Hoyer Says Consideration of Supplemental Could Be Delayed

Posted May 1, 2008 at 3:30pm

After weeks of predicting action on the Iraq War supplemental either during the last week of April or the first week of May, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) on Thursday signaled that closed-door negotiations on the package are still ongoing.

“It is still a possibility” that the bill will reach the floor next week, said Hoyer, but “I’m not assured” by House Appropriations Chairman David Obey (D-Wis.) that he can “move it ahead that quickly.”

Regardless, Hoyer insisted that the supplemental is one of the bills that he wants “to see passed before we leave” for the Memorial Day recess on May 23.

Furthermore, Hoyer said it was “candidly, still up in the air” whether Democratic leaders plan to mark up the bill in committee or move the legislation straight to the floor, the idea of which has provoked fierce protests from Republicans.

For now, Obey is in discussions with the Senate on “how they think we can best move forward,” Hoyer explained.

Hoyer’s remarks come on the heels of similar comments Thursday by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), who told reporters that it was “no big deal” if lawmakers don’t approve the supplemental before the Memorial Day break.

“I think we’ll do our best to finish this before the Memorial Day break, but if we don’t, it’s no big deal. There’s money there,” said Reid at a Thursday afternoon press conference.

Still, Reid denied that talks between the House and Senate are dragging on longer than either side thought they would.

“I don’t know why there is a rush to judgment,” Reid said. “This is moving along quite rapidly. We’re not behind schedule. Everything’s fine.”

House and Senate Democrats are having a hard time cobbling together a supplemental that satisfies both liberal Democrats who don’t want to fund the war, and the president, who has threatened to veto a bill with padding for domestic initiatives. There is also fear of a GOP-led Senate filibuster if there is any attempt to force troop withdrawals.