Hoyer to GOP: People are with Democrats on sequestration fix

The No. 2 House Democrat is citing new polling to pressure his GOP colleagues on scheduled automatic spending cuts, as both parties continue to blame the other for sequestration.

Minority Whip Steny Hoyer's (D-Md.) office pointed to a new Bloomberg poll that said that close to 60 percent of people want to turn off the $85 billion in cuts, which are scheduled to start going into effect on Friday, with a mix of other cuts and new revenues. 

President Obama and top congressional Democrats are pushing for that approach. But Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and other GOP lawmakers say they are not willing to discuss the tax side after the "fiscal cliff" deal, still less than two months old, raised $600 billion in new revenues.

“So, the American people get it: the only way to responsibly reduce the deficit while protecting our recovering economy is through a balanced approach of both spending cuts and revenues,” the minority whip's office said in a statement about the looming sequester cuts.

“Republicans, are you listening? Speaker Boehner, in case you lost your copy, here’s House Democrats’ alternative to the sequester. We’re ready when you are to take action.”

Hoyer is far from the only prominent Washington official to brandish poll numbers in recent days to make their case on the sequester.

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Few around D.C. expect the two sides to come together and find a way to replace the sequester next week, and both parties are looking to ensure that the other takes the blame if the cuts aren’t averted.

Republicans have started citing a new op-ed from Bob Woodward of The Washington Post, in which Woodward claims that Obama has moved the goalposts on the sequester. 

GOP officials have cited their own polling that they say shows voters want only spending cuts to replace the sequester cuts, and top lawmakers like House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) have discussed a laundry list of what they say is wasteful government spending.

“President Obama has said that unless he gets a second tax hike in eight weeks, he will be forced to let criminals loose on the streets, the meat at your grocery store won’t be inspected and emergency responders will be unable to do their jobs,” Cantor said in a statement this week. “These are false choices.”

The White House, meanwhile, has talked up a recent Pew poll that found that about three in four wanted both taxes and spending cuts in the mix on the sequester. 

"When you look at polling, 75 percent of the American people agree with me, that the way to reduce deficit sensibly is through a combination of spending cuts and tax revenue," Obama said this week. 


This post was updated at 12:05 p.m. on Feb. 24  to clarify that the minority whip's office, and not Hoyer himself, commented on the Bloomberg poll.