WASHINGTON, DC – House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (MD) spoke at a press conference this afternoon with the Democratic leadership to discuss the accomplishments of the 110th Congress. Below are his remarks as prepared for delivery:
“Thank you Speaker Pelosi for detailing the many significant accomplishments of this New Direction Democratic Congress.
“As I said last week at our event on the steps of the Capitol, we are proud of our record of achievement. But our work is not finished.
“We must continue to fight for the priorities of the American people – from changing direction in Iraq and refocusing our fight against terrorists, to addressing pocketbook issues here at home, to ensuring that the nation we leave for our children is greater than the one we inherited.
“To the Speaker’s list of accomplishments, let me add one other: we Democrats are restoring fiscal responsibility to our federal government for the first time in six years because we fundamentally believe that a fiscally sound, economically strong America is essential to a secure, prosperous and successful America.
“Literally within hours of regaining the House Majority, Democrats reinstated the common-sense pay-as-you-go budget rules that were adopted on a bipartisan basis in the 90s and allowed to lapse by Republicans.
“We simply cannot continue to pursue the fiscally irresponsible policies of the Bush Administration without jeopardizing our national and economic security.
“President Bush inherited a projected 10-year budget surplus of $5.6 trillion – and promptly turned that surplus into record deficits and more than $3 trillion in additional debt.
“As Alan Greenspan wrote in his recent book: ‘Most troubling to me was the readiness of both [the Republican-controlled] Congress and Administration to abandon fiscal discipline.’
“Democrats in Washington today are the party of fiscal discipline – because we believe that we, as a nation, must pay for the things we buy.
“This week, for example, we expect to consider legislation addressing the dreaded Alternative Minimum Tax that is paid for – even though the President and many Congressional Republicans would rather add the costs to the deficit and debt.
“Similarly, our bipartisan proposal to extend health care to 10 million children – which we continue to work on – is paid for, even though the President would rather add any additional costs to the deficit and debt.
“The fact is, Congressional Republicans, who always talk about being tough on spending, rejected our spending cuts in the CHIP bill.
“Finally, the Labor-HHS and Military Construction/Veterans Conference Report that we will consider tonight is fiscally responsible – as are all 12 of our spending bills, which fit within our plan to return the budget to balance by 2012.
“The President’s threat to veto eight of the 12 appropriations bills – including the Labor-HHS and Military Construction/Veterans bill – is political posturing, pure and simple.
“After instigating record deficits and spiraling debt, President Bush has no standing to lecture Democrats in Congress on fiscal responsibility.
“The President’s record speaks for itself. So does ours. Democrats are fighting to restore fiscal responsibility to our federal government.”