WASHINGTON, DC – As Congress prepares to recess for a six-week August break, House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer (MD), House Democratic Caucus Chairman Robert Menendez (NJ), House Democratic Caucus Vice Chair James Clyburn (SC), and Assistant to the Democratic Leader John Spratt (SC) today lambasted the dismal policy and political record of the Republican majority. The GOP Congress has failed to pass a budget blueprint, created record deficits, and the House is on track to work the least number of days in 48 years. The Democratic leaders today highlighted this absence of leadership, voters’ desire for change in America, the Democrats’ positive agenda, and what that means for the November election. The following is Rep. Hoyer’s statement as prepared for delivery:
“With a war on terror to fight and our soldiers battling in Iraq – with a sluggish job market that still posts record job losses – with rising health care and gas prices –Americans are looking to their representatives in Congress to fight for their interests.
“But the “do-nothing” Republican Congress does not appear to be concerned with the interests of working families. Today or tomorrow Congress will leave for the six-week August recess. Republicans are jetting out of town after failing to lead on virtually every critical issue facing this nation. There is no budget, no transportation bill, no action to end $4 billion in European Union sanctions on American manufacturers, no plan to combat rising health care costs, and no energy policy.
“All of these priorities have been held hostage for months by Republican infighting with little regard for what’s at stake for the American people. Even more shocking, the Republican-controlled Congress is on track to work the least amount of days of any Congress in the last 48 years. Going by the House Republican Majority leader’s calendar and the days we’ve already worked, this Congress will be in session only 98 days this year.
“In recent months, allegations of unethical behavior and abuses of power by Republican leaders have increased. From allegations of bribery, to ignoring Congress’s responsibility to act as a check on the White House, to leaving votes open to change the outcome, Republicans have, at the very least, disappointed the American people and violated their trust.
“The Republicans’ failures and sometimes questionable leadership have created a palpable dissatisfaction among voters. Polls show that most Americans believe the country is headed in thewrong direction and this sentiment is reflected in the wide lead Democrats have held on the generic Congressional ballot for at least two months. This dissatisfaction has allowed Democrats to defy expectations, and recruit enough good candidates and raise enough money to be within striking distance of taking back the House in November.
“We are here today to say that Republicans have failed to lead and it is time for a change in leadership. A Democratic Congress will address America’s priorities – creating good paying jobs, providing affordable health care, ensuring opportunity for all and securing our nation.
“We are here today to say that Democrats can offer the vision and dedication this Republican Congress is so lacking. In November 1994, Republicans defied expectations and won a majority in the House. And we believe that in November 2004, voters will again choose new leadership and a new direction for our nation.”