House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer pushed back Tuesday against remarks made last week by House Speaker John Boehner in which he suggested taxes were akin to stealing, calling Boehner's comments "extraordinarily unfortunate."
"We're not stealing anybody's money," Rep. Hoyer of Maryland told reporters during his weekly press briefing on Capitol Hill. "They send us to Congress to try to make a determination of how we can pool our resources as a nation and as a people to invest in making our country better."
Hoyer was responding to comments Boehner, a Republican from Ohio, made Feb. 28 in opposing President Barack Obama's call for higher taxes as part of a bill to replace sequestration. "How much more money do we want to steal from the American people to fund more government?" Boehner asked. "I’m for no more."
Ultimately two bills, one that raised taxes and another that contained only spending cuts, failed in the Senate last week, prompting Obama to order $85 billion in across-the-board spending reductions.
Hoyer went on to say he still supports a compromise on a deficit reduction package that incorporates increasing revenue, cutting discretionary spending and overhauling the way the federal government pays for entitlement programs such as Social Security and Medicare, but added that he "highly resent[s]" lawmakers who aren't willing to pay for programs already on the books.
"I just think it was an unfortunate concept that when we ask America to pay our bills to defend our shores, to help our fellow citizens, to educate our children, to build our roads, to do research into health afflictions to our people, that that is somehow stealing the people's money," Hoyer said. "Frankly, if you elect people that think taxes are stealing, then we're going to be in the position we're in today. Then we ought to not buy anything, including national security. We're not willing to pay for it. I highly resent people who want to spend my children, grandchildren and two great-grandchildren's money. We ought to be spending our money now on these objectives because they're going to have the requirement in their time to spend their money on their defense, health care, education, et cetera."