Hoyer: GOP budget demand 'hypocritical'

GOP demands that President Obama offer a balanced budget are "hypocritical" since Republicans haven't produced such a plan themselves, Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) charged Tuesday.

Behind House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), GOP leaders are set this week to vote on a proposal requiring the president to either submit a budget that balances within 10 years or name the date when his plan would eliminate deficit spending.

But Hoyer, the Democratic whip, noted that the most recent GOP budget, proposed last year by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), did not bring the budget into balance until almost 2040.

"The last Ryan budget that was passed the House didn't balance the budget until well into the late 30s," Hoyer said Tuesday during his weekly press briefing in the Capitol. "So that for them to direct the president to do something that they haven't done is, I think, hypocritical and patently for political messaging purposes.

"We ought to be beyond that," Hoyer said. "The election is behind us [and] Obama won. They need to come to grips with that."

The comments arrive as GOP leaders are continuing their attacks on Obama for missing the statutory deadline for introducing a budget – a strategy designed to shift the national debate back to fiscal issues after many weeks of headlines focused on social matters, such as gun control and immigration.

"Solving America’s problem starts with what every family does every month: they’ve got to do a budget," Boehner said at a press conference Tuesday. "But the president’s budget is late again. Senate Democrats haven’t done a budget in nearly four years. And none of them have a plan to replace the ‘sequester.’"

Ryan has said he'll soon introduce a spending blueprint that will balance the budget within 10 years. That promise helped GOP leaders secure votes for a short-term suspension of the debt ceiling last month.

Hoyer wondered Tuesday why it took Republicans so long.

"Now Ryan says he's going to do it, but he has not done it," he said.

Hoyer also went after GOP leaders over the sequester, arguing that the looming cuts are the "sole responsibility of Republicans" for rejecting Obama's calls for a clean debt-ceiling hike 18 months ago, instead insisting that it be accompanied by steep reductions in federal spending.

"It will be a bad thing if it happens," Hoyer said, "and it will be the sole responsibility of the Republicans who have concluded that maybe that's how they can get to where they want to get no matter what damage it causes to the economy."

Obama on Tuesday is urging Congress to pass a short-term package of spending cuts and tax reforms to delay the blunt sequester mechanism while lawmakers try to hammer out a longer term solution.