The Washington Times - October 22, 2013, 03:31PM

Minority Whip Steve Hoyer, Maryland Democrat, said Tuesday that he is optimistic Democrats will take back control of the House in 2014 because of the way Republicans have handled the government shutdown.

“I think what you see is a party that the public does not believe is making common sense. One-hundred and forty-four Republicans voted to keep the government shutdown,” Mr. Hoyer told reporters Tuesday afternoon.

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He also said he’s seen an erosion in the tea party’s strength from recent polls.

If Democrats do take control of the House, legislation to require universal background checks for guns would be a priority.

“In the next Congress, obviously if we are successful as I believe that we can be and frankly I believe we’re going to be given the performance of the Republican Party shutting down government and putting the credit at risk … I think there’s no doubt that we would want to see a bill similar to the Senate’s bill which some 80 percent of the public supports in checking on background checks,” Mr. Hoyer said, while noting that background checks would not solve the more complex issue of mental health.