Leader Hoyer on MSNBC's Hardball Discussing the 9/11 Health Bill and Don't Ask Don't Tell

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we are back, a big week for president obama. the democrats capped off the passing of the health care bill for 9/11 responders. steny how certificate democrat from maryland, the house imagine nority leader. mr. leader, i have never seen you so strong i have never seen such a national powerhouse as you. i'm serious. what allowed you folks to come back from a blistering election and yet show such strength in supporting the program here, including this one?

i think we had a lot of very important things that we wanted to get done and what the election did was it took away the high motivation for obstructionism that i think existed prior to the election. as a result, we were able to sit down at the table and agree on some things and move forward. the 9/11 bill, as you know, just got 70% of the votes that were cast in the house of representatives, very important billby the tax bill we did in a bipartisan fashion. we moved a competes bill, we moved a crr. we moved a lot of very, very important legislation and today, of course, as you know, the president signed don't ask, don't tell, which is supported by 70% of the american people but we couldn't get done before the election. so i think what happened was the motivation for obstruction and a last lack of cooperation was eliminated when the election occurred and an ability to come together and we were committed to doing the kinds of things and the specific things that we told the american people we wanted to get done. and i think president obama had a victory, i think the american people had a victory.

did you see coming out of the election in fact, going into it and seeing you're an expert on how the votes were going to go seek the damage that was going to be done to your caucus? did you see the importance of making a tough call on the tax issue so that you wouldn't have all this collateral damage? a lot of people and i think the president and you see if you hadn't cut a dole on taxes, difficult, excruciating as it was, would you have lost probably don't ask, don't tell. you might have lost new s.t.a.r.t. you might have lost this thing for 9/11 responders.

i think the president, and i agreed with the president on this, knew that we needed to move through that issue. we wanted very strongly not to increase any taxes on working americans in this country. we didn't think that would be good for the economy. and we were committed to making sure that didn't happen. right.

and we had to make a compromise. we may not have agreed on all of it but i think on balance it is going to help grow the economy. and i think american people think it was the right thing to do.

do you see any opening republican party? they'd been pretty party line on issues on taxes and things like that. do you see any opening for the potential -- of different coalitions next year, like we're seeing in this lame duck?

i see a potential for that. i think the new speaker, speaker boehner, as i have said before, has facilitated transition that has not been as confrontational, not as poisoned as the transition of 1994-'95 was. i think that sets a good base on which we can work, and the country needs us working together. needs us to find common ground. because we've got some tough problems and, very frankly, the competition around the world is much keener than it used to be. and, therefore, we need to be more united than we had been.

well, it's great to have you on and i do salute you. i think that you've been a strong leader. that's an objective statement regardless of party label you've been a very strong leader, sir. and thank you for coming on ""hardball"" and have a happy christmas, sir.

thank you.

steny Hoyer from maryland.