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WASHINGTON, DC - House Democratic Whip Steny H. Hoyer (MD) delivered remarks on the House Floor today urging his colleagues to reject House Republicans' rule for the “minibus” appropriations bill that uses a legislative gimmick to add funding for President Trump's ineffective border wall. Below is a video and a transcript of his remarks:
Click here to watch a video of his remarks.
“Mr. Speaker, there is a lot of disorder in Washington, D.C. There is chaos and conflict and confrontation in the White House. There is conflict within the Majority party in the House of Representatives.
“There was a representation that we were going to follow regular order. We have not. There is no budget, which was supposed to be adopted some three months ago. A budget would have told all the Members of the Congress and the country how much discretionary spending we were going to have. The Majority party has been unable to bring a budget to this Floor and to pass it because of the disarray and disorder that we find in this House.
“This rule represents a litany of broken promises and exposes, frankly, the hypocrisy of this Republican Majority. This rule would add an amendment to the underlying bill that directs $1.6 billion dollars of American taxpayer dollars toward the construction of President Trump's proposed border wall. This was not in the original bill. And the irony is, in the Rules Committee an amendment that was in the original bill has been struck, not by a vote of the Defense Committee or the Appropriations Committee, but by the Rules Committee. They just struck out an amendment.
“Let me remind my colleagues, Mr. Speaker, of the words of our Speaker, Paul Ryan. He said this, quote, ‘we will advance major legislation one issue at a time.’
“Mr. Speaker, as you probably know, I have been here for some years, 36 to be exact. I have never seen in 36 years an omnibus or minibus brought to the Floor before September. Why? Because the regular order is to consider the bills one at a time. Or as the Speaker said, ‘we will advance major legislation one issue at a time.’ But what the Republicans have done, Mr. Speaker, is to bring a bill and put so much in it, they dare people to vote against it because of the national security.
“This rule ought to be rejected. It is not the regular order. It is not good policy. And it's not good for the institution of the House of Representatives or for the country.
“The border wall is controversial, and many people in the Trump Administration do not believe the border wall will be effective and they believe it's a waste of money. And of course, the President told us all the Mexicans were going to pay for the wall. Well, this is $1.6 billion dollars of about $20 billion dollars that would have to come – not to be paid for by the Mexicans but paid for by the U.S. taxpayer for an ineffective effort to make this country more secure.
“Everybody on this Floor believes we ought to know who comes into this country and that people ought not come into this country unless they are authorized to do so. We all agree on that.
“I ask the Majority Leader, bring this border wall to the Floor. Let us debate it. Put it open for amendment. That is the regular order.
“The Speaker went on to say, ‘we will not duck the tough issues. We will take them head on.’ That's Speaker Paul Ryan, October 29, 2015.
“They had an amendment offered on the authorization bill by Mrs. Hartzler of Missouri. It was controversial, and the Majority party lost. So what did they do? They didn't add it to the bill as Mrs. Hartzler wanted it to do, have an amendment on this Floor, so we could debate it again on its demerits or merits depending upon your perspective. But they went around, not by regular order, not by taking depending upon your issues head on, but by having the President answer some tweet that the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Of Staff says he never was talked to about.
“My colleagues, let us stand up for this institution. Let us stand up for regular order. Let us stand up for not ducking the tough issues. Let's reject this rule, and then let's go back to regular order and hopefully do so in a bipartisan way and do what the American public expects us to do. Make tough decisions for them, for our country, for our security, and for our children. And I yield back the balance of my time. I urge my colleagues to vote against this rule.”