Congressman Steny H. Hoyer of Maryland's Fifth Congressional District is now serving his second term as the House Democratic Whip, the second-ranking position among House Democrats. Congressman Hoyer was unanimously elected by his colleagues in the Democratic Caucus to serve in this leadership position, in which Hoyer is charged with building unity among House Democrats and delivering the Democratic Party's message.
Congressman Hoyer's service as Whip makes him the highest-ranking Member of Congress from Maryland in history. Now serving his 13th term in Congress, he also is the longest-serving Member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Southern Maryland in history.
Congressman Hoyer's experience, know-how and strong work ethic have led to increasing responsibilities within the House Democratic leadership. He served as Chair of the Democratic Caucus, the fourth-ranking position among House Democrats, from 1989 to 1994. He is the former Co-Chair (and a current member) of the Democratic Steering Committee, served as the chief candidate recruiter for House Democrats from 1995 to 2000, and currently continues to actively recruit candidates around the country. He also served as Deputy Majority Whip from 1987 to 1989.
A Record of Achievement
In a July 2003 profile of Congressman Hoyer as the new Democratic Whip, the Baltimore Sun stated: "[Hoyer] is earning credit for his party's rare victories and for keeping Democrats more united in defeat than at any time in recent memory." Even before Hoyer ascended to the position of Whip, the Washington Post commented in an editorial in 2000: "Mr. Hoyer's ability to get things done in the House . . . is well-known."
In Congress, Steny Hoyer has built an outstanding record of achievement and earned a reputation as a strong leader, a skilled legislator and a committed consensus builder. He gained wide acclaim in the 107th Congress (2001-2002) for guiding the Help America Vote Act to House passage and producing a House-Senate Conference Report that was signed into law by President Bush on Oct. 29, 2002. Washington Post columnist David Broder called this comprehensive election reform legislation "the most significant piece of election law since [the] Voting Rights Act."
Congressman Hoyer also shepherded the Americans With Disabilities Act to overwhelming approval in the House in 1990, and it was signed into law by President George H.W. Bush. This landmark civil rights legislation has helped millions of disabled Americans enter the workforce, achieve independence and go as far as their talents take them.
In addition, Congressman Hoyer guided the Federal Employee Pay Comparability Act (FEPCA) to House passage. It was signed into law in November 1990. FEPCA was a major effort to restructure the pay system for Federal employees, and attempts to ensure fairness in pay and comparability to similar work outside the Federal government.
Committee Assignments: Wielding Influence and Getting Results
Through his committee assignments and leadership positions, Congressman Hoyer aggressively advocates for his Fifth District constituents and also is a respected voice on national and international issues. He is a senior Member of the House Appropriations Committee, serving on two Subcommittees: Subcommittee on Transportation, Treasury and Housing; and Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies.
Congressman Hoyer has secured funding for numerous important projects in the Fifth Congressional District that he represents (Calvert, Charles and St. Mary's counties and portions of Prince George's and Anne Arundel counties) and throughout the State of Maryland. He also has worked to ensure that the military bases in the Fifth District not only survived base closings in the 1980s and 1990s but grew and thrived.
On the Transportation, Treasury and General Government Appropriations Subcommittee, Congressman Hoyer is widely recognized as a national leader on issues affecting Federal employees and retirees. In addition to guiding FEPCA to passage, he fights year in and year out for fair pay and benefits for Federal employees, and has secured funding for telecommuting centers that allow Federal workers to work closer to home and spend more time with their families.
He also is a strong proponent of Federal law enforcement efforts that fall within the Subcommittee's jurisdiction, securing funding for innovative crime-fighting projects such as the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area Program, Gang Resistance Education and Treatment Program, and the Youth Crime Gun Interdiction Initiative. In addition, he is a long-time supporter of the COPS on the Beat Program, which has meant more than $30 million in Federal funding to hire more than 700 police officers in the Fifth District.
On the Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education, Congressman Hoyer is a champion for education and funding for the Class Size Reduction Initiative, Head Start and teacher training programs. He leads the fight to increase funding for immunization and works to raise public awareness about the importance of immunizing children.
Congressman Hoyer also is well-recognized for his efforts to make the House more efficient and "customer friendly." He is the former Ranking Member of the Committee on House Administration, which oversees the internal operations of the House, and has played an important role on policy issues ranging from election reform and campaign finance reform to exposing fire code violations in the Capitol and enhancing the security of the Capitol complex in the aftermath of September 11. He also is a former Member of the Appropriations Subcommittee on the Legislative Branch, where he fought for pro-institution policies such as sufficient funding for the Capitol Police and cost-of-living adjustments for employees of legislative agencies.
Steny Hoyer also is a widely respected voice on foreign policy and international affairs. As the former Chair and Ranking Democrat of the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe (the Helsinki Commission), he championed the cause of human rights, individual freedoms, democracy and religious liberties throughout the world. He called for decisive U.S. and NATO action to stop the carnage throughout the former Yugoslavia, and, more recently, condemned the repressive tactics of Afghanistan's former ruling regime, the Taliban; recognized the danger posed by that government before the terrorist attacks of September 11; and urged action against genocide in Sudan.
Always Advocating for His Constituents
In the Fifth Congressional District, Congressman Hoyer continues to be a leader for economic development and jobs. He helped bring 4,000 IRS jobs to New Carrollton; preserved 5,000 jobs and helped add 5,000 more jobs at the Patuxent River Naval Air Station; helped to keep open the Naval Surface Warfare Center at Indian Head, preserving 3,000 jobs; helped win the reversal of a closure recommendation at St. Inigoes, preserving more than 1,600 jobs; and blocked an effort to close Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, saving more than 3,000 civil service and approximately 6,000 contractor positions.
He also works hard to protect our natural resources. In addition to supporting every major piece of environmental legislation while in Congress, he co-sponsored the "Chesapeake Bay Restoration Act," providing funds to protect the Bay and its tributaries; secured more than $10 million in the 1990s to respond to Pfiesteria and to study its effects on humans; and champions the efforts to replenish the declining oyster population of the Bay and to restore the Potomac, Patuxent and St. Mary's rivers.
A Commitment to Public Service and Southern Maryland
Steny Hoyer graduated from Suitland High School in Prince George's County. In 1963, he graduated with high honors from the University of Maryland and was selected "Outstanding Male Graduate." In 1966, he received his law degree from Georgetown University Law Center. That same year, at the age of 27, he won a seat in the Maryland Senate, after campaigning on a fair housing platform.
In 1975, he was elected President of the Senate, the youngest ever in state history, and served in that body until 1978. He also was a member of the State Board of Higher Education from 1978 to 1981, the year in which he came to Congress after winning a special election.
Congressman Hoyer currently serves on the Naval Academy Board of Visitors, and the St. Mary's College Board of Trustees. He also is a former member of the Board of Regents of the University System of Maryland. He and his wife, the late Judith Pickett Hoyer, have three daughters, Susan, Stefany and Anne; and three grandchildren, Judy, James Cleveland, and Alexa.