House Democrats blasted the incoming GOP majority Tuesday, just moments after pledging to try to seek common ground with Republican Members in the new session.
“We will work with them when we are accomplishing the job creation objectives and the deficit reduction objectives,” incoming Minority Whip Steny Hoyer said at a press conference. “However, they will find us a loyal but focused and tenacious opposition when they are doing things we think undermines the economy.”
The Maryland Democrat lambasted the GOP rules package that is set to be adopted Wednesday, charging that it is riddled with budgetary gimmicks and paves the way for a massive deficit increase. Incoming Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said her Caucus will focus on boosting job creation and reducing the deficit, while other leading Democrats denounced GOP efforts to repeal the health care reform law.
“Every minute wasted on trying to repeal health care reform fruitlessly is one less minute Republicans will spend on the jobs and trying to turn this economy around,” Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.) said. “We are going to watch for every Republican hypocrisy and call them on it when we see it.”
House Republicans signaled Monday that they will hold a vote to repeal health care reform next week, likely Wednesday. The law was a top priority for Congressional Democrats and the Obama administration last year, and repealing it was a campaign pledge for Republican during this year’s midterm elections. The repeal is expected to pass the House and could garner the two-thirds support needed to override a presidential veto. But with the Senate still controlled by Democrats, it has virtually no chance of making it to President Barack Obama’s desk. Republicans are expected to try to chip away at the law through a series of other legislative efforts. Pelosi said Tuesday that Democrats will stand together against the GOP health care offensive.
“To say we’re going to repeal it ... is to do severe, very serious violence to the national debt and deficit,” she said. “So for what it means to personal security, what it means for fiscal security to our country, you can’t just say, ‘I like the palpable parts of this, but I want to do away with the structural change.’”
Pelosi, who has enjoyed a powerful reign as Speaker for the past four years, also defended her party’s legislative record in the majority and blamed Senate Republicans for blocking job creation measures that the House approved.
“I don’t really look back; I look forward,” Pelosi said when asked about her tenure as Speaker. “And we look forward to be a willing partner in solving the problems of the American people when our Republican colleagues have a winning solution. ... That’s the key, moving forward.”
Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., right, hugs Harold Schaitberger, General President of the International Association of Fire Fighters, after the Congressman spoke at the IAFF's Legislative Conference General Session at the Hyatt Regency on Capitol Hill, March 9, 2015. The day featured addresses by members of Congress and Vice President Joe Biden.