Whip Hoyer Discusses GOP Refusal to Compromise on Spending Measure on Morning Shows

For Immediate Release:

April 8, 2011


Katie Grant, 202-225-3130

WASHINGTON, DC – House Democratic Whip Steny H. Hoyer (MD) discussed the Republicans’ refusal to compromise on a spending measure to keep the government running because of their divisive social agenda today on NBC’s Today Show, MSNBC’s Morning Joe and CNN’s American Morning. See below for excerpts and links to the videos.

Click here to watch Whip Hoyer on NBC's Today Show. Click here to watch Whip Hoyer on MSNBC's Morning Joe. Click here to watch Whip Hoyer on CNN's American Morning.

On NBC’s Today Show

“We have a history, a pattern of the Republicans taking control and shutting down the government as they did in 1995. It hasn't happened since then, even when we had disagreements when George Bush and the Democratic Congress. It’s not an alternative we ought to be taking. I think we're very close. [Democrats] have come 70% of the way in terms of dollars. That’s a long way to go in terms of trying to reach compromise. Now as the President and Harry Reid pointed out, there are social issues which the Republicans are holding hostage the government.”

“After all, this debate began about bringing down deficits, bringing down numbers and cutting spending. [Democrats] have come 70% of the way. I think that the agreement on numbers is close. We ought to make those agreements on numbers. As Governor Daniels said, we ought to fight the social issues on another bill.”

“[Republicans] know we don't want to shut down the government so they think they can hold hostage things we don't agree with but that we will cave in order to keep the government running which we want to do.”

“I think the Republicans are doing that to themselves frankly. I don't think we have to cast them in that light. They are casting themselves in that light with the Tea Party coming to town and demanding they either get 100% or shut down the government. Last night the [co-founder of the Tea Party Patriots said if Boehner came out with $99 billion that would not be enough. $100 billion is what they wanted and nothing less. You can't negotiate on the basis that one side gets 100% and the other side gets zero.”

“The fact is we should not -- we should keep government going not just for the federal employees but for the millions of businesses people's families that will be adversely affected and the hit the economy will take by shutting down government. This is not a good strategy. Taking us to the brink is not appropriate, particularly when we have agreed, the President agreed come 70% of the way toward what the Republican position was on cutting spending.”

On MSNBC’s Morning Joe

“It's going to take some willingness on the other side to give a little bit. [Democrats] have given 70% towards the dollars [Republicans] wanted to reduce and they have not given an inch on the policies that they want included, as Governor Daniels pointed out from Indiana, candidate for President for the Republican side of the aisle, he said, look, make an agreement on numbers, let's get that stabilized first, leave the social issues to other bills. That's what we ought to do. Shutting down the government is a bad policy but a policy the Republicans have pursued before, in 1995, in trying to budge on the Clinton administration into things it didn't agree to. It's not good policy then, not good policy now. I will be working with other Democratic leaders in the Senate and House to try to keep the government open the next week or ten days, with a bridge that will get us from where we are now, negotiations, to hopefully an agreement but not shut down the government in the process.”

"I think the President is clear on what he will and will not do. He will not take positions with which he does not agree. George Bush did the same thing. The difference was when George Bush took those positions, we made it clear that we weren't going to shut down the government and, frankly, we agreed with the President so bills could be signed and the government could stay open.”

“There is a real, I think, desire among the American public, and we share that view, that we have to restrain spending, bring the deficit under control. We left them with a surplus when they took over in 2001. They squandered that and brought deep debt, $2.4 trillion of deficit spending during their reign when they controlled all the organs of government. We understand government spending has to be restrained, but we don't think that 100% of everything they want is sound democracy or sound negotiations.”

“The founder of the Tea Party Patriots yesterday, in an interview with Chris Matthews, Chris asked him ‘what if Boehner comes back with $99 billion?’ The founder of the Tea Party Patriots said that wouldn't be enough. ‘We want 100.’ Under those circumstances, its clear one party is stuck in the mud and will not move no matter what the consequences.”

“[Democrats] will be working today, frankly, to try to get a bridge from where we are now to the next seven days or next 10 days to give some additional time, where reasonable people can sit down together and come to an agreement. I think that's possible and hopefully we'll get there.”

“As you know, in the last CR we kept the government open for three weeks, I voted for that, a $3 billion cut per week, $6 billion total, I voted for that and brought about 85, 83 Democrats with me. The Republicans did not have the majority. They had 186, short of the 218 majority. In a bipartisan way, we passed that last CR. I told the Speaker and Mr. Cantor that I’m prepared, assuming internals, the components of the $70 billion, assuming we can agree with that, which I think we can, then I think I will try to help him pass this bill. So I would hope that the answer to your question is, yes, he could come away from his most hard line shutdown focused and intending members to come to a bipartisan agreement where we could make sense and reason together and keep the government open and not have the adverse effect on the economy a shutdown would have.”

On CNN’s American Morning

“What we're going to be trying to do today is to make sure that we keep government operating over the next seven days with a very simple agreement…. Shutting down the government will have a very negative effect on the economy. Millions of people throughout the country, as well as our federal employees and the services they perform. So it's not a good thing to do. Unfortunately, we've seen this scenario played out before in 1995.”

“[Democrats have] come 70% of the way towards what Republicans wanted to do. I think anybody that goes 70% of the way, thinks they've gone a pretty far way towards reaching reasonable agreement on restraining spending and the campaign. I’ve never heard anybody say you're going to restrain spending if you do this, that or the other. They said restrain spending, we're doing that. I would hope the Republicans would deal with that issue and then deal with their other issues on later bills. They'll have that opportunity.”