Outgoing-House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said Democrats are prepared to work closely with the incoming GOP majority on efforts to bolster job creation and rein in deficit spending.
But the Maryland Democrat also warned that his caucus is prepared to fight any proposals that threaten those goals.
“We will work with them when we are accomplishing the job-creation objectives and the deficit-reduction objectives,” Hoyer told reporters in the Capitol. “However, they will find us a loyal, but focused and tenacious opposition when we are doing things that we think undermines our economy and explodes the deficit.”
Republicans picked up more than 60 House seats in November's midterm elections, largely running on campaign promises of reining in deficit spending, which has skyrocketed above $1 trillion annually as the government reacted to the recent recession.
Democratic leaders are already blasting the Republicans’ proposed rules package — set for a vote as early as Wednesday — as evidence that GOP leaders are already backtracking on those vows. The proposed rules would require lawmakers to pay for federal spending increases, but not tax cuts, healthcare repeal, or several other big-dollar items.
Hoyer said the rules package “will explode deficits.”
“It is ironic that a group that says it wants to be a new Republican Party appears to be the same old Republican Party that said you could buy things without paying for them,” Hoyer said. “You don't have to be more than a third grader to get that math: If you buy stuff and don't pay for stuff, you owe more.”
Even some Republicans have grown critical of the proposed rules. Reps. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), Tom Graves (Ga.) and Scott Garrett (N.J.) offered an amendment to the package on Tuesday. They say their proposal would make spending cuts in the next Congress “more bullet proof.”
“House Republicans, in particular members of the newly-elected Freshman class, need Americans to know that when we vote to cut spending, spending really will be cut with no Washington-style gimmicks,” Jordan said in a statement.