Cantor Offers Hoyer Appropriations Deal

Posted July 13, 2009 at 6:17pm

House Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R-Va.) on Monday formally asked House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) to cut Republicans back into the debate on spending bills, promising they would offer a maximum of 20 amendments to each bill and would abide by a set of time limitations during the debate. Cantor had proposed the deal verbally on Friday; Hoyer has not yet responded, and a Democratic aide voiced doubt that the majority will sign on. Cantor wrote Monday: “I believe this represents a tremendous compromise on the part of House Republicans and, as such, deserves immediate consideration … I ask that you respond to our offer before the House Rules Committee meets tomorrow, July 14, to decide on the special rules that will govern debate for the Energy and Water Appropriations bill and the Financial Services Appropriations bill.— Republicans have complained that Democrats imposed unfair restrictions on the five spending bills that have come to the House floor in the 111th Congress. Democrats have said the limits are necessary because the GOP refused to agree to time limits for debate on bills. A Democratic leadership aide sounded skeptical about the majority’s appetite for a deal. Appropriations Committee leaders “might feel we’ve gotten so far down this path, we shouldn’t change course now,— the aide said. Further, this aide said, Democrats’ faith in the GOP’s ability to keep their own in line remains shaky, pointing to Rep. Paul Broun’s (R-Ga.) effort Monday to force a vote to adjourn. The move prompted Democrats to recess because with many lawmakers still out of town, they faced a real threat of losing the vote. “It leaves a question about whether their leaders will be able to control their Members and keep to an agreement,— the aide said.Conservative leaders inside the Republican Conference have assured Cantor that Members would honor the deal if Hoyer signs off, according to a GOP aide. The aide said Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) and Republican Study Committee Chairman Tom Price (Ga.) have expressed support for Cantor’s proposal.“The offer is consistent with conversations Rep. Price has had with the whip on the matter,— Price spokesman Brendan Buck said. “The RSC supports open rules on all appropriations bills, and this is a good step toward that goal.— Cantor’s letter to Hoyer comes nearly a week after Democratic leaders rejected a proposal for an open rule on the Agriculture, rural development and Food and Drug Administration appropriations bill. Hoyer told Cantor during their weekly colloquy on Friday that House Democratic leaders did not fully believe that the promise would be honored, citing their experience in 2007 when 10 appropriations bills brought to the floor under regular order took 50 hours longer than the time constraints that Republicans and Democrats had agreed to in 2006, before Democrats formally took over the majority.