Hoyer on the House Floor: Shutting Down the Government is the Wrong Thing to Do

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“Isn't it a shame, I tell my friend who just spoke, that his colleagues objected to unanimous consent request yesterday which would have taken care of the problem he raises today? There's not a person on this Floor that doesn't want to make sure that our men and women in harm's way and in uniform ready to be put in harm's way are paid on time. But we're playing a political game here—a game of got you, a game of my way or the highway—not a game of coming together from all over the country and trying to make laws for our country that require compromise.
“Henry Clay, one of the first Speakers of this House from the state of Kentucky, said ‘if you can't compromise, you cannot govern.’ That's why we are on the brink of shutting down government. We ask for unanimous consent, I’m going to tell you we're going to ask for another unanimous consent that will accomplish exactly what the gentleman from Texas wanted to accomplish. I hope that none of you object. I hope that all of you will say, ‘yes, enough of these games; let's do what Republicans and Democrats have historically done when they reached an impasse at this time.’ They said, well, we'll keep things in place and we'll create a bridge across which we can all pass to get to compromise, to get to agreement. That's what the American people expect us to do.
“Mr. Speaker, I understand for some in this Chamber shutting down the government is a way of making a point. That's why they have included in this bill to fund the troops some of their social agenda. That's why they want to shut down the government, because they want to force the President to do something he has told the American people he would not do. Now, ladies and gentlemen, when the Democrats were in charge of the House and Senate and we disagreed with George Bush, we did not shut down the government. We said, ‘Mr. President, we understand. You disagree with this. So we can't do it.’ Not ‘because you won't do it, Mr. President, we'll shut down the government.’ That's what's happening here. It's not about dollars and cents and it's not about funding the military. That's the image that's being created because we are all sympathetic and committed to funding our men and women in harm's way. That's the right thing to do. It's the moral thing to do. It's what we ought to be doing.
“I hope when I ask for a unanimous consent to do that today, that unlike yesterday the Republicans will not object. I want every member to be aware of the consequences for millions of Americans of shutting down government. A shut down would put our economic recovery, our housing market, and paychecks at risk. And, yes, every person listening to me will be affected in one way or another.
“It's the wrong thing to do. Who said it was the wrong thing to do? Speaker John Boehner who said it would cost more to shut down the government than to keep it running. He is absolutely right. Goldman Sachs has estimated that I quote ‘if a shut down lasted more than two days, it would shave .2 of a percent for every week it continues.’ What's that mean? It means jobs. We have been here for 90 days. We are in our third -- fourth month. With no jobs legislation. Goldman Sachs went on to say ‘when the government shut down for 20 days in late 1995… the nation's economic growth was slowed by as much as a percentage point.’ That means jobs.
“This is a very inefficient political tactic and prank to play on the American people. CQ reports business leaders also understand averting a shutdown is crucial to our economic recovery. That is why, again, I hope you'll agree to my unanimous consent to keep the government open while we continue to negotiate, while we continue to try to get to an agreement. Congressional Quarterly also points out that, quote,’in the event of a shut down the Small Business Administration would not guarantee loans for business working capital, real estate investment, or job creation activities.’ It makes no sense to shut down the government. My friends, when they say, the Democrats in the Senate, let me tell you why the Democrats in the Senate can't move things forward, because they can't get 60 votes. Why can't they get 60 votes? Because the Republican Leader of the United States Senate will not let any of his Republicans join the 53 Democrats in the Senate to get to 60. Ladies and gentlemen, we ought not to shut down this government.”