For Immediate Release:
June 17, 2009
(202) 225 - 3130
(202) 225 - 3130
WASHINGTON, DC – House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) joined White House Office of Management and Budget Director Peter Orzsag, House Education and Labor Committee Chairman George Miller (D-CA), House Budget Committee Chairman John Spratt (D-SC), and other Democratic Members for a press conference on the introduction of the President's statutory “pay-as-you-go” (PAYGO) legislation in the House. Below are his remarks as prepared for delivery:
“Today, I am introducing statutory “pay-as-you-go” legislation in the House, with over 155 original co-sponsors, including the Members standing behind me.
“As we know, fiscal discipline has served us well in the past. In the 1990s, the pay-as-you-go rule, or PAYGO, helped us turn the massive deficits of the Reagan years into a record surplus under President Clinton.
“But the principle of paying for what we buy was abandoned by President Bush, who used borrowed money to fund tax cuts for the most privileged. Today, due primarily to the recklessness of his Administration, we are in an unprecedented fiscal hole, facing a deficit of $1.3 trillion.
“Since Democrats took back Congress, we have made PAYGO a central part of our fiscal approach. By restoring PAYGO in law, Congress must find savings to offset every dollar that goes to expanded entitlements or reduced revenues.
“There are some differences between the way the President’s proposal would work and our House rules that we will need to resolve, and we will be working with the Administration on those issues. But we are united on the goal of what we want to accomplish.
“We agree with the President that restoring PAYGO will help us invest sustainably in some of our most important priorities, while pushing us to make the hard choices necessary to support vital programs and cut wasteful spending.
“Yes, this PAYGO bill allows several current policies to be extended without offsets. But nobody believes Congress would allow those current policies to expire. And creating requirements that nobody expects to be enforced would fatally weaken the credibility of PAYGO as a whole.
“PAYGO is only part of the solution to our fiscal mess—the work ahead will include controlling the costs of health care and the growth of our entitlement programs. But PAYGO is a vital part of that effort, and I hope that Congress will show the same commitment to fiscal responsibility that has been expressed by our President and pass this into law.”