Hoyer Predicts Easy Passage of 'Gimmicky' Highway Bill

Hoyer predicts "gimmicky" highway bill will pass. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

House Minority Whip Steny H. Hoyer of Maryland predicted Democrats will overwhelmingly support a short-term highway trust fund bill on Tuesday, even though they would prefer a long-term fix with more solid pay-fors.  

Hoyer said he will vote for the bill, which extends highway funding through May, but called the offsets used to pay for the bill "gimmicky."  

“I think there will be probably overwhelming support,” he said. “When you’re confronted at the end with, ‘You do this or we shut down,’ we’re not for shutting down. We think that the economy would be hurt, people would be hurt, jobs would be lost.” He added that he is not concerned the highway bill would compromise efforts to pass an extension of unemployment insurance, which had been proposed in the Senate using the same offsets.  

"If we use it now, we’ll foreclose the use on UI," he said. "Am I concerned about that? We’re the richest country on the face of the earth. If we need to fund UI — which I don’t think we need to fund in the short term; it’s an emergency — we can come up with dollars from someplace else."