msnbc | February 23, 2012
>>> maryland congressman steny hoyer joins me now live in new york . and congressman, good to see you, thanks so much for being on the show.
>> good to be with you, luke. thanks very much.
>> number one, this hearing, it wasn't an official capitol hill hearing per se . what are the politics behind this? are you guys having a hearing like this today in order to try to stretch the issue out during a recess week. you've had republicans on a defensive last week when issa wouldn't allow the panel. how much of this is politics?
>> i think that everything we do in some sense is politics in the best sense of educating people of informing them, of giving them the different viewpoints that are being represented on capitol hill . and i think here we have a purpose example of the republican chairman of the committee wanted to shut out a particular perspective that sandra represents. and in fact, i believe the overwhelming majority of americans support. so what is going on today is an opportunity to give that perspective, which was censored and shut out last week an opportunity to be heard by the american public so they can draw their own conclusions, which is what we ought to be doing in a democracy. to that extent, certainly, that's politics of america . it is certainly not partisan in the sense that this issue, i think, enjoys overwhelming support among republicans, independents, and democrats in terms of making sure that a woman has the option and to ensure her own health and she has the ability to get coverage for a needed health issue.
>> how much does talking about contraception social issues do you believe help you in trying to win those 25 seats you need to claim the majority. is this a good topic ultimately thought to be about the economy. do you think contraception could play a huge role in these if these issues come back?
>> i think the republicans have had to use issues to distract the economic issues they pursue which are not good for average working men and women across this land. and i think the democrats need to be focused and we are focused on the creation of jobs.
>> today there was a hearing about contraception. on a recess week.
>> yes, that's correct. and i'm up in new york right now talking about jobs. and literally hundreds of democratic members around this country talking about jobs. we just passed a bill last week that the republicans opposed for a long period of time, ultimately supported which is designed to spur the economy, to give average working americans continuation of their tax debts so they'll have $1,000 extra in their pockets, make sure the unemployed don't get left behind and make sure docs are available to serve seniors. so that has been a great focus over the last three months. so this issue came up. it's an issue that's an important issue for women's health and ought to be addressed. and that's what's being done today. there'll be issues that come up. but the continuing, ongoing focus of our party and of our country and our president, is how we grow the economy, create jobs, make sure the american dream is available for our people and then we expand, not contract the middle class .
>> another issue that is very prevalent for you, the issue of gay marriage , obviously it's moving forward through some capacity in the state of maryland . and i want yo you u to react.
>> let's have the president of the united states show some courage, come on this program. look into the camera like i'm looking into the camera and state his position. he won't because he wants to have it both ways.
>> what's your response to governor christie? and what do you see is the path way forward ?
>> i think the president's response would be maryland has chosen to move forward on this path and that's a proper path for them to pursue if that's what the legislation wants to do. i think, frankly, the president would applaud the maryland legislature for having the courage to move forward and say we're going to treat all of our citizens equally. so i think that would be the president's response to governor christie. this is an issue that the maryland legislature has dealt with. i think the senate's going to pass it, and i think, as well, it'll be put to referendum and the people have an opportunity to vote on it.
>> congressman steny hoyer , thank you so much for the time. year of the turtle, my