Hoyer: ‘Most unsuccessful … administration’

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Mr. Hoyer: They don’t have anything else to say. They have a failed administration, a failed Congress preceding this Congress; the American public turned them out …

[Republican Rep. Louie] Gohmert from Texas got up with a national debt sign about $8.8 trillion. Now, to his misfortune, I happened to be on the floor at the time, and I asked him to yield … and said how in the heck … could a fiscally responsible president, a fiscally responsible leadership in the Congress of the United States for the last six years go from $5.4 trillion in debt to $8.8 trillion in debt. You guys were in total charge. In heaven’s name, I am shocked and chagrined that that would happen on your watch. He didn’t say much. The debt … [they are] giving us a hard time about $23 billion, the president of the United States, in extra spending on education, health care, veterans, COPS programs, first responders, $23 billion in a $2.7 trillion budget. That’s eight-tenths of a point more on domestic spending, and he’s going to veto the bills without even seeing them? Give me a break [laughs].

This is the guy who sent down a prescription drug bill [and] said it was going to cost $395 billion when his own people said it was going to cost over $500 billion. That’s five times as much … . You recall how much they said this war was going to cost … $60 billion … . We’re now at $600 billion, 10 times what they said this war was going to cost. We spend more in Iraq in two months than we are suggesting spending for the entire year on education, child care, first responders, cops … energy, alternative research. So I understand we’re taking some rhetoric, but I don’t think we’re taking any grief … [they have] no credibility. They’re criticizing us on earmarks. This is a crowd that took earmarks to a 15-fold increase.

Reporter Christina Bellantoni: You’ve had a lot of Democrats win in conservative districts, what the Republicans call “Bush” districts … The Republicans are trying real hard to get these guys to be one-term Democrats. Do you foresee any situation where the Democrats lose the House next year?

Mr. Hoyer: [laughs] I suppose the right thing to say is of course not! … Do I think we’re going to lose the majority, absolutely not.

We did not lose an incumbent or any seat that we had last year, not one. The people who were elected, Nancy Boyda [of Kansas], Kirsten Gillibrand [of New York], Tim Mahoney [of Florida], Nick Lampson [of Texas], are all very, very able people. This freshman class of 41 people are as able a class as I have seen coming into the Congress in the 26 years that I have been here, number one.

Number two, the Republican administration is probably the most unpopular administration … rival[ing] Nixon’s. … I don’t think the Republicans are offering any alternative policies to ours. … Look at our bills we’ve passed … We got 82 [Republican votes] for the minimum wage; we got 124 [Republican votes] for student aid increase …

We’re not passing a narrow partisan agenda, we’re not passing a liberal agenda or a conservative agenda. We’re passing an agenda that I think speaks to the desires of the American public and what they voted for in ‘06. …

[Democratic Rep.] Chris Carney [from] a Republican district in Scranton {Pa.] … Republicans tried to recruit [a strong candidate], and he decided not to run. When a top-five candidate decides not to run … he is making a judgment … that Carney is not as vulnerable as some people would like to think.

Ms. Bellantoni: Do you think that whoever is at the top of the ticket, whoever gets nominated for president, will affect these numbers in the House next year either way?

Mr. Hoyer: I think we have as top-tier a group of candidates … as we’ve had in our party in a long period of time. The top three are top-tier, [Sen. Hillary Rodham] Clinton, [Sen. Barack Obama], [John] Edwards, but [Sen.] Chris Dodd is a top-tier candidate. He’s not top tier in numbers but he’s a quality candidate …

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