Rep. Steny Hoyer (D) of Maryland says the current Congress is one of the "least productive and most confrontational" he's ever served in. As the minority whip in the House, Mr. Hoyer is charged with rounding up votes and mobilizing Democrats on key legislation. He also says for there to be meaningful gun control legislation, there needs to be a national consensus on what to do, because right now, Democrats don't have the votes in the House or the Senate to pass any sort of measure. He was the guest at the July 25 Monitor breakfast.
On the outlook for gun-control legislation in wake of the Colorado shooting:
"What we really need to do is create a consensus in this country because we don't have the votes on the floor of the House and they don't have the votes on the floor of the Senate to pass anything [on gun control]."
On the US fiscal problems:
"Greece does not have the resources to solve its problems. America does have the resources.... It needs the courage and political will.... Tough decisions will have to be made.... We will either make them or they will be made for us."
On the outlook for the congressional session after the Nov. 6 elections:
"If President Obama wins ... there will be less incentive to simply tread water until Jan. 20.... On the other hand, if [Mitt] Romney wins, there may be an inclination by some, maybe many of the Republicans, particularly in the House, to tread water."
How this Congress compares with others:
"This Congress is perhaps the least productive and most confrontational in which I have served ... [because] there are fewer moderate Republicans who really want to sit down ... and discuss compromise."
On the mood of the American voter:
"The American people have gone from anger to anxiety. 2010 was the angriest environment I have participated in.... I don't feel that anger now.... They are not sure who to direct their anger at at this point in time."