Hoyer Defends Obama, Says President Is Engaged

Posted March 8, 2011 at 11:47am

House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer dismissed criticism Tuesday of the Obama administration’s handling of the ongoing spending debate.

The Maryland Democrat said President Barack Obama and his staff are “fully engaged.”

Hoyer’s comments come as Senate Democrats, including Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), have publicly criticized the president’s leadership on a long-term continuing resolution. The Senate is poised to take up two competing spending bills Tuesday — one backed by Republicans and a Democratic alternative. Both are expected to fail.

“I know it’s not easy. I know that it takes compromise. I know it will be partisan and difficult. I know that everyone will have to give up something and no one will want to relinquish anything. But that is what the American people are demanding,” Manchin said on the Senate floor Tuesday “Respectfully, I am asking President Obama to take this challenge head on, bring people together and propose a compromise plan for dealing with our nation’s fiscal challenges, both now and for the future.”

Hoyer, however, said he thinks Manchin is “incorrect” in his assessment.

“The president has been engaged … personally and through his White House team,” Hoyer said, noting the bipartisan fiscal commission results. “The fact that he has offered something as an alternative right now doesn’t mean that he is not working and leading. I think he is doing both.”