Hoyer chides the GOP as Congress nears end

He says Republicans failed to enact major bills

October 10, 2004|By Kimberly A.C. Wilson | Kimberly A.C. Wilson,SUN NATIONAL STAFF

WASHINGTON - The second-ranking Democrat in the House of Representatives pronounced the congressional session a failure yesterday, blaming the GOP leadership yesterday for letting the clock run out on the 108th Congress without resolving key issues including the federal budget, transportation funding and intelligence reform.

"The Republican-controlled Congress waved a white flag at the U.S. Capitol yesterday," Rep. Steny H. Hoyer of Southern Maryland said in a four-minute radio address on his party's behalf.

Congress voted on few of the 13 annual spending bills, an inertia that Hoyer said amounted to an admission by the dominant party "that it cannot finish the work the people sent us here to do."

His remarks, delivered in the weekly Democratic radio address, came as the 2004 congressional session neared an end. For the first time in a generation, he said, the party in control of the House, Senate and White House had failed to enact a budget.

"The respected congressional scholar Norman Ornstein uses just two words to describe this 108th Congress: `Pretty pathetic,'" Hoyer said in the address. Ornstein is a scholar at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington.

"They failed to enact a transportation bill, even though it would create hundreds of thousands of jobs while improving our nation's roads and bridges. And they failed to enact welfare reform, the higher education bill, and 10 of the 13 annual spending bills that fund critical government agencies and programs," Hoyer said.

"But it's no wonder this Congress accomplished so little," Hoyer said. "In 2004, House Republicans worked fewer days than any single session of Congress since 1948. President Truman called that Republican Congress the `do-nothing Congress.' Today, you might call this Republican Congress the `do-less-than-nothing Congress.'"

Elected House minority whip in November 2002, Hoyer is charged with mobilizing the party vote and coordinating party strategy.

Turning an eye toward the Nov. 2 election and echoing a catchphrase of Democratic presidential candidate Sen. John Kerry, Hoyer said, "It is time for new leadership - for Democratic leadership that makes America stronger at home and respected in the world."

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