The Washington Times - July 25, 2012, 11:37AM

The House’s No. 2 Democrat says the upcoming congressional lame duck session is shaping up to be among the busiest in decades, as lawmakers continue to punt on several significant fiscal issues before the Nov. 6 elections.

House Minority Whip Steny H. Hoyer, Maryland Democrat, blamed an ideologically driven and uncompromising Republican corps who control the chamber for the logjam of unresolved issues that include a slew of expiring tax breaks, scheduled cuts for the Pentagon and Medicare doctors’ reimbursements that leaders in neither party want, and federal borrowing that soon will reach its self-imposed debt limit.

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He added the current Congress “is perhaps the least productive and most confrontational in which I’ve served” — including 1995, when then Speaker Newt Gingrich lead his “Republican Revolution” in the House.

“I can never remember a time when there would be such consequential fiscal matters coming to a head at one time,” Mr. Hoyer told reporters Wednesday at Washington breakfast hosted by the Christian Science Monitor. ‘“If we allow them to all hit it will have a very negative effect on the economy.”

Mr. Hoyer said that while the outcome of the presidential elections will impact the effectiveness of the lame duck session, “it could be the most productive lame duck session” since he joined Congress in 1981. He added; “I’m hoping that it will be.”

While bitter partisan divide has engulfed the current House, Maryland Democrat said he has had good working relationships with many Republicans during his tenure, including longtime former House GOP leader Bob Michel, former Sen. Bob Dole, Sen. Roy Blunt — a former Republican leader in the House — former Reagan-era Secretary of State George Shultz, and even President Reagan himself.

The Democratic whip also said he respects President George W. Bush.

“He used say … Steny, I don’t know anybody who I disagree with more who l like better,” he said. “I thought that was a great complement.”

But perhaps the most curious name on Mr. Hoyer’s list of admirable Republicans is Trent Lott, the former Senate GOP leader and whip known for hard-handed partisan positions during his senatorial tenure.

“Trent Lott wanted to get things done. Trent Lott was somebody who you could work with to make things happen,” Mr. Hoyer said. “That surprises some of my liberal friends when I say that.”