WASHINGTON, DC – House Democratic Whip Steny H. Hoyer (MD) released the following statement today at a press conference drawing attention to the failed Republican Congress’s decision to wait for a lame-duck Congress to finish 12 of 13 appropriations bills and other important legislation. A six-foot mallard duck on a crutch, Mr. DeLayme Duck, particpated in the press conference (see picture attached):
“Before I begin, I want to assure any of you who might be thinking that you’re at a press conference for the Cartoon Network that you’re in the right place.
“Let me introduce Mr. DeLayme Duck, who is here today because this Republican Congress is ducking its responsibility and is forcing us to come back for a lame-duck session after the elections.
“Tonight, when the clock strikes 12, the United States of America will begin a new fiscal year, closing the books on the most fiscally irresponsible year in our history – a year in which we will run a record budget deficit of $422 billion.
“And yet, as the new fiscal year looms just hours away, this Congress has enacted just one – just one – of the 13 annual spending bills that keep the federal government operating.
“As our workload piles up, consider this fact: This Second Session of the 108th Congress is on course to work fewer days – 94, as of today – than any single Session of Congress since 1948.
“Our Republican friends might be able to justify this light workload if they were actually completing the people’s business. But they are not. They are failing the American people.
“Because they have failed to enact the Homeland Security Bill, critical funding for the ‘SAFER’ firefighter program is not available. That means undermanned fire departments across the nation will be delayed in their efforts to hire, recruit and retain firefighters.
“Because they have failed to enact the Transportation-Treasury Bill, nearly $1 billion in airport security and improvement grants is not available. That means airport security fencing and the construction of airport rescue and firefighting stations will be delayed.
“Because they have failed to enact the Commerce-Justice-State Bill, $658 million in worldwide security upgrades at U.S. embassies – perhaps most notably in Kabul, Afghanistan – are not available.
“The list goes on and on.
“It’s bad enough that Republicans cannot get their Appropriations work done. But they’ve also failed to enact a budget; failed to enact energy reform; failed to enact intelligence reform; failed to enact reauthorizations of the transportation and higher education acts.
“While we’re joined here today by Mr. Delayme Duck, these Republican failures are, in fact, no laughing matter.
“The record of this Republican Congress is not enviable, it’s embarrassing. And I hope the American people don’t let them duck accountability on November 2nd.”