Whip Hoyer Discusses GOP Refusal to Compromise on Spending Deal on NBC's Today Show

See video
Transcript: 

steny Hoyer of maryland is the house minority whip. congressman, good morning.

deal or no deal?

how is it going down?

no deal yet unfortunately. we have a history, a pattern of the republicans taking control and shutting down the government as they did in 1995. it hasn't happened since then, even when we had disagreements wen george bush and the democratic congress. it's not an alternative we ought to be taking. i think we're very close. we have come 70% of the way in terms of dollars. that's a long way to go in terms of trying to reach compromise. now as the president and harry reid pointed out, there are social issues which the republicans are holding hostage the government.

my understanding is the real focus is on issues like limiting funding for planned parenthood. how is that resolved? and does it derail compromise?

the president has indicated, as george bush did, his predecessor, that he would not sign bills contrary to the policies he believed the american public elected him to carry out. he was elected overwhelmingly as president of the united states. the republicans have taken the house of representatives, one-third of the government. when we were in the house we compromised. we understood the president could veto and i would hope the republicans would make that same understanding. after all, this debate began about bringing down deficits, bringing down numbers and cutting spending. we have come 70% of the way. i think that the agreement on numbers is close. we ought to make those agreements on numbers. as governor daniels said, we ought to fight the social issues on another bill.

you know it takes two sides to shut down a government. aren't you embarrassed by this?

i am embarrassed by this. i'm not sure it takes two sides. it takes one side prepared to demand 100% and if the other side doesn't lay down and totally give up then they will shut down the government. they know we don't want to shut down the government so they think they can hold hostage things we don't agree with but that we will cave in order to keep the government running which we want to do.

look at the wall street journal poll in terms of who gets the blame. republicans, certainly more than democrats. as a democratic leader i wonder whether part of the strategy is to cast republicans as extremists and ultimately get a lot more of a winning political hand for the democrats through this process.

i think the republicans are doing that to themselves frankly. i don't think we have to cast them in that light. they are casting themselves in that light with the tea party coming to town and demanding they either get 100% or shut down the government. last night the founder of the tea party, one of the tea parties, said if boehner came out with $99 billion that would not be enough. $100le billion is what they wanted and nothing less. you can't negotiate on the basis that one side gets 100% and the other side gets zero.

just seconds left. should you get paid if there is a government shutdown?

i think we ought not to get paid. of course the constitution says you can't have your salary diminished so people can't threaten one another for votes on that basis. the fact is we should not -- we should keep government doing not just for the federal employees but for the millions of businesses people's families that will be adversely affected and the hit the economy will take by shutting down government. this is not a good strategy. taking us to the brink is not appropriate, particularly when we have agreed, the president agreed come 70% of the way toward what the republican position was on cutting spending.

we'll be watching. thank you very much.

thank you, david.