Katie Grant, 202-225-3130
WASHINGTON, DC - House Democratic Whip Steny H. Hoyer (MD) spoke on the House Floor today urging Republicans to allow a vote on legislation extending middle class tax cuts while fiscal cliff negotiations continue. Below are his remarks and a link to the video:
Click here to watch the video.
“Thank you very much Mr. Speaker. I thank my friend for yielding. I want to thank the Chairman of the Rules Committee for his efforts as well. Ladies and gentlemen of this House, we talk a lot, correctly, about creating certainty, alleviating uncertainty – alleviating angst among our people and among our economy. We have an opportunity to bring certainty to a large segment of America that they will not receive a tax increase on January 1.
“We have that ability because the United States Senate has acted on a bill which will allow us to do that. And even if we don't take their bill up - we could take a bill that Tim Walz has introduced - Congressman Walz has introduced a bill which will say to the 98% that we've talked about: you won't get a tax increase. I think that we have agreement on that, as the Gentleman from Texas [Rep. Pete Sessions] indicated. We have agreement on that.
“I think there's not anybody here or very, very few at least, on either side of the aisle who doesn't say that those who are making $250,000 or less as families or $200,000 as individuals or less, shouldn't get a tax increase. Now there are some who say that those above should not get a tax increase either, I understand that, but we have disagreement on that.
“The American people are frustrated by the fact that, even that on which we have agreement, we can't move. That's their frustration. They understand we have policy differences. But they're hopeful that when at least we have agreement on an issue we can move it. And if we did so, think of the confidence, and [Rep. Tom] Cole – he had your job as Chairman of the [National Republican Congressional] Campaign Committee – said let's pass this. Let's give the middle class, the working people of America a Christmas present. A sense of certainty, a sense of self-confidence, a sense of well being - that would be good for our economy but certainly good for them individually and as families as well. So I would urge my colleagues on the Republican side and my colleagues on the Democratic side: vote against the previous question.
“Now, that's somewhat esoteric, Mr. Speaker, and those watching [are] probably [asking] ‘what does that mean, ‘vote against the previous question?’ That's some political jargon they use in Washington.’ What it means is, if we vote against the previous question, we will be empowered to bring forward the middle class tax cut bill. And we'll put it on the Floor, and Mr. Walz will be our leader on this because he's put it in the hopper. We'll put that on the Floor and every member of this House, all 433 of us here – [out of] 435 members – will have the opportunity to say to the American people: ‘yes.’ Yes, on December 12, we're going to tell you that, on January 1, your taxes will not go up. Give us that opportunity. Give us that opportunity to say ‘yes’ to the American middle class. Give us the opportunity to say ‘yes’ to certainty in our economy. Give us the opportunity to say ‘yes,’ we agree on something, and aren't you proud of the fact that when we agree, your Congress can act. Let's say ‘yes.’
“Vote ‘no’ on the previous question and then vote ‘yes’ for the middle class. I yield back the balance of my time.”