Stephanie Young, 202-225-3130
WASHINGTON, DC - House Democratic Whip Steny H. Hoyer (MD) spoke on the House Floor this afternoon in opposition to H.Res. 243, a Republican rule that makes it possible for the Appropriations Committee to set their spending levels in accordance with the extreme Ryan budget that keeps the irrational sequester. Below are his remarks and a link to the video:
Click here to watch the video.
“Mr. Speaker, what's before us is before us. What's before us is a rule. Not the Mil-Con bill, not Homeland Security. What's before us is the bill. And what does the bill do? It doesn't have an open process. It doesn't allow us an amendment.
“Mr. Van Hollen wanted to have an amendment and say 'let's go to conference on the budget. Let's decide what these numbers ought to be'. No – it's ‘our way or the highway.’ You've passed a budget, you're going to stick with those numbers; they won't work. You know they won't work. That's why you don't go to conference. Because Mr. Ryan knows he couldn't make a deal that he could bring back to this House and your side would vote for, I tell my friend on the Rules Committee.
“So what's before us is before us: a ratification of sequester, which starts with ‘S,’ which stands for stupid. It is a terrible process. It is an irrational, commonsense-defying process. And yet my Republican friends continue to demand that we mark to figures that were contrary to the understanding, agreement – deal, if you want – that we made. In August of 2011 we made a deal, and we said: ‘these are going to be the numbers.’ And the ink was not dry on the paper until such time as you violated that agreement. And the Ryan budget violates it once again. It is $91 billion, almost 9%, less than the deal we made.
“What's before us is before us, the Gentleman [Rep. Daniel Webster (R-FL)] says. What's before us is the rule to ratify this sequester. Now, your side blames the President for it. The President doesn't want the sequester. We don't want the sequester. Mr. Van Hollen, who is sitting here, doesn't want the sequester, and he's trying to offer amendments to obviate the sequester and hasn't been allowed to have those amendments on the Floor, I tell my friend, on the Rules Committee. And I congratulate him for his position, but he ought to allow the Van Hollen amendment so the House can, in fact, work its will. So that we can, in fact, have a process that will work.
“Now, my friend says he's been here for some time, and he's participated in another legislative body. Well, I’ve been here for a long time myself, as the Gentleman knows: some thirty-three years – and twelve years in the Maryland Senate, President for the last 3 years I was there. So I’ve been around for some years myself.
“The fact is, I will tell the Gentleman, there is no possibility you're going to consider all twelve bills. Because, as the Gentlelady [Rep. Nita Lowey (D-NY)] said, you're going to run out of money. Why? Because you're front-loading that which you like, and that which you're not too happy about is going to be not only breaking the agreement we made, but far below your own budget numbers. Because you didn't want to mark to your $966 [billion] with this bill. Why? Because you want to make sure the veterans were taken care of. God bless you – I agree with that. But there is only x number of dollars in that pot, and somebody's going to lose.
“What the President is saying is: let's consider them all together. That's what we ought to be doing. Reject this rule. Reject the sequester. Reject this deeming resolution, and let us have a rule that makes common sense for our country.”