By The Hill Editors - 09/16/13 11:23 PM EDT
Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) is a loyal lieutenant to President Obama, but the House minority whip has made it clear he opposes the White House on sequestration.
He balks at continuing the controversial spending cuts, and wants to head off any compromise that would extend them.
Hoyer has said sequestration is “totally unacceptable and irresponsible.”
The problem for Democrats is that they embraced the sequester level earlier this year. Likewise, Republicans have voted for appropriations bills that funded ObamaCare.
The funding bill at sequester levels, which passed the House 318-109, split Democrats, 82 of whom rejected it.
Hoyer is taking the lead in challenging the White House. It should not be surprising: He represents more than 62,000 federal workers.
If sequester-level funding is extended for another year, it could become the norm for budgets, Hoyer fears.
It is noteworthy that House Democrats, who serve in the minority, are wielding some power this fall.
House Republicans can’t pass a CR by themselves. That fact was on display when GOP leaders were forced to cancel a scheduled funding vote amid a conservative rebellion over ObamaCare money. So Republicans need Democratic votes.
But Hoyer is suggesting the president won’t get them by continuing the cuts that were first passed in the Budget Control Act.
Democrats on Capitol Hill have been more vocal in their criticism of the Obama administration since the president won his second term. Liberals last week rounded on Obama for seeking military intervention in Syria and effectively stared him down on his possible selection of Lawrence Summers to head the Federal Reserve.
Democrats have previously called out Obama on fiscal matters and then caved in. Hoyer this month has stressed that he and the House Democratic Caucus won’t back down on sequestration.