WASHINGTON, DC – House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (MD) released the following statement this morning in response to comments made by President Bush on children’s health insurance and appropriations bills for Fiscal Year 2008. The President spoke after a meeting attended by House Republican Leader John Boehner and Republican Whip Roy Blunt:
“Today, rather than working with Democrats and Republicans in Congress who are determined to extend health insurance to 10 million low-income, working-class American children, the top two Republican leaders in the House of Representatives chose to stand with the one person who constitutes the biggest obstacle to providing that health coverage – President Bush.
“If a picture tells a thousand words, today’s ‘photo-op’ featuring the President, Republican Leader Boehner and Republican Whip Blunt says that Republican leaders are still determined to rubber-stamp this President’s decisions – regardless of how wrong those decisions are. It’s clear that Republicans were at the White House today to do one thing – get their marching orders. What they need to do is stop posing for pictures, and sit down with Democrats and Republicans in Congress who are working together to extend coverage to our children.
“The President, of course, said in 2004 that he would do just that – extend coverage under the children’s health insurance program – if re-elected. But he broke his promise when he vetoed bipartisan legislation – overwhelmingly supported by the American people – on October 3. Now, Congress must do what the President said he would do.
“On the issue of appropriations bills and fiscal responsibility, the President’s comments ring hollow. The fact is, this Administration has pursued the most fiscally irresponsible policies in American history, turning record surpluses into record deficits and adding more than $3 trillion to the national debt.
“Democrats are the party of fiscal responsibility today because we believe our government must pay for the things it purchases and not force our children to pay our bills. The fight over 2008 appropriations bills is not a fight over spending. It is a fight over priorities. The President wants to slash funding for education, medical research, cops on the beat and other key priorities, while spending another $200 billion on his failing policy in Iraq – none of which is paid for, all of which would be added to the deficit.
“Democrats strongly disagree with the President, and will continue to fight for the priorities of the American people.”