Daniel Reilly, 202-225-3130
WASHINGTON, DC - House Democratic Whip Steny H. Hoyer (MD) delivered remarks today at a press conference with Senators Harry Reid, Charles Schumer, Jay Rockefeller, and Barbara Boxer on the refusal of Republicans to accept a bipartisan compromise on FAA extension. Below are his remarks as prepared for delivery and a link to the video:
“My name is the Steny Hoyer, I’m the Democratic Whip. I’m speaking on behalf of Leader Pelosi and myself. As Leader Reid has pointed out today, almost 4,000 federal employees, and some 70,000 workers for contractors around this country are being held captive. They are out on the street because Republicans have refused to work with us to find common ground. The FAA shutdown will jeopardize $11 billion in construction projects. It will cost more than $200 million per week. It has already cost us $360 million. This is from the party that is worried about fiscal responsibility. Furloughs of thousands of people of critical aviation engineers, safety analysts, and key personnel—we owe it to these workers to come together and reach a compromise. We owe it to every American taxpayer to come together and reach a compromise. We need to get this done, and we should get it done today.
“Unfortunately, Republicans continue to practice the politics of confrontation and hostage taking, and it is severely damaging our economy and the livelihoods of people across our nation. As Leader Reid pointed out, we have been for months now holding 309 million Americans and the entire country hostage, to the threats of taking us over the precipice into default. Because of the work of the White House, Leader Reid, Leader Pelosi and others, we avoided that at the last minute. However, 75,000 people are now over the precipice and worrying about whether the people in Washington on the Republican side of the aisle are going to responsibly say ‘enough.’ These are people who are responsible for modernizing our airports, building new runways and helping our infrastructures keep pace with the rest of the world. While our competitors continue to invest in infrastructure and growth, America is losing ground. This is why, every day, because of Republican hostage taking. For the sake of more than 75,000 Americans, waiting to work, willing to work, wanting to work, and we have asked them to work, for the sake of economic competitiveness, it's time for Republicans to put our country first, and these workers, first, before themselves, before the petty politics they are pursuing and work with us to forge a long-term compromise in September. But there's a bill in the House of Representatives introduced by Congressman Jerry Costello that could be passed within hours, that Speaker Boehner would simply agree to unanimous consent agreement, and Leader Reid, if Mr. McConnell would agree to unanimous consent agreement, could pass this within hours. Or pass the bill that is in the Senate.
“We need to act on this issue now. 75,000 Americans demand it, our country demands it, and it's irresponsible to hold hostage these people and our country and the safety of our airways, pending some petty political gain that might be reached.”