Hoyer Criticizes House

GOP Leaders' Hypocrisy

Few Democrats fulminated more vigorously than Rep. Steny H. Hoyer (D-Md.) when GOP House leaders extended a roll call last week to enable them to pressure nine colleagues to switch their votes and kill a measure the leadership opposed. Yesterday, however, the minority whip said he might do the same thing if Democrats regain the majority.

At his weekly news conference, Hoyer renewed criticism of Republican leaders for extending five votes in the past 16 months to twist enough arms to turn apparent party defeats into victories. The Republicans are hypocrites, he said, because they had denounced Democrats for using the same tactics in the early 1990s.

But when asked, "You are not pledging if you guys get back in the majority that you won't do the same thing?" Hoyer replied, "I am not." The difference, he said, is that Republicans once called the practice corrupt, adding, "If I thought it was a corrupt practice, I would have opposed it." It is acceptable, he said, to do "something that you feel [is needed] as a practical matter to attain the objective of the passage of legislation in a time frame," provided hypocrisy is not involved.

For the Record

* The Justice Department and Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.) are battling in court as well as on Capitol Hill over President Bush's appointment of former Alabama attorney general William H. Pryor to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit, based in Atlanta. The department said this week it plans to contest a brief Kennedy filed July 2 contesting the legitimacy of the appointment during a 10-day recess in February, the only appointment to occur during such a short congressional hiatus.

* The Navy routinely paid exorbitant telephone bills, wasted calling plan minutes and could not identify who made credit card calls from Norfolk that in some cases lasted for days, the Government Accountability Office said in an investigative report.

-- From News Services

and Staff Reports