Hoyer: The Democratic Budget Alternative Has The Right Priorities for America

For Immediate Release:

March 20, 2013

Contact:

Stephanie Young, 202-225-3130

WASHINGTON, DC - House Democratic Whip Steny H. Hoyer (MD) spoke on the House Floor this afternoon in opposition to the House Republican budget and in support of the House Democratic budget alternative. Below are his remarks and a link to the video:

Click here to watch the video.

“I first want to thank the Ranking Member for the work that he's done on this budget that he offers as an alternative. It is a reasonable alternative that can be implemented. To that extent, a stark difference to the Majority's proposal, which will not be implemented – and they know it.

“Let me start with an observation. [New York Times] headline: ‘Blunt Report Says G.O.P. Needs to Regroup for '16.’ In that [article] there is this sentence from the [Republican] report, not from a Democrat, not from the newspaper, not from an editorial writer – quote: ‘We have become expert,’ we being the Republican party, ‘we have become expert in how to provide ideological reinforcement to like-minded people.’ With all due respect to my friend, Mr. Ryan, that's what his budget is. It is a vision. It is a vision that will not be implemented, and he knows it.

“He knows that the Appropriations Committee will not be able to report out bills consistent with his budget, nor will the Ways and Means Committee come even close to reporting out bills that will implement his budget. Why? Because they're so draconian. And, as I have said before, if every Democrat were taken out of this House and every Democrat taken out of the Senate, [Republicans] would not implement the Ryan budget.

“Now, Mr. Van Hollen has put together a balanced plan. Yes, it has revenues. And, yes, it keeps the Affordable Care Act in place. And, yes, it provides for funding for investment in growing our economy. Mr. Ryan knows – and I have great respect for Mr. Ryan, I have great respect for his intellect and, frankly, from time to time for his political courage. We voted together, we voted together on TARP. That was a tough vote for him. It was a tough vote for me. It was a tough vote, period. But it was the right vote for the economy. We would have been in a depression had we not voted for that bill. And I congratulate Mr. Ryan on doing that. But I lament the fact that we do not have an equally honest but tough resolution of a big deal in how to get from where we are – too much debt, too much deficit – to where we need to be: a fiscally sustainable path.

“We will not get there, I tell my friend, by vision alone. Courage will be much more important than vision in that case. And Mr. Van Hollen has shown courage by offering a budget that will provide for our people, for our country, and for our economy. I urge all my colleagues to support the Van Hollen alternative. Why? Because it is a responsible, fiscally implementable - there's a word for you - fiscally doable alternative.

“To my friend's budget that cannot possibly be implemented, let me say: Ezra Klein, who might not be your favorite writer, says ‘Ryan's tax reform plan costs more than all his spending cuts combined.’ That's why I say it can't be implemented. If we were in private, and there was no politics involved, I think my friend would admit that. He shakes his head no. I didn't expect anything differently than that.

“Ladies and gentlemen, this is an important statement of vision. It's an important statement of what our priorities are. It's an important statement to the American people – to seniors, to students, to families, to children – where our priorities are. The Van Hollen priorities are the right priorities for America, and I urge my colleagues to support the Van Hollen alternative.”

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