Washington (CNN) – House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer left open the possibility Wednesday that Democrats could consider proposals to extend tax cuts to upper income taxpayers.
"I'm always, as you know, prepared to discuss alternatives so we can move forward," Hoyer said at his weekly session with reporters on Capitol Hill.
But Hoyer repeatedly argued for President Obama's proposal – legislation that would just extend tax cuts for those making $250,000 a year and under.
"I've made my position very clear, Hoyer said, adding, "The President's position is the position that I think makes sense for working people, for our economy, and for long term concerns we have about the deficit."
(CNN) - House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer on Sunday expressed his confidence in congressional Democrats’ ability to maintain their majority in the House of Representatives, but conceded his party will “probably” lose seats.
“We’re going to hold the House,” Hoyer repeatedly told CNN’s Candy Crowley on "State of the Union."
“Our candidates are feeling good,” Hoyer added.
The two leading non-partisan political handicappers, Stuart Rothenberg and Charlie Cook, both predict massive Republican gains in the House this November. The Rothenberg Political Report upped its prediction on Tuesday to 37 to 42 additional seats for Republicans and said that gains of 45 to 55 seats are possible. The Cook Political Report predicts GOP gains of at least 40 seats. Republicans must gain 39 seats in the House to retake the majority.
Washington (CNN) - House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said Tuesday it is up to Democratic Rep. Charles Rangel of New York to decide whether to resign over pending ethics allegations.
"Mr. Rangel has to do what Mr. Rangel believes is appropriate and proper," Hoyer told reporters, taking a neutral stance instead of offering support for the 20-term veteran of the House Democratic caucus that Hoyer leads.
Rangel said Tuesday he wouldn't talk about whether there is a settlement in the works to head off Thursday's hearing by the House ethics committee, which will make public a report of Rangel's alleged violations of House rules. In brief comments to reporters, Rangel confirmed his lawyers were talking with lawyers for the ethics committee.
Washington (CNN) - House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer acknowledged Tuesday that closing down the Guantanamo Bay prison is not a top priority for congressional Democrats.
In response to a question from a reporter about where shutting down Gitmo stands, Hoyer said, "I think that's not an item, as you point out, of real current discussion. There's some very big issues confronting us - dealing with growing the economy and Iraq and Afghanistan."
Hoyer added, "I think you're not going to see it discussed very broadly in the near term."
Washington (CNN) – Pointing to victories in recent special elections, the number two Democrat in the House sought Sunday to buck the conventional wisdom about his party’s prospects in this fall’s midterms.
“I don’t think we’re talking about a big loss,” House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer of Maryland, said on CNN’s State of the Union.
Hoyer told CNN Chief Political Correspondent Candy Crowley that his party has done well in special congressional elections since the passage of the health care bill.
“After the last summer, which was a very hot summer politically, as you recall, we won a number of races during that period of time. Health care was a very hot topic.”
Notwithstanding the potential political fallout from passage of the health care overhaul, Hoyer pointed out that Democrats had won special elections in New York’s 20th and 23rd congressional districts and Pennsylvania’s 12th .
Washington (CNN) – The top Republican in the Senate sought Sunday to stay out of the weeklong war of words between the NAACP and the Tea Party movement.
At its annual convention last week, the longstanding civil rights organization passed a resolution that called on the conservative grassroots movement to repudiate racism within its ranks. The resolution set off a national firestorm that came to a head Friday when Mark Williams, a spokesman for a national Tea Party group, decided to remove a satirical letter he had posted on his blog site earlier in the week in response to the resolution.
Asked about the controversy on CNN’s State of the Union, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell sidestepped the prickly issue.
“Oh my goodness, . . . I’m not interested in getting into that debate,” McConnell told CNN Chief Political Correspondent Candy Crowley. “What we’re interested in is trying to have an election this fall that will respond to what the American people are asking us to do which is to have some checks and balances here.”
Washington (CNN) - House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer Tuesday disagreed with White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs' assessment over the weekend that there were enough seats in play this year for Democrats to potentially lose control of the House of Representatives.
Referring the number of Congressional seats that are competitive this election cycle, Hoyer admitted that it's "probably close," but he quickly added that just because there are a lot of seats in play does not mean "by any stretch of the imagination that I think we're going to lose the House. I don't think we are going to lose the House."
Hoyer told reporters at his weekly session on Capitol Hill that he understands Americans are still angry with political leaders that the economy hasn't turned around quickly enough. But he said Democrats will make the case in the months leading up to the midterm election that electing GOP candidates will return the country to "Bush Republican failed policies."
Washington (CNN) - House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer was cautious Tuesday about whether the House can muster the votes to pass an immigration bill before the upcoming midterm elections.
"We'll have to see," the Maryland Democrat said at his weekly meeting with reporters. "We'll have to see what the Senate can do."
Because the last major effort to overhaul immigration in 2007 fell apart in the Senate and there are currently so many other bills passed by the House that still await Senate action, Hoyer said there's an agreement among leaders to see what kind of legislation can pass in the Senate before the House tackles the controversial issue. So, the leading Democrat said, it's up to the Senate to take the lead on crafting a new proposal.
While Hoyer said there is agreement on the need for stronger enforcement at the borders, he conceded that there is division within Democratic ranks about how to deal with undocumented immigrants already in the county. Hoyer said he supports a comprehensive bill that includes stronger enforcement measures for border security, penalties for those in the country illegally, and a path toward citizenship.
The House Majority Leader also criticized current federal enforcement efforts at the border, telling reporters he agrees with those in Arizona who pushed for a new law to crack down on the flow of illegal immigrants into the state.
"In part, of course, what the people of Arizona are saying is that the feds haven't done their job. I think they're right: the feds haven't done their job," he said.
But the Maryland Democrat criticized the new state law's enforcement mechanism.
(CNN) – House Democratic leaders have killed a bill that would have given Washington, DC a voting representative in Congress because the measure included a provision that would have wiped out the District's strict gun laws.
"I am extraordinarily disappointed," House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said as he announced the House of Representatives will not vote on the measure this year.
It's a victory for gun control advocates but a disappointment for activists who have been working for decades to get a voting representative in Congress and saw this Democrat-controlled Congress as their best chance. The District has an elected delegate in the House of Representatives, Democrat Eleanor Holmes-Norton, but she cannot vote on the House floor.
"This legislation should be focused solely on the central premise of American democracy, that citizens have a fundamental right to be represented in the policy-making body of their country, a representative with not just a voice but a vote," Hoyer told reporters off camera.
When the Senate took up the DC voting rights bill last year, Republicans attached a gun provision that a number of pro-gun rights Democrats helped pass. It was expected to pass the House, which also has a pro-gun rights majority, as early as Wednesday. But Hoyer said "the price was too high," and the bill was scrapped, a decision ultimately made by Holmes-Norton.