Katie Grant, 202-225-3130
WASHINGTON, DC - House Democratic Whip Steny H. Hoyer (MD) sent a letter to members of the House Democratic Caucus today regarding House Republicans’ summer agenda, noting that it wastes time on partisan measures instead of addressing critical issues like the highway bill or preventing student loan interest rates from doubling. Below is the full text of the letter:
As we return from the ninth full week of recess since the 112th Congress reconvened in January, House Republicans continue to pursue an extreme agenda that ignores our challenges of creating jobs and furthering our economic recovery. We have only twenty-four legislative days remaining before August’s five-week district work period. Furthermore, the House is only scheduled to be in session for eight legislative days in September and a mere five in October.
Instead of taking yet another recess, we should be taking action on expiring items, such as the highway bill, preventing student loan interest rates from doubling, and extending middle class tax cuts. We also ought to be taking serious action to achieve comprehensive, balanced deficit reduction to restore our country to a fiscally sound path. But the Republican leadership has made clear that 2012 is “substantively over,” according to Majority Leader Eric Cantor. The summer agenda he released two weeks ago showed that to be the case: there is no focus on job creation, meaningful deficit reduction, or taking up must-pass items to avert the expiration of critical programs.
This agenda is a recipe not for progress but gridlock. It chooses confrontation over cooperation or compromise. A Congressional Quarterly article on Tuesday, June 5, lays out their ‘my way or the highway’ attitude: “House Republicans say they are willing to walk away from highway bill talks if they cannot get what they want on issues.”
We must continue to call attention to House Republicans’ extreme, ideological agenda and propose alternatives aimed at finding solutions to our most pressing problems of job creation and deficit reduction that most Americans can support. We will also call on Republicans to address critical issues like a Surface Transportation bill, preventing student loan interest rates from doubling, extending middle class tax cuts, reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act, passing a Farm bill, and completing the FY2013 appropriations process at the agreed-upon level set by the Budget Control Act.
With Republicans’ partisan agenda set to dictate our schedule over the next several weeks, and with appropriations bills also expected on the Floor, close votes are predicted on amendments throughout the June and July legislative work periods, making attendance especially critical. I ask that Members keep my staff informed as to any absences as soon as they are anticipated (these should be reported to my office at 202-225-3130). Our schedule has been relatively predictable, and I would ask you to make every effort to be here when we are in session.
I want to thank all of you for your strong record of attendance so far this Congress and for standing together on a number of important votes to support America’s middle class and working families and defend against the extreme agenda the Majority has sought to impose.
I hope this strong cooperation and coordination among our Members will continue as we work together to defeat the Republicans’ out-of-touch legislative program this summer and present alternatives that will deliver what the American people seek: jobs for those out of work, a sensible solution to our deficits, and a pragmatic approach to the challenges facing our nation.
With warmest regards, I am
STENY H. HOYER