the remaining differences.

“But still, House Republicans cling to the notion that they alone know best.  They are fighting to maintain Pentagon budget authority over intelligence-collecting agencies and trying to insert controversial measures on immigration – provisions that are opposed by virtually every other major player in this debate.  And in so doing, they are threatening to undermine the momentum for intelligence reform in this Congress.

“The truth is, this House Republican leadership seems constitutionally incapable of putting aside partisanship and at least trying to reach consensus on key issues.  They have repeatedly tried to silence anyone who opposes them; that have held votes open until they achieve the desired result; and they have even locked Democrats out of meetings.

“Partisanship – first and always – is the exclusive tactic of House Republicans.  And it explains why this 108th Congress has been an abject failure, and why America needs a House Democratic Majority.

“In 2004, this Republican Congress failed to enact a budget – the first time in 30 years that this has happened when the same party controls the House, Senate and White House.  They failed to enact an energy plan, a job-creating transportation bill, welfare reform legislation, a higher education bill, and 9 of the 13 annual bills that fund government agencies and programs.

“Instead, House Republicans presided over – and participated in – the worst fiscal turnaround in our nation’s history, including a record budget deficit of $413 billion in Fiscal 2004.  And, rather than tackle this and other vital issues, they purposely put legislation on the House Floor that was intended to fan the flames of division and negativism.

“This is not the kind of leadership the American people expect or deserve.  Nor is it the kind of leadership that Democrats will deliver, if voters entrust us with the House Majority next Tuesday.”