Hoyer Says GOP Isn’t Interested in Bipartisanship

Posted February 12, 2009 at 12:07pm

On the heels of a highly partisan push to pass economic stimulus legislation, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) on Thursday lamented that the current crop of GOP leaders doesn’t appear interested in crossing the aisle to get things done.

Bipartisanship is about “respect, decency and fair input,” Hoyer said during remarks at the National Press Club. “What matters is listening attentively to our opponents, responding to them with facts, not emotion, and with arguments, not with talking points. What matters is never questioning the motives of the other side.”

During the House debate on the economic stimulus bill earlier this month, which ultimately resulted in no Republican support, Hoyer suggested that GOP leaders “exploited” the meaning of bipartisanship to claim they were being unfairly treated. He said they turned “myths into accusations.”

This was not the kind of relationship that he had with former Minority Whip Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), who “is very conservative” but who agreed that they should always be “looking for common ground and never making the political personal,” Hoyer said.

Hoyer and Blunt met regularly and looked for opportunities to work together, like during last year’s debate over the Wall Street financial rescue.

Countering GOP complaints that they were shut out of negotiations on the economic stimulus bill, Hoyer asserted that bipartisanship doesn’t mean “each party gets to write exactly half of every bill” since that would “make elections irrelevant. … I think that misconception underlies a lot of Republican anger right now.”