WASHINGTON, DC – House Democratic Whip Steny H. Hoyer today on the House Floor lambasted the legislative failures of this Republican Congress – no budget, intelligence reform, comprehensive energy reform, or transportation reauthorization bill and no tax bill to stop billions of dollars in European Union sanctions against American manufacturers. Now a Continuing Resolution must be passed to keep the government running. The following is Rep. Hoyer’s statement as prepared for delivery:
“Mr. Speaker, today, our Republican friends are waving a white flag, announcing what has become so obvious to so many – that they have surrendered to their own intransigence; that they cannot get their work done.
“This Continuing Resolution is nothing less than an admission of failure by the House Republican leadership. But it is a fitting capstone to the least productive Session of Congress that I have been a part of since I was elected to this body in 1981.
“We are setting a record today, Mr. Speaker, but not a record that any of us can be proud of. So far in this Second Session of the 108th Congress, we are on course to work fewer days – 93, as of today – than any other single Session since 1948.
“Yet, while this Republican Congress keeps banker’s hours, it has failed to enact a budget. It has failed to enact comprehensive energy reform. It has failed to enact intelligence reform. It has failed to enact a tax bill to eliminate European Union trade sanctions on American manufacturers. And it has failed to enact transportation reauthorization legislation, which would create 42,000 jobs for each $1 billion in funding.
“And now, this Republican leadership must pass this Continuing Resolution because it has enacted only one of the 13 annual spending bills that keep the federal government operating.
"I intend to vote for this Continuing Resolution. But let no one be mistaken: This 'CR' is far more than a mere formality. The Republicans’ failure to pass appropriations bills on time has real-world effects.
“Because they have failed to enact the Homeland Security bill, critical funding for the ‘SAFER’ program is not available. That means fire departments across the nation will be delayed in their efforts to hire, recruit and retain firefighters.
“Because they have failed to enact the Transportation-Treasury Bill, nearly $1 billion in airport improvement grants is not available. That means airport security fencing and the construction of airport rescue and firefighting stations will be delayed.
“Because they have failed to enact the Commerce-Justice-State bill, $658 million in worldwide security upgrades at U.S. facilities (especially in Kabul, Afghanistan) are not available. Mr. Speaker, the list goes on and on. The Majority’s failure to pass appropriations bills on time will delay funding for everything from construction at Veterans Administration facilities, to humanitarian assistance to the victims of genocide in Sudan, to additional funding for food safety inspections here at home.
“Mr. Speaker, in February, former House Majority Leader Dick Armey commented that: ‘Republicans own the town now.’ Indeed, they do – the House, the Senate and the White House. But as everyone can see today, their record is not enviable, it’s an embarrassment. The American people deserve better.”