Katie Grant, 202-225-3130
WASHINGTON, DC - House Democratic Whip Steny H. Hoyer (MD) spoke on the House Floor today in opposition to a Republican bill which would pass their spending bill again and declare it to be law without a Senate vote or the President’s signature. See below for a video and a transcript of his remarks:
“April fool's, America. This is a joke, America. This is not real, America. As a matter of fact, Mr. Woodall of Georgia says it's not real; it's not going to pass the Senate. He made that very clear. The Majority Leader just said if the Senate won't take what we give them we're going to shut down the government. That's what he just said. And that's what I believe to be the case.
“The last time the government shut down was not when we had a Republican president and a Democratic Congress, but when we had a Democratic president and a Republican Congress. They shut down the government in 1995 and 1996. They shut down the government over Christmas, as a matter of fact. The Grinch who stole the government's operations for almost three weeks. We're about to do it again.
“Mr. Woodall who has been here now a few months was 10 years old when I came to the Congress of the United States. He mentioned something about the debt. This $14 trillion of debt. I've only been here, I tell my friend, 30 years, but during the course of those 30 years, Republican presidents have signed bills spending $4.8 trillion in deficit spending. During the course of the Clinton administration we had a surplus, as the gentleman probably knows. Now he will say presumably [it was] because we had a Republican Congress. But of course the Republicans not only took the Congress but they took the presidency in 2001 and they ran up $2.5 trillion of deficit and increased the national debt by 150% notwithstanding the fact that they inherited a projected $5.6 trillion surplus.
“And now they've passed this April fool's joke on America. The gentleman, who is one of the co-sponsors says won't pass the Senate, we know it won't pass the Senate. But they pretend in their language what is clearly contrary to the Constitution. Because they say, if it doesn't pass, the provisions of H.R. 1, the bill they've sent to the Senate, passed by the house on February 19, 2011, are hereby enacted into law. In other words, we're going to deem it passed.
“Let me tell what you Eric Cantor said about deeming it passed: ‘Malfeasant manner to discharge the duties of their office.’ And then let me tell you what Speaker Boehner said about these deeming pieces of legislation, which this is, he said it was a scheme and plot that set a precedent that was ‘one of the most outrageous things that he seen since he had been in Congress’ and erroneously claimed that it ‘never happened in American history.’ It had happened before. This has never happened, where the House of Representatives took the position if you don't pass what we want, ours goes into law anyway. I'm sure our Tea Party friends are shocked because they will find nowhere in the constitution, my friends, does that provide for.
“Furthermore, Mike Pence said the procedure like this, he said, denounced deem and pass ‘trampling on the traditional rules of the House and the Senate and even on the Constitution of the United States of America.’ Michelle Bachmann, apparently may be a candidate for president said this, that deem and pass ‘ignored the constitution and warranted the impeachment of the House Speaker… there should be people that are calling for impeachment off of something like this.’
“This resolution… something like this which says contrary to the constitution, if the Senate doesn't act, this bill becomes law. Nobody on your side surely believes that that can happen. Nobody believes that that joke that we are trying to play on the American people on April Fool’s Day will be believed by any of them.
“And my friends, do not tell me about your concern about the deficit, because the deficit during my period of time except for the last two years trying to deal with the deep depression in which the last administration left this economy, don't try to tell me that we are responsible for the debt, the $14 trillion of debt. Surely my friend knows that's not the case. If my friend doesn't know it, I would be glad to set up a time when we can debate that issue and in any form he chooses because the facts belie his representation.
“My friends, reject this bill, reject this bill because it is a fraud on the American public. Reject this bill because it's an attempt to shift blame from the House of Representatives passing a bill that can in fact pass. Not to say to the Senate our way or no way and we will shut down the government because that's what this bill says. I yield back the balance of my time.”