Hoyer pessimistic about 2014 budget road ahead

Tuesday - 6/25/2013, 3:38pm EDT

Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) on "In Depth" with Francis Rose

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By Cogan Schneier
Special to Federal News Radio

House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) said he does not see any hope of a compromise on the fiscal 2014 budget before the new year begins Oct. 1.

"Compromise is critical, and I don't see it on the horizon. I think we're going to be in a [continuing resolution] environment," Hoyer said in a recent interview on In Depth with Francis Rose

Hoyer said the budget bills will not be done on time, and that he is positive that there will be a continuing resolution needed at the beginning of fiscal 2014. The lack of compromise on conflicting numbers among the three plans on the table — the Senate Democratic plan, the House Republican plan and the White House blueprint — will likely spell yet another budget delay, Hoyer said.

The House and Senate budgets are still off by about $91 billion apart, Hoyer said. That difference is stalling the plan and the Republicans refuse to go to conference committee to figure it out and compromise on the budget numbers, he added.

But Michael Steel, a spokesman for House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), said that this is normal procedure.

"It is regular order for the House and Senate budget chairs to reach agreement on a framework before formally going to conference," said Steel in an e-mail to Federal News Radio. "That's the way former Speaker Pelosi and Rep. Hoyer did it when they ran the House. Chairman [Paul] Ryan and Sen. [Patty] Murray are having those conversations now, but it's difficult to reach agreement when the Senate Democrats' budget includes a huge tax increase and still never, ever balances."

Hoyer said the across-the-board budget cuts, known as sequestration, will have a "devastatingly" negative effect on the government, with the immediate effects being felt by federal employees, including the thousands of workers that will be furloughed.

Despite conflicting ideologies, everyone agrees the cuts are bad policy, he said.

"Hopefully, we'll come to an agreement. I urged to the Majority Leader [Eric Cantor (R-Va.)] today to proceed to go into conference so we can reach an agreement," Hoyer said. "He has not agreed to do that."

Cogan Schneier is an intern for Federal News Radio.

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