Top House Democrat equivocates over cutting own pay in event of sequester
February 12th, 2013
03:12 PM ET
1 year ago

Top House Democrat equivocates over cutting own pay in event of sequester

Washington (CNN) – The number two House Democrat, Steny Hoyer, is "not absolutely positive" that the automatic spending cuts that are scheduled to go into effect will actually happen, but as his office prepares for their potential impact, he doesn't think cutting his own pay is the way to absorb the budget cuts.

"If I take a pay cut frankly that won't help our national defense that won't help our domestic investments. It won't help the economy," Hoyer said at his weekly session with reporters on Capitol Hill.

The so-called "sequester" was the enforcement mechanism added to budget deal in the summer of 2011 to force Congress to come up with a plan to reduce the deficit. If it fails to do so spending cuts will kick in next month affecting all government agencies, including the legislative branch.

Asked about a top defense official's pledge on Tuesday in a Senate hearing to cut his own pay if military salaries are cut, Hoyer said, "That's fine. It's symbolic."

But Hoyer said he is "hopeful that we avoid the sequester," and he urged GOP leaders to bring up legislation to replace the across the board cuts.

House Speaker John Boehner and other top GOP leaders argue that they have already passed two bills to replace the across the board cuts, but both of those measures passed in the last Congress so they are essentially moot now. Congressional Republicans continue to press for President Obama and Senate Democrats to present their own detailed plan to avoid the scheduled spending cuts that will begin to go into effect at the beginning of March.

The Maryland Democrat said he wanted to avoid furloughing or cutting staff, saying "I think that's an irrational policy and we're going to have to make cuts, but whether or not we'll do so by furloughs is another issue."

Hoyer's suburban Washington D.C. district includes a significant number of federal employees. He said his granddaughter, whose husband is a federal employee, asked him whether federal workers would be forced to take unpaid leave to make up for government agencies' budget cuts. He told reporters he hoped that wouldn't be the case and argued federal workers were "the only people who have been asked so far to reduce spending."

House Republicans scheduled a vote for later this week on legislation that would freeze federal worker's pay for another year. Hoyer said it's not appropriate for federal workers alone to bear the brunt of reducing the deficit. Like other Democrats, he said it should be a mix of spending cuts and revenue.

Hoyer said it was "dead flat wrong" for Republicans to blame President Obama for the series of automatic cuts that are scheduled to go into place at the beginning of March.

The number two Democrat argued that Congressional Republicans are now calling for major spending cuts and dramatic changes to federal programs, but when then President George W. Bush was President Congressional Republicans "set off on spending binge in which they paid for nothing."


Filed under: Congress • Steny Hoyer
soundoff (35 Responses)
  1. Pale Rider

    We know cutting your pay won't help the deficit. The point of cutting your pay is a punishment for you just as a young child needs to learn by having things taken away. Personally I would prefer corporal punishment for the lot of you.

    February 12, 2013 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  2. freedom

    @Rudy NYC
    What does that have to do with Romney not taking a salary? Don't forget the Hawaiian vacations of the president and Pelosi's luxury lifestyle.... on your tax dollars. You enjoy working hard for these people??

    February 12, 2013 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  3. Sniffit

    "Don't forget the Hawaiian vacations of the president "

    What don't you understand about him going to Hawaii being him going HOME to visit? Are POTUSes from Hawaii supposed to receive lesser respect and dispensation to visit their homes than ones from other states? Or is it just when they're black?

    February 12, 2013 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  4. The REAL Truth...

    "Don't forget the Hawaiian vacations of the president "

    Hmmmm.. Let's not forget the 61 trips that Dubya took to Crawford, TX during the last 2 years of his Presidency. That of course mattes little to you Tea-trolls who are constantly looking for ANYTHING on which to attack the POTUS. Show a little respect for the office pls – what goes around comes around.

    February 12, 2013 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  5. Wilson

    @Rudy NYC

    freedom wrote:

    Mitt Romney would have served as president with no salary – as he did when he ran the Olympics and was Governor of Massachusetts. We know how willing Obama and his wife are to forfeit their trips to Hawaii in the most luxurious properties – democrats have big mouths and don't put the money where their mouths are –
    -----––
    I have a better idea. Let's cut the annual subsidies to the oil companies. That loop hole alone costs more than the salaries of every member of Congress and their staffs combined. Okay?
    -----------------------------------
    I completely agree Rudy. One question, how will we keep the oil companies from passing on the extra costs to us "little people" in order to keep their exorbitant profits?

    February 12, 2013 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  6. freedom

    @The Real Truth
    This president shows no respect for anyone – but his agenda – which is destroying our country. I don't respect any of his policies, or the way he speaks to us as citizens. And where was your noble philosophy of respecting the office of the president when Bush was in office? Please.

    February 12, 2013 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  7. jkane sfl the gop national disgrace party will be swept out like the trash they are in2014 ?

    The gop fools blame the president for everything but we all know its the gop goofball party fault ,100%, wait till mid terms when you lose the house , they should make that day a national holiday . Gop trash !!!!

    February 12, 2013 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  8. Wilson

    What don't you understand about him going to Hawaii being him going HOME to visit? Are POTUSes from Hawaii supposed to receive lesser respect and dispensation to visit their homes than ones from other states? Or is it just when they're black?
    ---------------------------------
    Except the current potus is from chicago. Love how the 'angry black woman' sniffit keeps that race card out there. I don't know why you keep posting on here, you have been a proven liar so many times that you have no credibility left.

    February 12, 2013 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  9. Sniffit

    "Love how the 'angry black woman' sniffit keeps that race card out there. "

    1. White irish roman catholic straight male with a bum so white it could blind you...that is, if you could see me mooning you right now.

    2. I don't keep the race card out there. The GOP/Teatrolls do that to themselves via their behavior. Stop crapping your political pants and we'll stop telling you that you need diapers, fool.

    3. As for your onsense about him "being from Chicago," plenty of people go back to where they were raised. That doesn't "prove me a liar." Chicago is somewhere he went later in life. Just because that's where his residence is now doesn't mean he doesn't think of Hawaii as his home town and somewhere to return to on a regular basis. Besides, I don't know why I even engaged within the context of that argument in the first place...your premise is completely freekin ridiculous. POTUS goes where he wants, when he wants and gets all the protection and convenience we can give him when he does it BECAUSE HE'S THE MOFO-ING POTUS. If he wants to go back to his roots in Hawaii and enjoy a vacation there on the beach or visiting old friends, for a few days etc., then his 100 hour work weeks justify it, hands down, without argument.

    February 12, 2013 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  10. The REAL Truth...

    @freedom – This president shows no respect for anyone – but his agenda – which is destroying our country. I don't respect any of his policies, or the way he speaks to us as citizens. And where was your noble philosophy of respecting the office of the president when Bush was in office?
    -----------------------------–
    Sorry, bubba – NOT SO. It's the right wing Tea-troll agenda that been destroying this country. The 8 yrs of Bush – and YES, it was those 8 yrs that destroyed the economy (and I can bury you in the evidence, but CCN will likely censor it out as not relevant). It takes more than four yrs to recover from the worst economic disaster since the Great Depression, especially when the "other team" is blocing ones every move.
    The ensuing lack of stability (or even simple movement) in DC – thanks to the Grand Obstructionist Party – has led to an unstable business environment where investment will not happen as there's no certainty of taxes, resources or other elements needed for business planning – so no jobs! I SQUARELY lay the blame on the Teapugs and their "Party First" mentality.. and if you do a little FACT checking (instead of juvenile opining) and self-thinking, you would realize that Congress has no intention of cutting its own pay. They'll make up for with with their usual annual 5% raise – which has nothing to do with the POTUS.
    But then, folks of ur ilk should just up and move to alaska.. you'd be right at home with Palin.

    February 12, 2013 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
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