Katie Grant, 202-225-3130
WASHINGTON, DC - House Democratic Whip Steny H. Hoyer (MD) spoke on the House Floor today against the debt limit resolution of disapproval. Below are his remarks and a link to the video.
“The previous Speaker voted to go deeply into debt. Frankly, I voted for some of those programs myself. Two of which were to support the efforts in Afghanistan and Iraq. We didn't pay for them. As has been said - I didn't vote for it initially, but I think it's a good program, we made it better - the prescription drug program, the gentleman wasn't here when we passed that, but we didn't pay for it. And he's correct, it doesn't matter which side didn't pay for it. We haven't paid for it. This bill is about whether or not we're going to stand up and say, yes, we voted to pay for it but, guess what, we had our fingers crossed, we're not going to do it. We said we were going to do this. We took some tough action. Both sides joined together, both leaderships joined together and said we're going to do this.
“Now, this bill is a phony. This is posturing. This is politics. This is pure politics because the United States Senate has already rejected this bill and only one House needed to reject it. We are going to have an extension of the debt. An extension of the debt will simply mean that those items that we voted on will be paid for, that we won't welch on our debts, that America will pay its debts. Now, this bill is about, oh, no, let's not pay our debts. Let's pretend they don't occur. We don't really have to pay them. America welching on their debts won't have consequences. People believe if we welch on our debts it will have extraordinary consequences and, as a matter of fact, it’s having consequences on this economy right now as we speak. It's undermining the confidence of America that we have this confrontation about whether America was going to pay its bills.
“I rise, Mr. Speaker, to urge my colleagues to vote down this resolution of disapproval, which is transparently political and which will do nothing to secure our nation's fiscal future. In fact, this resolution is premised on the assumption that the American people are ignorant – I don't believe it – ignorant about America’s fiscal challenges. As often as some in this House attempt to falsely persuade the American people that raising the debt ceiling means taking on more debt, we are here to repeat the truth: this is about paying the bills we have already incurred. The American people understand that fact, as evidenced by their disgust with the partisan brinksmanship that almost brought America to the brink of default.
“What Americans want to see is us coming together to take real action on two issues that are deeply concerned about: jobs and our debt and deficit. One of the most important things we can do to reduce the deficit is to create jobs, grow our economy, and get people back to work. The President has put forward the American Jobs Act which incorporates many elements of House Democrats’ Make It In America agenda to create jobs. I hope my Republican colleagues bring it to the House Floor for a vote as soon as possible.
“Over the long term, though, we must lay out a path to restore fiscal sustainability. And the only path that is feasible – fiscally, politically and morally – is one that is balanced and asks everyone to pay their fair share, not let some of the special interests and favored few be left out of the obligations to bring fiscal responsibility to this nation. All of us need to be included. A balanced solution is favored by an overwhelming majority of Americans and even 3/4 of Republicans. The Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction must put aside partisan politics and put some hard choices on the table, choices that encompass both spending and revenue. And we must support their efforts to reach agreement. That's what the American people deserve. That's the difference between posturing on our fiscal future as this vote today does and leading on our fiscal future.
“I urge my colleagues: let's vote down this empty resolution which is a pretense, a pretend, a statement that we don't like debt. Nobody likes the debt we've incurred, and everybody ought to join together in paying it down. Ladies and gentlemen, this is an issue of responsibility. It's not always easy. It's not always politically popular. We've incurred a debt. It's our responsibility collectively, not as Republicans or Democrats, but as Americans to come together and pay down this debt and not pretend that simply by defeating a resolution or passing a resolution of so-called disapproval which is already a dead letter and everybody on your side of the aisle knows it's a dead letter because the Senate has already voted. This is just a statement that I don't like debt. None of us like debt. Let's join together and reduce it as we did in the 1990's.”