House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer has seen government shutdowns before. But according to the Maryland Democrat, the stalemate between the two parties on Capitol Hill is very different than what went down 17 years ago.
“1995 was over funding levels – so you could come together and negotiate on the levels of funding,” Hoyer explained. Then, buoyed by the 1994 Republican Revolution and new Speaker Newt Gingrich, Republicans challenged Democratic President Bill Clinton over a balanced budget with lower deficits.
“Here, the issue is not numbers, because we’ve taken the Republican number for funding in this interim,” said Hoyer, the number two Democrat in the House. “But that’s not what they’re after – they’re after something they lost in the election,” he said of Republican efforts to continue to push for a delay in Obamacare’s implementation and individual mandate.
Hoyer also said Democrats had wanted to go to conference with the Senate to resolve differences in their competing funding bills, but that idea had been rejected earlier. But when Republicans proposed such a measure late Monday just before midnight, the Democrat said it was nothing more than a stunt.
“Participating in a conference is fine, but when you’re five minutes from shutting down the government, a conference is a ruse, a sham, not an honest suggestion,” said Hoyer. “It is simply delaying and inevitably assuring there will be a shutdown of government.”
Ultimately, speaking Tuesday morning, Hoyer didn’t sound a hopeful note for a resolution anytime soon.
“I don’t have a great deal of confidence given the irresponsibility I’ve seen over the past few days and few weeks,” said Hoyer.
Watch Chuck Todd’s full interview with the minority whip in the above clip.