Hoyer Makes Case for Scaled-Back Budget

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said Tuesday that Democrats would pursue a slimmed-down budget resolution before the July Fourth recess.

The Maryland Democrat, speaking on fiscal responsibility to the centrist group Third Way, said the Democrats’ budget blueprint would set spending levels below those asked for by President Barack Obama; he said the resolution would be for just one year in anticipation of a long-term, deficit-cutting deal from the president’s bipartisan fiscal commission after the November elections.

The budget resolution will enforce spending levels but will allow Democrats to avoid dodgy votes for long-term deficits that a full-blown budget blueprint requires. It would also include a clause supporting a House vote on the fiscal commission’s proposal.

“This budget enforcement resolution will enforce fiscal discipline in the near term while the fiscal commission works on a long-term plan to get our country back to fiscal health,” Hoyer said.

Republicans have ripped Democrats mercilessly for not advancing a budget this year, arguing that the House has passed a full-blown budget resolution every year since the 1970s.

Hoyer, meanwhile, made another impassioned plea for a “spending-and-revenue compromise” as the only way to deal with the long-term deficit, while also arguing strongly against cutting off the stimulus spigot too soon.

He also took a whack at House Minority Whip Eric Cantor’s YouCut program, which solicited suggestions from the public for spending cuts. Hoyer called the Virginia Republican’s program a “partisan gimmick” and “emblematic of the way most Republicans have behaved in the minority: sound bites, not sound policy.”

Hoyer said that one Republican, Budget ranking member Paul Ryan (Wis.), has put out a comprehensive plan to pay down the debt by cutting spending on Medicare and other programs without raising taxes. But Republicans have run away from it, Hoyer argued, suggesting that a plan that only cuts spending will not succeed.

“What have we heard from his own party? Crickets. For two years,” Hoyer said.

He also noted that there has been significant resistance to passing items such as state aid to prevent teacher layoffs, and he said many Members want to see a commitment to dealing with the debt first.

“An excellent way to build support for the job creation we still need is making credible and detailed plans to tackle the long-term debt,” he said.

But Hoyer warned against too much concern about the deficit in the short term.

“Overreacting to short-term deficits, while we’re still feeling the effects of recession, will send our economy back into a tailspin, put even more Americans out of work, and increase the very deficits we are trying to reduce,” Hoyer said.

Hoyer said President Franklin D. Roosevelt made that mistake in 1937.

“It’s a mistake we must not repeat.”