- (Photo: Reuters/Jessica Rinaldi)
House minority Whip Steny Hoyer, a Democrat, is generating criticism after making controversial statements Tuesday regarding yesterday's tragic bombings at the Boston Marathon and the automatic spending cuts which took hold in the federal government in March.
When asked by a reporter at his weekly press briefing on Tuesday if he believes Monday's bombings prove that sequestration should end, Hoyer, considered to be a top Democrat, responded:
"I think there are multiple reasons for ensuring that we invest in our security both domestic and international security. That we invest in the education of our children, that we invest in growing jobs in America and don't pursue any irrational policy of cutting the highest priorities and the lowest priorities by essentially the same percentage," Hoyer told reporters.
"I think this is another proof of that, if proof is needed, which I don't think frankly it is," Hoyer added, in reference to the bombings.
Hoyer said that yesterday's bombings represent "clearly another place where it demonstrates why having the ability to address security concerns is important."
Hoyer went on to assert that he doubts sequestration is having an impact presently on the Boston Marathon investigation.
"I doubt that [the sequestration is] having any impact presently," Hoyer told the reporters.
"And the reason for that, this is a priority item and I'm sure they're shifting what resources are necessary," Hoyer continued, adding that even if the investigation has "shorter resources than they otherwise would have had, I'm sure they're putting all the resources necessary on this effort. Certainly on the federal level; I think the president's made that pretty clear."
Hoyer's comments have drawn criticism from conservatives who argue the lead Democrat is politicizing a national tragedy.
"Terrorists have been trying and sometimes succeeding to attack Americans in America long before the sequester. Which, by the way, was the Obama White House's idea," conservative website PJ Media wrote in response to Hoyer's comments.
"If Steny Hoyer really has a problem with the sequester, he should take it up with President Barack Obama, and not be a ridiculous partisan hack about it," the conservative website added.
Additionally, an article by The Atlantic Wire referenced Hoyer's comments when discussing the "tasteless" nature of politicizing a tragedy.
Megyn Kelly, host of Fox News' "America Live with Megyn Kelly," called Hoyer's comments "unfortunate."
"Is today the day for that? Over such a controversial issue?" Kelly asked Fox News digital politics editor Chris Sitrewalt.
"By the way, the reason we had the sequester is because our lawmakers on both sides of the aisle passed it," Kelly continued.
"This is a bipartisan doing, that the president signed into law, and is this any time to be pointing the fingers on something like that? It's like there's no waiting period any more, no mourning period, and there used to be."
Conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh also pointed to some members of the Democratic Party working politics into the bombing, saying that the media is trying to "advance the left's political agenda."
Others, however, have reported on Hoyer's comments from a different angle, arguing that the Democratic Whip was suggesting the sequester will have no effect on the Boston marathon's investigation.
Yahoo! News, for example, chose to report only on the latter part of Hoyer's comments, in which the Whip expresses "doubt that [the sequestration is] having any impact presently."
Yesterday, two bombs exploded at the Boston Marathon at roughly 2:50 p.m. near the finish line of the athletic competition.
Although injury reports remain fluid, media outlets are currently reporting over 100 people injured and three people killed due to the blasts.
President Barack Obama spoke Tuesday morning, calling the bombings a "heinous and cowardly ... act of terrorism."
The FBI is investigating the bombings, but there are reportedly no suspects currently in custody.