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Wednesday, May 04, 2005

MD-5: Update on Push for Hoyer to Step Down as Whip

Posted by Bob Brigham

Last week, Swing State Project took a look at the blog-based movement pushing for Congressman Steny Hoyer to resign as Democratic Whip. It now appears that there is a clear tipping point materializing around CAFTA that could be the end of Hoyer's leadership reign or help him hold his job. Right now, it looks like it could break either way.

From David Sirota:

THE BAD NEWS: The newsletter also reports that "House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D) said Tuesday in a news conference that no decision had been made as to whether the Democratic leadership would whip against" CAFTA, even though he admitted most Democrats were against the deal. Hoyer, you may remember, refused to whip Democratic opposition to the Bankruptcy Bill, and supported the Australian Free Trade Agreement, even though that supposedly "free" trade pact included drug industry-written provisions preventing Americans from importing cheaper medicines from abroad. Some folks have lately been calling for Hoyer's resignation from his leadership position (I'm not sure if that's warranted, as Hoyer has been a solid lawmaker for years). And his unwillingness to take a stand even at this late hour is disheartening. If he ultimately doesn't whip on this bill, that will only fuel those calls for his resignation. Let's hope he gets in line and starts doing what he was elected to do: lead.

Democrats are doing well nationally because of the great job Senate Democrats are doing by standing together. We need to do better in the House. If Hoyer isn't interested in whipping votes on major issues, then he needs to step down for the good of the Party.

CAFTA is a chance for Hoyer to redeem himself. Hoyer will be graded on the unity of the Party on the vote -- whether he intends to whip or not. Democrats expect him to whip and if he fails, not trying will not be an excuse.

Posted at 03:02 PM in Maryland | Technorati