Hoyer: This is How The Congress Ought to Work

For Immediate Release:

May 3, 2017

Contact:

Mariel Saez 202-225-3130

WASHINGTON, DC - House Democratic Whip Steny H. Hoyer (MD) delivered remarks on the House Floor this afternoon on legislation to fund the government for the remainder of the fiscal year, which passed the House today:

Click here to watch a video of his remarks.

“It is clear that Democratic Members' participation is absolutely essential if we are going to pass fiscal bills and appropriation bills. I’m glad that the Republican leadership came to that conclusion and worked with us to advance this omnibus to the Floor.

“I will support this omnibus funding bill. It's not a perfect bill, but no bill that we bring to the Floor is a perfect bill. It is a compromise that includes provisions that Democrats and Republicans want to see passed.

“It does not include poison pill riders that would prevent Democratic support, or frankly, Republican support. It does not fund President Trump's border wall, which of course, he had promised the American people that they would not pay for.

“Furthermore, it includes health benefits for America’s coal miners and their families and funds Puerto Rico's Medicaid challenge. This omnibus also adds additional funding for the National Institutes of Health, something that all of us ought to support, including Vice President Biden's Cancer Moonshot, as well as Pell Grants, disaster relief, international famine aid, and funding to fight opioid addiction.

“It is a product of frank and thorough negotiations conducted by Ranking Member Nita Lowey and Chairman Frelinghuysen, both of whom are positive leaders of the Appropriations Committee and of this House. I congratulate them and their staffs for their hard work to reach this funding agreement.

“The Congress should not have waited this long to act, Mr. Speaker. It is now seven months into the fiscal year. We should not allow this to happen again. It has happened too often and happened under both parties. But it's not the way to run the greatest enterprise on earth, the federal government of the United States of America. We must get back to dealing with appropriation bills in a timely and discrete manner, appropriation bill by appropriation bill.

“It is important we go from these successful negotiations into talks in the same spirit of compromise to pass appropriation bills through regular order for Fiscal Year 2018 before the end of September, and we are very late in doing this process.

“I was very much alarmed by President Trump's tweet yesterday suggesting that he would welcome a government shutdown. It is this kind of flippant, uninformed, and irresponsible approach as opposed to what ought to be seen as a bipartisan process that puts us again at the 11th hour, often months past the original deadline trying to keep the government open. We ought to do better. And we must do better. And I hope that bipartisan process that brought us this omnibus bill will show us that we can do better.

“And in that context, I want to thank Mr. Frelinghuysen with whom I have served for a long period of time both on the Committee and as a colleague in the House of Representatives. And I want to thank Mrs. Lowey with whom I served for 23 years on the Appropriations Committee and with whom I have served in my capacity as leader and herself as a leader on the Appropriations Committee.

“This represents today what the Congress ought to be, how it ought to work, and what the American people expect. As we vote today on this bill, let us say to us individually, to ourselves, let us continue this kind of cooperative, positive, constructive work.”

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