WASHINGTON, DC – House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (MD) joined leaders of the Blue Dog coalition today at a press conference following House passage of the budget conference report. Blue Dog attendees included Rep. Stephanie Herseth Sandlin, Co-Chair for Administration; Rep. Baron Hill, Co-Chair for Policy; Rep. Charlie Melancon, Co-Chair for Communications; Rep. Allen Boyd, Budget Task Force Chair; Rep. Jim Cooper, Budget Task Force Vice-Chair; and Rep. John Tanner, Founding Blue Dog member. Below are his remarks as prepared for delivery:
“I am pleased to be here with the Blue Dog leadership, who supported the budget conference report that passed the House today. The budget is part of our effort to set the stage for sustainable economic recovery and growth, and moves us toward rebalancing America’s fiscal position.
“We have spent a great deal of money over the past few months, but it was a necessary step to arrest a quickly spiraling economy – and this move was broadly supported by economists, conservative and liberal alike. While we acted responsibly to boost our economy, our last President presided over incredibly irresponsible fiscal policies, taking us from projected surpluses into deep debt and deficits. Democrats are working to turn those numbers around, and the Blue Dogs are a key proponent of that effort.
“This budget starts that work, by cutting the deficit by two-thirds, bringing it down to 3% of GDP in 2014. While this is a strong first step, we are all in agreement that PAYGO is essential if we are going to get back to a fiscally sound management of our nation’s finances.
“I worked with the Blue Dogs over the past few days to ensure that statutory PAYGO will get done this year. To that end, Speaker Pelosi and I sent a letter to budget conferees that says that we will not consider any bills on middle-income tax cuts, estate tax, AMT relief, or the sustainable growth rate in the Medicare program unless statutory PAYGO has already been enacted, statutory PAYGO is included, or the bill is fully offset. If those criteria are not met, we will not bring that legislation to the Floor.
“I look forward to working with the Blue Dogs in enforcing this budget and restoring statutory PAYGO. We will work with the Administration to develop a statutory PAYGO bill that is effective and will put us back on the path toward fiscal sustainability.”