Stephanie Young, 202-225-3130
WASHINGTON, DC - House Democratic Whip Steny H. Hoyer (MD) delivered remarks at a press conference today with Democratic Leadership on House Republicans' continued refusal to work with Democrats toward a bipartisan solution to end the Republican government shutdown. Below is a transcript and a link to the video:
“I don't know if there's much to add. I think the American people were heartened by the fact that Senators were talking.
“They were, from all appearances, they were close to reaching an agreement which would open up our government and which would make sure that the credit of the United States was not put at risk. And as Leader Pelosi has indicated, make sure as well that interest rates would not spike, that 401(k) values of retirees would not go down, that people would not be adversely affected.
"In effect what [Republican leadership has] done, once again, we understand from the Republican Conference, is to snatch confrontation from the jaws of reasonable agreement. That is what so angers and makes the public so upset, rightfully, with their government.
"[Americans] want reasonable solutions so that they and their families can have some confidence that their government is being run appropriately. But more importantly, so their lives are not disrupted. That government employees are not put out [of work]; when a veteran makes an application that there's somebody there to take the application; or Social Security or disability, somebody [is there] to take it; somebody to show them around the National Parks. All of these things are undermining the confidence of the American people.
"It is such – so sad that on the brink of an agreement that would open up our government and make sure that America pays its bills, that the Republican Conference met this morning, apparently after a number of them talked to [Senator] Ted Cruz, and said no, it's not good enough for us.”
In Response to a Question About Bringing the Senate’s Bipartisan Proposal to the Floor for a Vote
“First of all, a responsible thing to do is to do what [Speaker John Boehner] says he wants to do all the time – let the House works its will. Let the American people’s representatives vote. Let them decide whether they want to open government, and whether they want to make sure America pays its bills.
"Now, there’s a lot of talk about Young Guns. Young Guns are causing harm to our country. Let me tell you what they said: ‘We pledge to stand on principle, to lead as adults, and – most of all – to serve as responsible stewards of the public trust by listening to the American people.’
“Well the American people overwhelmingly in poll after poll after poll, and on the November 2012 poll as Mr. Clyburn pointed out, have said they want this country to move forward. They want the government to work and they want their government open. So the most responsible action for the Speaker to take is to do exactly that.
“Now, Mr. Ryan, is specifically quoted in Young Guns as saying ‘And the Washington way isn’t interested in honest up-or-down votes’ – he said this, I guess they wrote this book in 2009 – ‘on transformational programs. It rigs the process to produce the outcome it desires through any means necessary.’
“Well, Mr. Ryan, urge the Speaker to put the bill on the Floor, open government, let the American people see who is for voting for opening up government and paying America's bills and going to conference to discuss further common-sense solutions. That’s what the Speaker ought to go. That’s what I urge the Speaker to do. But much, much more importantly, that’s what the American people are urging the Speaker to do. That’s the responsible path.”