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Hoyer Blames GOP for Appropriations Lag

Republicans have made it “almost impossible” to advance fiscal 2009 appropriations bills, which means Democrats may not be able to bring any of them up anytime soon, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) said Wednesday.

Democrats may still try to bring a spending bill to the floor later in the month, Hoyer said, but efforts to advance the 12 annual appropriations measures have largely stalled as Republicans have sought to attach energy language to them in committee.

Still, Democrats could move to bring up one of five spending bills that had already been marked up before Republicans brought energy politics into the process.

Hoyer blasted GOP appropriators for “wringing their hands about pursuing regular order,” but then trying to bring up the Interior spending bill during the markup for the Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education spending bill, in an effort to debate energy issues.

Asked whether Democrats are hesitant to move appropriations bills while Republicans continue trying to attach language relating to expanded drilling, Hoyer replied, “I think that’s probably accurate.”

Still, the Majority Leader said the politically delicate issue of domestic drilling is just one of “a lot of items” that Republicans want to use to hold up the appropriations process.

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