House Democratic leaders say Speaker John A. Boehner is hypocritically amping up a taxpayer-funded defense of the Defense of Marriage Act in federal courts while simultaneously calling for government spending cuts.
In a Wednesday letter to the Ohio Republican, Minority Leader Nancy of California and Minority Whip Steny H. Hoyer of Maryland said they object to Mr. Boehner “secretly increasing” to $3 million a House contract with an outside counsel to defend the law that defines marriage as the legal union of one man and one woman.
“It would be bad enough if Republicans were losing in court and accepting the result. Yet it is the height of hypocrisy for House Republicans to waste public funds in one breath then claim the mantle of fiscal responsibility in the next,” the Democrats wrote.
“With Republicans willing to take our economy and our country to the brink of default in the name of deficit reduction, there is simply no excuse for any member of Congress to commit taxpayer dollars to an unnecessary — and futile — legal battle.”
A Boehner spokesman declined to comment on the Democrats’ letter, referring questions to the House Administration Committee, which runs the chamber’s day-to-day operations.
A long legal battle over the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act, or DOMA, is headed to the Supreme Court, which is expected to take up cases this year involving a provision of the 1996 law and California’s Proposition 8, which similarly defines marriage.