Press Releases: 2011

August 24, 2011
"The Congressional Budget Office's updated Budget and Economic Outlook released today reflects the seriousness of our nation's deficit problem, as well as our continuing need to create jobs...
August 18, 2011
I want to express my deepest condolences to the families of those lost today in the vicious terror attacks in Southern Israel. Today’s coordinated attacks are a stark reminder of the danger Israelis face on a daily basis. America stands by Israel in the wake of these attacks, and we must do all we can to prevent such attacks from happening again.
August 11, 2011
This afternoon, Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi announced that she has selected Assistant Democratic Leader James Clyburn, Democratic Caucus Vice Chair Xavier Becerra, and Budget Committee Ranking Member Chris Van Hollen to represent House Democrats on the joint bipartisan committee on deficit reduction. Reps. Clyburn, Becerra, and Van Hollen will bring to the process a strong grasp of the issues confronting our budget and a strong commitment to standing up for the needs of middle-class Americans while bringing our deficit under control and working to create jobs. I'm confident they will represent the views of our caucus and work diligently to reach a balanced agreement that will reduce the deficit and put our nation back on a fiscally sustainable path.
August 8, 2011
While there are clearly some legitimate concerns with S&P’s analysis, I share the President’s view that the greatest barrier to restoring our fiscal health is not economic—it is political. We can put our fiscal house in order when leaders in Washington are willing to put politics aside and take fiscally responsible action in the national interest. And Americans have long known that a fiscal solution must be balanced in order to be effective; in fact, just such a solution was proposed by the president’s bipartisan fiscal commission, led by Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson. If partisan actors continue to reject a comprehensive solution and pursue their ideological agenda at all costs, then the world will continue to doubt America’s fiscal seriousness. But if the joint committee on the deficit and leaders in Washington agree to put all of the causes of our deficit on the table, including both spending and revenue, then we can return our nation to fiscal health and strengthen confidence in our economy.
August 8, 2011
Today, the Obama Administration announced that it is taking steps to reform No Child Left Behind – a flawed law that is long overdue for reauthorization. Education is critical to our nation’s economic success, which is why the Democrats’ Make It In America agenda prioritizes investments in key areas like education. This plan aims to ensure that our nation has a workforce prepared to succeed in the global economy and that our schools have the resources they need to help our children achieve those goals. This includes maintaining accountability measures to make sure students are truly ready for college and high-paying careers with opportunity for growth; attracting the best and the brightest to the teaching profession, and compensating them appropriately; and providing schools with the tools to help them succeed. Our future as a nation depends on it.
August 5, 2011
 Tonight's announcement serves as yet another wakeup call that we must put politics aside as we work to put our nation's fiscal house back in order. S&P has made it clear that they expect us to reach a balanced, comprehensive agreement to reduce the deficit. The joint committee must be ready to put everything on the table so that we can restore our credit rating and return our nation to a fiscally sustainable path.
August 5, 2011
This morning, we received news that our economy added 154,000 private-sector jobs in the month of July; with layoffs of public employees factored in, we added 117,000 net jobs. It is encouraging that our private sector has added jobs for 17 straight months, and that our economy has come a long way from the days, at the beginning of President Obama's term, when it was losing 700,000 jobs per month. But today's report is still unsatisfactory for the millions of Americans who remain unemployed and for the millions more waiting to feel the effects of economic recovery. Clearly, we must do more.
August 5, 2011
I look forward to returning to Israel to continue learning first-hand about the evolving security situation in the Middle East, the deep challenges facing Israel, and the role the United States can play in the region during this time of uncertainty,” said Hoyer. “I'm pleased Members of Congress have this opportunity to study American interests in the Middle East and gain a deeper understanding of the issues involved in increasing stability in the region.
August 4, 2011
I am pleased that more than 74,000 workers will be back on the job and important airport construction projects will move forward. However, many important policy differences remain on a final FAA reauthorization. We owe it to these American workers to not only forge a long-term solution, but to avoid inserting further policy riders in any short-term extensions that may be necessary until final agreement is reached.
August 3, 2011
As Leader Reid has pointed out today, almost 4,000 federal employees, and some 70,000 workers for contractors around this country are being held captive. They are out on the street because Republicans have refused to work with us to find common ground. The FAA shutdown will jeopardize $11 billion in construction projects. It will cost more than $200 million per week. It has already cost us $360 million. This is from the party that is worried about fiscal responsibility. Furloughs of thousands of people of critical aviation engineers, safety analysts, and key personnel—we owe it to these workers to come together and reach a compromise. We owe it to every American taxpayer to come together and reach a compromise. We need to get this done, and we should get it done today.
August 2, 2011
Today, the Senate passed legislation ensuring that our nation will pay the bills it has incurred and avoid a default on its debt, which would have been an economic catastrophe. It also cuts spending by $1.2 trillion and establishes a bipartisan committee tasked with agreeing by year’s end on an additional $1.5 trillion in deficit reduction. Democrats worked hard to make sure that this agreement preserves Medicare and Social Security, protects Medicaid and other programs for the most vulnerable, and phases in cuts over the next decade to minimize harm to our economic recovery.
August 1, 2011
We're going to be meeting with our caucus today and we want to talk to them, find out what they believe. Again, all of them to a person believe that default is not an option, which is why this is such a tough decision. But we've missed an opportunity. This is not a balanced approach, revenues need to be on the table and we haven't done that.
July 29, 2011
Now that the Senate has rejected Speaker Boehner's partisan, short-term bill, it is time to come together on a compromise plan to pay America's bills and reduce the deficit. We cannot continue to waste time as we have this past week. I hope my Republican colleagues in both the House and Senate will work with us in a responsible way to prevent our nation from defaulting on its debts and the catastrophic consequences it would have on our economy.  
July 29, 2011
This evening, in a partisan vote, the House passed Speaker Boehner’s short-term plan on the debt limit. Speaker Boehner’s plan, which will return our nation to the edge of a default crisis in a matter of months, is a recipe for damaging, job-destroying economic uncertainty—which, in the wake of today’s disappointing report on economic growth, is clearly the last thing America needs. In addition, in order to win the support of the most extreme members of his own party, Speaker Boehner added a provision that would permanently write Republicans’ narrow ideological priorities into the Constitution itself. This bill is no solution to this Republican-created crisis. It is clear that it will not pass the Senate; nor would President Obama sign it.
July 29, 2011
Tomorrow marks the 46th anniversary of Medicare being signed into law by President Johnson. For almost 50 years, Democrats have fought to preserve this bedrock program. And we will continue the fight, despite Republican attempts to end it and raise costs for seniors. House Republicans have repeatedly voted for a budget plan that would more than double seniors’ health care costs, re-open the prescription drug donut hole and place seniors at the whim of the private insurance market.
July 29, 2011
Today we learned that our economy grew by 1.3% in the last quarter, which is clearly not strong enough, even after eight straight quarters of growth. As growth has slowed, it is disappointing that Republicans have yet to present a comprehensive jobs plan to get Americans back to work. Unlike Republicans, Democrats have a plan: the Make It In America plan to strengthen our manufacturing sector, create jobs, and help American families succeed. We hope Republicans will join us in passing legislation to revitalize American industry and the middle-class jobs it creates.
July 29, 2011
President Obama today announced an agreement with 13 automakers that will make an important difference to our economic future, our national security, and our environment: by Model Year 2025, cars and light trucks will meet a fuel efficiency standard of 54.5 miles per gallon. This breakthrough agreement—which builds on the successful efforts of the Democratic-led 111th Congress to improve fuel efficiency and revitalize the American auto industry—will save American families money and significantly reduce our dependence on foreign oil. In fact, the 2025 fuel standards are expected to save Americans an average of $8,000 per vehicle and cut our consumption of oil by 2.2 million barrels a day. I congratulate the Obama Administration and the automakers for this important step toward a more energy-efficient future, which will benefit our economy and increase America's energy independence.
July 29, 2011
We see a deeply divided party on the Republican side of the aisle who knew this crisis was coming. I advised in April as we sat around the be the Cabinet table with the President we ought to solve this problem by the first of June and not push this country to the brink of default. Unfortunately, every effort to do that has been rejected. Every effort, every meeting, every conference that's looked for compromise, the Republicans have walked out… What the Speaker now sees is that his own members have walked out on him.
July 26, 2011
 Today, I voted against Republican legislation that would cut short the permitting process for the Keystone XL pipeline from Canada. I support the pipeline, but this bill is a solution in search of a problem. The Obama Administration remains set to make a decision on the pipeline by the end of the year. Cutting short the timeline for a decision would restrict the administration’s opportunity to hear comments and input from the relevant federal agencies, the states, and the public on the range of issues raised by the pipeline: its environmental impact, potential safety problems posed by a pipeline moving this specific kind of crude oil, and, above all, the question of whether approving the pipeline is in the national interest. I urge the Obama Administration to conclude the permitting process in a timely manner, but this unnecessary bill would do little to encourage a responsible and well-informed decision.
July 26, 2011
Yesterday, Speaker Boehner laid out a debt limit proposal that puts our economy at risk and does not give businesses and the markets certainty they need. Republicans talk about the need to give our economy certainty so that we can create jobs, but rather than move forward with a long-term plan that ensures we pay our nation’s bills and reduces our deficit, Republicans are refusing to compromise and clinging to their ideological agenda.
July 26, 2011
Twenty-one years ago today, the first President Bush signed into law the Americans with Disabilities Act. I was proud to help write this important law and work for its passage through Congress. The ADA made our nation a world leader in the inclusion of people with disabilities, and it came about because Republicans and Democrats, disability advocates and business leaders, all realized that we gain as a nation when we help all of our people live up to their potential.
July 25, 2011
 Tonight President Obama clearly laid out why Republicans must work with us to ensure our nation can pay its bills and take balanced action to reduce the deficit. Democrats agree that we cannot simply kick the can down the road, as Speaker Boehner's proposal irresponsibly does. We must act now to give our economy and the markets certainty. Republicans have walked away from every proposal and have held our economy hostage for too long. With August 2 around the corner, it is time to reach agreement on a long-term solution.
July 25, 2011
What we're seeing, Lawrence, in my opinion, is a very sorry and irresponsible spectacle of holding America’s credit worthiness, and very frankly the interest of every American, hostage to an increase in the debt limit, which simply says America’s going to pay its bills. What has been offered by Speaker Boehner is a formula that he has rejected, and Mr. cantor have both rejected, saying that if we did just incremental, every six months or every eight months, it would keep the economy roiled and it wouldn't grow. And I think they were absolutely right then, but for political reasons simply to put the President in a corner, they have said no to every deal, to every compromise, to every effort to move this forward to adopt responsible policies which will protect the credit of the United States.
July 25, 2011
Today, both Majority Leader Reid and Speaker Boehner released proposals on America’s debt limit. Throughout negotiations over the debt limit, Democrats have been more than willing to make hard choices and compromise for the good of our nation, so that America can pay the bills it has incurred; by contrast, Republicans have repeatedly shown themselves willing to drive our nation into a job-destroying default unless they can succeed in enacting 100% of their ideological agenda.
July 25, 2011
The American public was concerned mainly about two things in this last election: jobs, trying to get opportunities for themselves and their children and young people to earn a living, and the deficit that confronts this country. Those were the two items that they were very focused on and concerned about, and I think almost everybody on this floor shares their concerns. I got no message from any voter that I ought to come to congress and undermine the air, water, and land that they survive on, recreate on, and rely on for the quality of their lives. Not one constituent, whether he or she voted for me or against me, said that we should undermine the protections of our land and water and air. Not one. However, that is what we're dealing with today: not jobs, not deficits, but undermining the integrity of our air, our water, and our land.