Hoyer: It's Time For Congress To Come Together to Avert the Fiscal Cliff

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Transcript: 

“There is, of course, a time for partisanship. There is a time for making our political points, and that time has been and it will be again. That time is not tonight.

“All of us have traveled throughout this country and we have heard our constituents and our neighbors and our friends say: ‘please don't have us go over the cliff.’ They’re not sure exactly what ‘going over the cliff’ means, but they intuitively and deeply feel that it will not be good to go over that cliff. And so we come to this Floor tonight with almost everyone who has spoken [saying] this bill is not perfect. And, of course, that observation could be applied to any and all bills that we consider in this House.

“Compromise is not the art of perfection. By its very definition, a compromise contains elements that neither side likes, but it also contains pieces both sides can embrace.

"What we will do tonight is not only adopt a piece of legislation that will give literally tens of millions of Americans the assurance that their taxes will not be raised, millions of small businesses that their taxes will not be raised, millions of people who, through no fault of their own, are struggling to find a job and try to keep bread on their table the assurance that we will be there to help. Tonight, we will come together and do something else.

“With 37 and a half hours left to go in the 112th Congress, we will display to all of our constituents that, yes, in the final analysis we have the ability to come together, to act not as Republicans, not as Democrats, but as Americans. Four hundred thirty-five of us sent by our neighbors and friends to try to do the best we can, realizing that there are 435 points of view that sit in this chamber and that what we strive to do is to reconcile those differences to create consensus. For, without consensus, democracy cannot work.

“There will be time for partisan differences. There will be time for partisan confrontation in the days in the 113th Congress. But this night, as we end the 112th Congress, as we have strived mightily to come to an agreement with great difficulty, and realizing that all of us have very strong feelings, I severely regret that this is not a big, bold, balanced plan.

“I regret that this is not a big, bold and balanced plan. We had an opportunity to reach such an agreement in a bipartisan fashion. And we will not reach a big, bold and balanced plan without bipartisanship, because the decisions we will have to make will be too difficult, not to be done in a bipartisan fashion. But this night we take a step, a positive step. And the people watching us, Mr. Speaker, on television tonight, and reading about their Congress tomorrow, and seeing that we were able to act, not perfectly, but in a bipartisan fashion, to try to take a step towards fiscal responsibility, fiscal stability, and, yes, caring for those who most need our help in this country.

“So I urge my colleagues, as the leader of my party in this Congress urged us, to support this legislation. Not as a Democrat, not as a Republican. But as an American who understands that our people believe that action is necessary. And I would urge all of us, as we close this debate, to do so in a way that brings us together, not drives us apart. That reaches out to the best in us, not to the partisan in us.

“Mr. Speaker, it is time for this Congress to come together, address this issue, and act together and pass this bill.”