Stephanie Young, 202-225-3130
WASHINGTON, DC - House Democratic Whip Steny H. Hoyer (MD) spoke on the House Floor this afternoon calling on Republican leadership to end the government shutdown by voting with Democrats to reject moving the previous question, and instead allow a vote on a clean government spending bill. Below are his remarks and a link to the video:
Click here to watch the video.
“I thank the Ranking Member of the Rule Committees for yielding and thank Ms. Slaughter for the extraordinary leadership she has shown and the work she's been doing.
“Mr. Speaker, the people want their government open. A government of the people and for the people and by the people ought to be open. They want their dedicated federal employees, who have been unfairly furloughed, to go back to work. They want to end the shutdown that's having negative consequences for our economy and for our national security and for the confidence of Americans that their government can work.
“The only way to do so is by passing a clean, get-the-government-open funding bill to keep the government open while we discuss, negotiate, put forward our positions [on a] longer term agreement on the budget. The Senate's acted – and acted responsibly – by passing a bill that will keep the government operating. They passed that bill with a number that was suggested by the Republican Party, Mr. Speaker. Now we have the opportunity to do the same thing right now and end this shutdown. Get the people's government back to work.
“There are a growing number of Republicans who say they would vote for a bill which is so-called ‘clean’ – not with any of the poison pills that have been on it time after time after time. I tell them: this is your opportunity to back up your words with actions. Don't just say, ‘let's end the shutdown.’ Vote with us, in just a few minutes, to end the shutdown.
“On Wednesday, Majority Leader Cantor said this, and I quote: ‘We're trying to get the government open as quickly as possible.’ As quickly as possible is in about five or ten or fifteen or twenty minutes. That's as quickly as possible. I don't know that it's as quickly as probable, because I’m not sure the Majority Leader means those words or that his party means those words, but we're going to have an opportunity to vote on it. I say to my friend from Virginia, here is our chance to do so.
“And to the Gentleman from Oklahoma, Mr. Lankford, Mr. Cole's colleague, who said about the shutdown he and his Republican colleagues have imposed, quote: ‘I'd like to end it this afternoon.’
“I say, we can do it. He's right. And in just a few minutes, Mr. Lankford is going to have the opportunity to vote that way. In just a few minutes. Now it's either empty rhetoric or he means what he says. Let's do it. Let's open government. Let's get the people's public servants back to work for them. Right here, right now, we can end this shutdown today, this afternoon, in just a few minutes.
“I urge my colleagues. We don't differ. As I understand it, everybody on both sides of the aisle says they don't want to shut down government. Mr. Cole says that. Ms. Slaughter says that. I say that. We have the power to just in a few minutes to put people back to work for all of our constituents.
“I urge my colleagues, vote no on this motion – the previous question, we call it – jargon for saying ‘let's move on,’ and if we vote no on the previous question, we can put a bill on the Floor which will put the government back to work this afternoon. Mr. Cole knows we can do that. I don't know that Mr. Cole will vote to do that. I think Ms. Slaughter will vote to do that. I will vote to do that. Mr. Andrews will vote to do that. Others will vote to do that. And if they do, if they match their actions with their talk, then we can open this government in just a matter of minutes.”