Hoyer gives GOP 'credit' for commitment to take on entitlement spending
March 8th, 2011
02:14 PM ET
7 years ago

Hoyer gives GOP 'credit' for commitment to take on entitlement spending

Washington (CNN) - As the Senate gears up for votes on competing proposals on how to cut spending for the rest of the year, the number two House Democrat warned that both parties need to work together to address the larger problem driving up the nation's debt – spending on entitlement programs.

House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer complained that Republicans were distracting the public with the debate over the spending cuts in the bill for this year, but noted, "to their credit" Speaker Boehner and other GOP leaders have committed to including in their budget for next year proposals to address the growth of Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security. House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan is expected to unveil the 2012 budget blueprint early next month.

Hoyer said both parties should "not demagogue this issue" and said if Republicans put "responsible proposals" on the table Democrats should work with them.

"The public ought not to be deluded that we can get to where we need to be fiscally by simply focusing on non defense discretionary spending. It cannot happen that way," Hoyer told reporters Tuesday.

"We need to look at entitlements, we need to look at defense spending we need to look at tax expenditures, he added. "We need to look at everything across the board if we're going to solve what is truly a fiscal crisis in front of us."

Hoyer, who suggested last summer that raising the retirement age for Social Security should be considered, said "everything ought to be on the table and I continue to believe that."

Perhaps signaling a message to fellow Democrats, Hoyer added, "if Republicans come forward with responsible suggestions I think we ought to engage them."

Republicans have criticized President Obama for not tackling entitlement reform in the budget he proposed for next year.

Filed under: Congress • Steny Hoyer
soundoff (14 Responses)
  1. Sniffit

    Gotta love how the "news" media and BOTH parties treat it as a foregone conclusion that the question is as follows:


    That's precisely what it is to them. The reality is that TAXES ARE GOING TO HAVE TO BE RAISED ON THE RICH AND CORPORATE LOOPHOLES/WELFARE ARE GOING TO HAVE TO BE ERADICATED. The parties' avoidance of these FACTS is a game of chicken to see who gets stuck holding the hot potato when it finally becomes an absolute necessity...because nobody is wiling to admit it's an absolute necessity yet, even though it is...they don't want the blame. And so, what we get is both parties fighting over just how much of a rawdog screwing the middle-class needs to suffer in order for the budget to be cut...just how much the middle-class has to sacrifice and pay for the cuts by going without necessary government services and programs and societal safety nets they pay for...all so the ultra-wealthy and corporate America, who can more than afford to pay more based on the obscene rate of growth of their share of the nation's wealth and assets over the past 3 decades, don't have to pay more in taxes and can continue to divert the true burden to the middle-class....all so both parties can keep them happily willing to continue purchasing representatives from both parties to puppet around DC. Keep it up guys and Libya, Egypt and Tunisia won't be the only ones overthrowing abusive governments this decade. I guarantee it.

    March 8, 2011 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  2. Four and The Door

    "We need to look at everything across the board if we're going to solve what is truly a fiscal crisis in front of us."
    Absolutely! He gets it. This is the first sign of fiscal leadership I have seen from a Democratic federal politician in at least 2 years. I hope Obama hears his call and starts to get on board with what needs to be done. Now.

    March 8, 2011 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  3. The Other Michael in Houston

    The problem with Medicare is not that more people are in it, but the cost of healthcare is insane. Plus the biggest blow to medicare right now is the outright fraud that is happening. For an example, and this is so true, I personally know dialysis patients, some are mine some are not, that ride in a ambulance to and from their dialysis treatments....when they can walk. But because Medicare guidelines are so flawed, all the Ambulance company has to do is put the right ICD-9 (diagnosis code) on the claim, and they get paid. Folks, we are talking at least $500.00 a day, times 3 days, times 52 weeks per year, that is roughly 78,000.00 per year in fraudulant gains, from one patient. That is what is really wrong with Medicare. Medicare should let private insurance plans, as they do with Medicare Advantage plans adminster thier benefits, and regulate those plans to ensure that they are being paid to do what they are supposed to, delivery healthcare insurance.

    March 8, 2011 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  4. Lea

    Yes we do need to look at entitlements. So where is the discussion about TANF (Welfare)?

    This program sends billions to States many who abuse the program. TANF should be about finding and keeping work, not warehousing people with no real expectation that they will find paid work. Time to take on TANF !!

    March 8, 2011 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  5. Christian

    FINALLY! Look, I am 38 years old and I know that benefits will not be anywhere near what they are now when I reach benefit age. Just rip the band aid off quickly already so we can move forward. PROPOSAL: Roll every program, spending bill and tax rate back to where they were in 2000 as a starter (index for inflation). Since we were PROJECTED to have surpluses then, lets get back on track. This includes the termination of the prescription drug benefit and all of the automatic raises the Congress has been giving themselves. Also, reduce your staff Congress. There is no reason you need a staff as largte as they have now. We are paying YOU to do the job of running the country.

    March 8, 2011 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  6. lynn

    As a senior citizen, I have seen our medical costs go up for one important reason. The doctors in our senior community love to order any and all tests they can think of, from bone density to sleep apnea and anything else they can think of that Medicare will pay for. All just fad tests unless you have symptoms. But the drs. see an anxious group of patients more than willing to take all the tests from their personal physicial, who is padding the bill and paying off their expensive testing equipment.

    March 8, 2011 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  7. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    Your pension, 401K, etc. is also in danger of becoming an entitlement if the Republicans/Tea Party get their way.

    March 8, 2011 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  8. Laverne

    Really Mr. Hoyer??? They are pretending to want to take it on only because they know dems won't and it abodes well from them politically and you should know better than that. I give the republicans credit because they so easily dupe the dems everytime and they at least stick together for their crazy off the wall causes. If the dems would learn there is power in numbers then maybe they could have gotten more done or can get more done. I don't get it why dems are so easily knocked off course, not just since Obama has been president, but EVERYTIME! Just stand up for your principles and if that results in failure, well so be it, but stand for something and stop allowing the republicans to snatch your toys and throw you out of the sand box, it is embarrassing!

    March 8, 2011 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  9. gt

    both sides get this done,,, dont play games with our childrens future....there is so much waste and fraud ... it makes me sick...work together ....

    March 8, 2011 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  10. Bill from GA

    Why is it now essential to 'compromise' to cut spending to (NOT) balance the budget, but last fall there was not hope of a compromise on tax cuts which would have gone much further toward a balanced budget? We do not need to balance the budget on the backs of 'boomers' who paid higher taxes most of our lives.


    March 8, 2011 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  11. Bill from GA

    Hey, Hoyer, does "everything ought to be on the table and I continue to believe that." include cutting TAX CUTS FOR THE RICH???

    March 8, 2011 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  12. diridi

    pass anti-earmarks, and pass term limits on senate and congress.....another Obama need not be born for this....idiots...

    March 8, 2011 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  13. M Scott

    Upcoming Elections there will be Many Republicans Out the door and several Democrats. We will make sure of it! We are watching everything they are doing and have done! Excuse the phrase, but it fits. Pay Back Is Hell, but it's coming, like a swarm of red wasps!

    March 8, 2011 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  14. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    If we are talking about Social Security only, then I say that we do the following: slowly raise the retirement age to 70; take the cap off what is subject to the tax which should include those bonuses that sports starts and movie starts get; do a limited means testing (those earining over70 million a year in total income as an example).

    Other items there have to be resolved as well. If we can get a handle on other items and their costs, then we can start to reduce the deficit. I'd also like to see the wealthy actually do something here other than someone like Gates and Buffet. If they are getting tax breaks, then let them do some charible contributions to groups that actually do some good around here.

    March 8, 2011 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |