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Hoyer Offers Senate GOP Moderates as Model for House Republicans on Tax Cuts

House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) praised moderate Senate Republicans for their budget votes and urged the House GOP to follow their lead Tuesday.

As the tax-writing committees gear up to report bills that would enact at least some of President Bush’s tax-cut proposal by May 8, Hoyer said Democrats will continue to push for the smallest cut possible and hope more Republicans join them.

Hoyer said he was “disappointed” when six of 11 House Republicans, who earlier protested against the proposed $726 billion tax cut, ultimately voted for the budget resolution that provided for such a high figure.

Unlike Republican Sens. Olympia Snowe (Maine), George Voinovich (Ohio), John McCain (Ariz.) and Lincoln Chafee (R.I.), “who stood up and took a lot of heat” for their position against the size of Bush’s plan, “there were a lot of Republicans in the House who did not walk the walk after talking the talk.”

Hoyer said he remains “optimistic” that they might come around, adding that pressure from other moderates and similarly aligned groups could do more to sway them than anything the Democrats could do.

While he did not name them, Hoyer was referring to GOP Reps. Jo Ann Emerson (Mo.), Sue Kelly (N.Y.), Ray LaHood (Ill.), Steven LaTourette (Ohio), Rob Simmons (Conn.) and Fred Upton (Mich.). They penned a letter to the Republican leadership calling for a scaled-back tax-cut portion of the budget, only to fall into line later.

Democrats will continue to paint the president’s proposal — whether Republicans finally decide to retain $550 billion or $350 billion of it — as irresponsible, Hoyer said.

They will push for a smaller, more targeted stimulus package instead of the massive tax-cut proposal, he said.

House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Texas) panned Democrats for their stance.

“They feel no obligation to govern, all they feel is an obligation to gripe,” DeLay said.

While the tax bill will top the agenda, DeLay said Republicans must also concentrate on efforts to avert the communication break down that marred the passage of the budget conference report just before recess.

“It’s really important that the House and Senate leadership come together on strategies up front,” DeLay said.

House Republican leaders were furious with Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) when he signed off, without first running it by them, on a compromise that makes it unlikely more than $350 billion in tax cuts will be approved.

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