The No. 2 House Democrat doesn't anticipate a repeat of October's partial government shutdown, saying Republicans “are not stupid” to again demand spending cuts and other conditions that led to last year's budget impasse.
House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer said that despite deep ideological rifts among congressional Republicans, a scenario he said was highlighted by last week's shocking primary defeat of House Majority Leader Eric Cantor in Virginia, he believes the GOP is “trying to heal some of their divisions as they look to" the mid-term elections in November.
“The Republicans are not stupid,” the Maryland Democrat told reporters Tuesday. “I still think the party suffers from real divisions and I think, yes, [GOP] members therefore are going to be skittish [about agreeing to budget deals with Democrats]. But ... I think they are being more careful than they were in the past.”
Much of the federal government was shut down down for 16 days in October after the parties failed to agree on a bill to fund the government before the beginning of fiscal 2014 on Oct. 1.
But Hoyer points to progress made in drafting several appropriations bills in the GOP-led House as evidence that Republicans have no appetite for a large-scale budget fight this year. Congress failed to pass any of its 12 annual spending bills last year, relying instead on a massive "continuing resolution" to keep the government funded and open.