Republicans Mistake Arrogance and Retribution for Real Leadership

For Immediate Release:

December 12, 2003

Contact:Stacey Farnen
202-225-3130

WASHINGTON – House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer (MD) released the following statement today regarding the decision by the Bush Administration to bar nations that did not support the Iraq invasion from winning reconstruction contracts, and the continuing pattern of Republican retribution against critics:

“The decision by the Bush Administration to deny long-time allies any chance at reconstruction contracts in Iraq is not only vengeful and backward-looking, but it fails to serve our interests in securing international support for reconstruction.  What does it do other than alienate long-time allies and move us back to the divisiveness of the pre-war period?  After a brilliant military campaign to depose Saddam Hussein, the Bush Administration has repeatedly botched the post-war reconstruction effort and this is the latest example.

“The one thing you can say about this decision is that it is a typical Bushism.  It combines the President’s moral certainty about his ends (of course, the President is correct) with his ruthlessness about means (those who oppose Republicans deserve nothing but scorn).  The fact is this President came to office promising to ‘change the tone in Washington.’  But now the Republican Party metes out punishment to anyone – be they Members of Congress or long-times allies – who have the temerity to question or oppose the Bush Administration.

“This year, for the first time, House Republicans exacted retribution against the constituents of lawmakers who voted in good conscience against leadership policies by denying needed funding to those members’ Congressional Districts.  This sent a clear message:  Either you are with us, or the schools, hospitals and elderly in your District will suffer.

“GOP leaders even apply their payback policy to members of their own party.  Retiring Republican Representative Nick Smith of Michigan told the media that he was threatened with retribution against his son who is running to replace him if he didn’t change his vote on the GOP’s flawed Prescription Drug and Medicare Privatization Bill.

“There are no checks and there is no balance in Washington today.  Retribution and payback, which have no place in a democratic government, run rampant.  I hope that voters will seize the opportunity to put an end to this destructive policy next November.”

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