Hoyer: Democratic Unity on Budget is a Sign of Good Things to Come

WASHINGTON, DC – House Democratic Whip Steny H. Hoyer (D-MD) released the following statement today regarding the votes in the U.S. House last night on the 2004 Republican Budget Resolution and the Democratic alternative:

“Last night, the House Democratic Caucus demonstrated tremendous unity during the debate on the budget and gave the Republican Majority a run for its money.  Our unity against the irresponsible Republican budget and in support of the Democratic alternative is a sign of good things to come for House Democrats as we move forward.

“Democrats were criticized in the last election for not drawing a bright line between ourselves and the Republicans, and not having a budget resolution last year contributed to that perception.  Last night, Democrats made it crystal clear that we stand for making the right investments in our country and will not stand idly by while the Republican Party takes this country down a risky road of large tax cuts for the few while leaving behind veterans, children and senior citizens.

“The fact is, the Republican Budget Resolution passed on final passage by the narrow margin of 215 to 212, but only after the GOP leadership held the 15-minute vote open for 26 minutes and ‘encouraged’ a chosen few members on their side of the aisle to switch their votes. 

“This year’s Democratic budget received the most support of any Democratic budget alternative since Democrats lost the House in 1994. 

“At times it has been difficult for the House Democrats to craft an alternative budget with broad support within the Caucus.   There was doubt that it would be possible this year.  But the job of whipping up support for the budget was made easier this year because of Budget Committee Ranking Member John Spratt’s successful efforts to put together a superb Democratic alternative. 

“The House Democratic leadership and dozens of hard-working and focused members started working with John weeks ago to build support.   In the end, we crafted a fiscally responsible budget that would jump start the economy, that would make the right investments in our country and that nearly all Democrats, from conservatives to progressives, could support. 

“Our unity this year was truly outstanding.  Although our alternative was defeated, there was rock-solid opposition to the Republican budget and 12 Republicans abandoned their party to join with Democrats in opposition to GOP budget plan.  Only one Democrat of 206 supported the GOP budget.

“I would like to thank House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi and Budget Committee Ranking Member John Spratt for their leadership in this effort, and the members of the Whip Organization for all their hard work in whipping this important vote over the past few weeks.

“As we move forward in the 108th Congress, this diverse Democratic Caucus will always be respectful and proud of our differences and diversity.  However, we are determined to unite in support of our shared values and to vigorously challenge this Majority.”

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