LaHood criticizes former GOP colleagues

Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, a former Republican congressman, implicitly criticized his former GOP colleagues over the debt debate Thursday, saying members should “set aside their own egos” and compromise.

LaHood, appearing in the White House briefing room to talk about the impasse over funding the Federal Aviation Administration, harkened back to his days as a congressional aide to former Rep. Bob Michel (R-Ill.).

The Cabinet member worked as an aide when President Reagan and Speaker Tip O'Neill (D-Mass.) were hashing out compromises on taxes and the budget, and was a lawmaker himself during the high-stakes negotiations between then-President Clinton and House Republicans in the 1990s.

ADVERTISEMENT
“That whole period of time was a very rich history and legacy of compromise,” LaHood said. “Thats how Congress has always solved problems, through compromise, through people working things out, through people putting aside their own agendas and their own egos, deciding whats important for the American people.”

LaHood joined a number of other Washington veterans in describing the current impasse over the debt ceiling and deficit cutting as an unprecedented chapter in partisan gridlock.

“This is a time that I think most of us that have watched politics have never seen before,” LaHood said. “Because there are people in Congress who dont like the word compromise, who dont believe in it.”

He continued: “This is about continuing to have a strong economy and continuing to compromise, and take maybe a couple chapters out of Tip O'Neill, Bob Michel, Ronald Reagan, President Clinton — people that have served in this town with distinction and gotten big things done through compromise.”

LaHood’s appearance served as a warm-up act for White House press secretary Jay Carney, who took to the lectern and again castigated House Republicans for what he said was their intransigence.

Carney described House Speaker John BoehnerJohn Andrew BoehnerLongtime House parliamentarian to step down Five things we learned from this year's primaries Bad blood between Pelosi, Meadows complicates coronavirus talks MORE's (R-Ohio) bill, up for a vote Thursday evening, as “a political act that has no life beyond its current existence in the House.”

The president’s spokesman blasted Republicans over reports that they are willing to push their legislation through, dare the president to veto it and then blame him for a default if that follows.

“We’ve never faced the question of’ ‘I am going to blow up the economy — if you will — if you don’t do what I want,’” Carney said. “That’s just crazy.”