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Hoyer: House running out of time to get work done

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The No. 2 House Democrat accused Republican leaders of dragging their feet on this year’s legislative agenda and warned the chamber will run out of time to address key fiscal issues before the November elections.

If the current legislative pace continues, said House Minority Whip Steny H. Hoyer, Maryland Democrat, then Congress will be forced to take up several complex items — such as addressing the nation’s debt limit, expiring tax cuts and budget cuts to the Pentagon scheduled to kick-in in January that both parties are eager to avoid — in the short year-end lame duck session.

“We’re not having the days to get our work done,” Mr. Hoyer said during his weekly briefing with reporters. “I frankly don’t have a lot of hope about getting something done prior to the election because of the politics of whatever positions everybody has, because they don’t want to move off those positions for political reasons.

Still, Mr. Hoyer said he was “very, very hopeful” the House will muster the “courage to summons the political will to address these issues in a way that will put us on a substantial fiscal path that will give certainty to the economy and to the rest of the world.”

The Maryland Democrat said if House GOP leaders continue to bring up legislation under open rules of debate — a process that permits amendments from the floor and typically takes longer than a “closed rule” process — then the House must be in session more days. The chamber has only seven full-days scheduled this month, he said.

“If you want to have open rules and you want to consider open debate I think that’s a good process,m but you need to give the time for that debate to occur,” he said.

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