Steny HoyerTwo hot-button political issues were tied to the Boston Marathon bombings on Tuesday, as both conservatives and liberals used the event to push their respective policy agendas.
On the conservative side, several conseravatives have suggested that the Boston Marathon attacks should delay the debate over immigration reform, which was expected to begin in the Senate this week.
Meanwhile, top liberals and Democrats used the incident as an excuse to rail against the across-the-board budget cuts known as the sequester, arguing that the attacks show the importance of a “well-funded government.”
Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa), a prominent conservative known for his controversial statements, told National Review Online that Congress should wait to move on immigration until a suspect is identified.
“Some of the speculation that has come out is that yes, it was a foreign national and, speculating here, that it was potentially a person on a student visa,” King told NRO. “If that’s the case, then we need to take a look at the big picture.”
“If we can’t background-check people that are coming from Saudi Arabia,” he added, “how do we think we are going to background check the 11 to 20 million people that are here from who knows where?”
His sentiments were echoed by conservative radio host Laura Ingraham, who said on her radio show Tuesday morning that she didn’t feel there were stringent enough background checks on people entering the country.
“It’s interesting that at this moment, we are considering legalizing or giving legalized status to millions of people,” Ingraham said. “Pretty much none of them have gone through any rigorous background checks.”
Both statements came before officials said that the Saudi national was being treated as a witness, and not a suspect.
Meanwhile, Democrats, including House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer, the Minority Whip, and former Massachusetts Congressman Barney Frank, used the incident to call for a boost in government spending.
“I think this is another proof of that — if proof is needed,” Hoyer said, according to Talking Points Memo, when asked by a reporter whether the Boston Marathon bombings provided more cause for addressing the sequester cuts.
Added Frank on CNN: “I never was, as a member of Congress, one of the cheerleaders for less government, lower taxes. No tax cut would have helped us deal with this or will help us recover. This is very expensive.”
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