Excerpt from Pen and Pad Briefing

Below is an excerpt from Democratic Whip Steny H. Hoyer (MD)’s pen and bad briefing with the press on Tuesday, April 16, 2013:

Mr. Hoyer.  The sequester is hurting the operations of our government.  I read a story today where it is harmful to small business and it generally will undermine America's competitiveness around the world in my view over time.  So we need to replace that.  We need to replace it with a positive construct.  The [budget] conference is historically the way you do that.  And I am hopeful that Speaker Boehner and Leader Cantor will move to go to conference as soon as possible, hopefully this week. 

Your turn. 

Q         Mr. Hoyer?

Mr. Hoyer.  Chad? 

Q         You talked about the sequester and its impacts.  Mr. Becerra alluded to the sequester saying ‑‑ with the Boston incident saying that the Mayor of Boston is going to have to come up with a way to pay all of those emergency responders there.  Director of National Intelligence David Clapper last week said the sequester in the intelligence world is invisible until there is an incident and people say:  Why didn't we know?  Where is this going after something like this?  Do you think this can help to make an argument to turn off the sequester?

Mr. Hoyer.  Well, I think there are compelling arguments not to have turned on the sequester.  I made those arguments.  I voted against the budget as it passed the House which provides for the continuation of the sequester.  I voted for the final passage so we didn't shut down government, which I think you heard me say was even dumber than the dumb policy of sequester. 

So I think there are multiple reasons for ensuring that we invest in our security, both domestic and international security, that we invest in the education of our children, that we invest in growing jobs in America and don't pursue an irrational, across‑the‑board policy of cutting highest priorities and the lowest priorities essentially the same percentage. 

So I think this is clearly another place where it is demonstrated why having the ability to address security concerns is important.  I think this is another proof of that.  If proof is needed, which I don't think frankly it is.