December 27th, 2012
05:31 PM ET
9 years ago

Hoyer compares GOP debt limit tactics to hostage taker threatening to shoot child

Washington (CNN) - Less than two weeks after one of the nation's deadliest school shootings, the No.2 Democrat in the U.S. House, Steny Hoyer, compared Republican tactics for dealing with the nation's debt limit to someone threatening to shoot a child hostage.

"It's somewhat like taking your child hostage and saying to somebody else, 'I'm going to shoot my child if you don't do what I want done.' You don't want to shoot your child. There's no Republican leader that wants to default on our debt, that I've talked to," Hoyer said at a Capitol Hill press conference.

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Hoyer's comments came in response to a question about the Treasury Department's notice that the nation was approaching its debt limit. He criticized Republicans for previous resistance to raising the debt ceiling and used the gun analogy to argue that the issue should not be part of the negotiations involving the fiscal cliff.

In a session on the House floor lasting less than 10 minutes – and at which just a handful of members were present - Hoyer called on GOP leaders to bring the House back into session to craft a compromise to avert the fiscal cliff.

Shortly after Hoyer spoke to reporters, House Republican leaders held a conference call with their members and told them the House would reconvene on Sunday night - just a day before the year-end deadline.

Filed under: Fiscal Cliff • Steny Hoyer
soundoff (229 Responses)
  1. BILL, WI

    Our country is run by some of the most ignorant hypocrites this country has to offer. This moronic fool, Hoyer, led the fight against Palin with her foolish bullseye commercial, and now dimwit Hoyer uses the same analogy but with the tragedy of a recent school shooting that cost the lives of 26 people. He is without a doubt the lowest of the low that ever slithered out of a ditch.

    December 28, 2012 08:07 am at 8:07 am |
  2. John Illinois

    It is a hostage situation but it is the democrats doing it. They refuse to quit spending us into oblivion.

    December 28, 2012 08:21 am at 8:21 am |
  3. Wilson


    I'll tell you what is really criminal is all those people commenting in here that the Republicans are holding the many hostage to support the few. THAT is what's criminal. To believe a lie is foolish, but to perpetuate a lie because of ignorance is criminal against yourselves and against the 98%. The Republicans are being stubborn, no one can deny that. But, to say they ONLY support the rich is simply stupid. The Democrats are every bit as culpable as the Republicans. They REFUSE to entertain real spending cuts. They are JUST AS GUILTY of holding the citizens hostage as the Republicans. Obama got re-elected on the premise that he was going to reach across to the conservatives and COMPRIMISE
    The first sensible and correct comment I've seen on here.

    December 28, 2012 08:21 am at 8:21 am |
  4. Alex

    The ignorance that is being spewed on this comment page is amazing. Any bill that deals with the "fiscal cliff" must originate in the house of Representatives as it would be a tax and/or spending bill. Even if the House failed to pass a "fiscal cliff" bill, the Senate could simply attach their own fiscal cliff proposals to any bill that has originated in the House. The Senate could then vote and send their proposals back to the House for approval. Here is realty. The House has sent numerous bills to the Senate dealing with everything from spending to taxes. What happened to these bills? They all landed on Harry Reid's (-D NV) desk and he has refused to bring them to the Senate floor for a vote. During negotiations with Obama, Speaker Boehner proposed keeping the tax cuts in place for anyone making less than $1 million per year. That was not good enough for Obama. He wants taxes to go up for anyone making over $200,000/year or $250,000/year for couples. This comes despite his campaigning to only raise taxes on millionaires and billionaires. Did you know that a Chicago Public School teacher married to a well tenured Chicago Fire Fighter can make more than $250,000/year as a couple. Obama is holding us all hostage to raise taxes on school principals and firefighters.

    December 28, 2012 08:21 am at 8:21 am |
  5. Chris

    To those of you shocked by Steny Hoyer's language: The fact that you are outraged is good, but you revulsion is pointed in the wrong direction. Mr. Hoyer's analogy is apt, and your unwillingness to recognize it as such in reaction to the strong negative emotion his analogy brings out in you makes it no less apt. The debt ceiling is Hurricane Katrina to the fiscal cliff's spring thunderstorm.

    The GOP has already held the United States hostage once by using the debt ceiling as a bargaining chip, and the country paid the price in the form of a lowered credit rating. The Republican Party was NAMED in the report which lowered our credit rating as being the reason for our credit rating being lowered. We have been lucky enough as a nation to have been able to stave off the negative effects of this so far, but economists are warning that, if it happens again, if we don't manage to show the world that we are a fiscally responsible nation, our credit rating will be lowered further and we will...not thrust into a depression. Not recession. DEPRESSION.

    So Mr. Hoyer's language, while shocking, is appropriate. The GOP is willing to point a gun at Uncle Sam's head and threaten to pull the trigger if the Democrats don't give them what they want which is lower taxes for the rich and higher taxes on (and no social programs for) the poor.

    They have already shot him once...luckily he was just what in the name of crumbcake makes you people defending these monsters think they won't do it again? Is your particular case

    December 28, 2012 08:23 am at 8:23 am |
  6. Jokesterer

    So now the republicans are child killers. They used to be geezer killers but now they are child killers. Why do I even bother coming to CNN? Humor, I guess.

    December 28, 2012 08:26 am at 8:26 am |
  7. Wilson


    The country has gone more liberal and with the increased social programs there needs to be more income into the Govt. Wake up GOP and raise taxes before you become marginalized.
    How about decreasing some of these social programs and let the people that are capable of working fend for themselves? Then we would not need to be heading in the direction of France. Take a look at what is happening their, The rich are leaving in droves because the socialist leader is raising taxes on the rich to 75%. Margaret Thatcher said it best when she asked what will the socialist type government do when they run out of other peoples money.

    December 28, 2012 08:30 am at 8:30 am |
  8. Sam

    When will this president be asked to actually truly compromise. For 4 long years it's been nothing but my way or the highway for Obama. And CNN continues to prop him up. BTW, where is Mrs Clinton? Really? Still getting out of Bengazi hearings on a lame concussion excuse? And we had to hear about Valarie Plame for 6 months straight yet MSM gives Clinton a pass? Criminal media in this country. DNC tools.

    December 28, 2012 08:38 am at 8:38 am |
  9. John in swing state Colorado

    We should hold the GOP up to ridicule and public scorn. It used to be that they tried harder to hide that they are bought and paid for by the multinational corporations and our elite rich. Now, they don't even bother. They are brazen about accepting a public salary and position of high honor and they just work for the privileged few among us. Have they no shame? Just wait until 2014 comes around. If they damage, yet again, this nation's economy and its credit rating and plunge us yet again into recession, like W did some 4 1/2 years ago, it will just reinforce that these clowns are incapable of governing effectively. They should be driven from government at all levels. They take us for granted, to their political peril.

    December 28, 2012 08:40 am at 8:40 am |
  10. Kelby in Houston, TX

    Hoyer's statement is accurate. There was never any debate over raising the debt limit until
    Obama became president. They have done it many times for other presidents and the result of not raising the debt limit is detrimental to the nation. The last time they did this, our credit score was lowered. And the only reason they are doing this is to keep tax rates low for their rich friends...
    The only people blaming the Democrats for this Republicans....everybody else blames the Republicans
    Anybody who has been paying attention can easily see where and how Obama and the Democrats have compromised. Everybody knows that 'compromise' is a dirty word to Republicans
    The notion that President Obama wants to go over the fiscal cliff is ludicrous. We wouldn't even have a fiscal cliff if it were not for the Republicans

    December 28, 2012 08:43 am at 8:43 am |
  11. Pete

    I get a kick out of these sanctumonious republican posters blaming Pres.Obama and democrates when it was Boehner and his republican extremist that drew up this sequester deal.They thought they'd win the election and wouldn't have to resort to it being as ignorent as arrogent but it didn't turn out that way did it guys..Now they're stuck with a ticking time bomb squarely in their laps with no where to go and Democrates are standing clear because when it goes off republicans will be in the crosshairs of voters nationwide come midterms and they know it!!Pres.Obama had a deal approved with Boehner and because of their stupidity listening to the tea party morons republicans shot it down so now you republicans are stuck holding this bomb and as karma says what goes around comes around..Good luck republicans,tea partiers your end is near and I can see a reversal of 2010,have fun with your resumes guys you're gonna need them after midterms!!!

    December 28, 2012 08:46 am at 8:46 am |
  12. Rudy NYC

    For reals wrote on page 6:

    Exactly HOW are the democrats not holding 98% of us hostage? Republicans don't want taxes raised on anybody, that includes the middle class. Even when they offered to allow the rates to go up on people making over one million dollars, that wasn't good enough.
    The Democrats simply separated the two issues, 98% vs 2%. Republicans want to keep them joined at the hip. Democrats ran on a platform of raising certain rates. Democrats won the 2012 elections handily on that platform.

    BTW, that offer that you're talking about is Boehner's "Plan B". It never came up for a vote because ti was killed by the Repubilcan Tea Party in the House. Democrats had nothing to do with its' failure. Making the argument that Plan B was a compromise, and then blaming Democrats for its' failure makes your entire argument sound woefully misinformed.

    Democrats would have cut Plan B to pieces anyway, though. It was an insult to people's intelligence. True, the plan would have raised the rate on those making over a million. What was also true is that it created new deductions so that those making over a million could pay a lower effective rate than what they are now. It was a sophmoric deception to say the least.

    Let's not forget about Sen. McConnell's bungled embrassment on the Senate floor. He found himself sponsoring a bill preserving the middle class rate for a vote, but only to turn around a filibuster it once he realized that Democrats called his bluff. He looked like a very mixed up old man who lost his cigars.

    December 28, 2012 08:53 am at 8:53 am |
  13. Rudy NYC

    DC Observer

    The comments on here by the left bashing the GOP are astoundingly clueless..... people on the left seem to think that they should have lower taxes and that our government is fine with increasing its spending. The DEMS are destroying the future for our children -
    Excuse me, but what you descibe has been the Republican economic policy for at least three decades, beginning most dramatically with Reagan and most damagingly with Bush 43. You sound ridiculous. Isn't your argumetn supposed to be that livberals are "tax and spenders", not "tax cutters and big spenders"?

    December 28, 2012 08:58 am at 8:58 am |
  14. JR of White Bear Lake MN

    Did you think the republicans had a monopoly on stupid? We have a bunch of stupid out of touch people running our country.....God help us.

    December 28, 2012 09:05 am at 9:05 am |
  15. Ozzie

    What is this love affair that Republicans have with the wealthiest citizens in our land? The President has offerred to cut spending considerably. Republicans won't touch the wallets of billionaires. Break away from the Tea Party children. Show just a little courage. The Tea Party, and now all republicans, do not have the best interests of the U.S. in mind.

    December 28, 2012 09:06 am at 9:06 am |
  16. Bob S. of Lexington Park, MD

    To you all. No matter which party you support, Stenny Hoyer's comments are reprensible. The democratic party leadership should call him to the floor of the house to apologize to the citizens of the nation. To use this analogy to try and make his point is horrible and has embarrased our nation in front of the entire world. Politicians are expected to disagree but politicians of the nation are expected to be more civil than this. If anyone needs to be blamed for the situation we are in it should be Obama, Reid, and Pelosi. They are the ones who steared this ship onto its current path. We did not need Obamacare. We did not need people getting 99 weeks of unemployment. We do not need to have nearly half of Americans on food stamps. We did not need to give Obama a blank check to run up the nations dept by over $5 trillion dollars in less than 4 years. Giving more money to a broken government means less money to pay people to work. Just go back to what Russia looked like before they became a free market. Does anyone out there really want to live in a country where the government decides how you live?

    December 28, 2012 09:21 am at 9:21 am |
  17. Larry Trickel

    Why not stop blaming and do something. Many that want to tax the rich more don't want spending cuts. And why pick on the rich? WE ALL HAVE A VOTE and we have elected an irresponsible Congress and President who won't stop the spending madness. Maybe taxes should go up on everyone....that is the American way. When the tax reduction was put in place ALL benefited. DO we have to raise taxes to have the government continue to raise the debt ceiling and to spend us into bankruptcy? Isn't it obvious to everyone the President HASN'T a written plan nor is he going to give one. That way he can use CNN and the other Obama media to protect him from the crisis that he is just as responsible for as anyone else. In fact, many Democrats still are blaming President Bush.

    December 28, 2012 09:24 am at 9:24 am |
  18. Blah blah the wheel's off your trailer

    I think the best solution is to get all republicans in America to seek secession and leave. After all, these right wing unpatriotic un-American confederates fought a civil war to undermine our democracy in the first place. I say let them leave NOW.

    December 28, 2012 09:28 am at 9:28 am |
  19. al

    Why we tolerate the ignorance of so many in our government is beyond my comprehension. Unfortunately, most of the ignorance and lack of governing seems to be coming from republicans these days. These guys just refuse to govern and refuse to make decisions.

    December 28, 2012 09:30 am at 9:30 am |
  20. callmecrazy

    I think this whole "fiscal cliff" was totally unavoidable and republicans should have taken the deal Obama and Boehner worked out two years ago and we would not have the out of control spending and taxes would not be going up for 98% of us. It is that simple. However, to use an analogy of holding a child hostage is outrageous even if we hadn't just had the tragedy in Connecticut. Hoyer should apologize then STFU.

    December 28, 2012 09:31 am at 9:31 am |
  21. rad666

    GOP should protest with self-immolations.

    December 28, 2012 09:32 am at 9:32 am |
  22. Virginia John

    Any other Job when you can't get along with your coworkers you get fired. We need one term limits on all House and Senate seats to take away power from the lobbyest and political parties. George Washington was correct when he said that political parties would destroy this country. Voters should demand more and not vote for candidates from either major party.

    December 28, 2012 09:33 am at 9:33 am |
  23. Josh

    We the middle class have been ground down by 3decades of republican policies. We just went thru a financial collapse and we are just seeing th first glimmer of recovery. I have watched for the last 4 years a right wing that had lost its mind with a constant barrage of obstruction and doubling down on the most dangerous policies and philosophies that caused our free market to become a warped shadow tht has don nothing but feed the republican cronies....boehner could not even broker a deal to raise taxes on a million dollar a year income. He cannot reason with his own party...the sme party who signed off on Bushs destructive tax policies, wars, dismantling of safety valves in our financial system and continued the feeding frenzy of th rich cronies and plutocrats.....these representatives are no better than animals...the right wingers posting on this ticker have the sme nonsensical reaction of faux outrage when a democrat tells the truth....

    December 28, 2012 09:38 am at 9:38 am |
  24. Virginia John

    The best long term solution is that we go over the cliff. I don't think either party understands the long term repercussions that this will have will the independent voter. Perhaps this will led to the rise of the third party candidate that is not owned by big money and the people can take control of their country back.

    December 28, 2012 09:39 am at 9:39 am |
  25. UncleBenny

    Let's use a common tactic in hostage situations. Just as hostage takers often pick a hostage at random and shoot them if their demands aren't met, let's take Congress hostage and tell them that every hour they fail to reach an agreement, two Senators and ten Congressmen will lose their jobs and pensions. Let's see how fast they act then!

    December 28, 2012 09:39 am at 9:39 am |
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