Stephanie Young, 202-225-3130
WASHINGTON, DC - House Democratic Whip Steny H. Hoyer (MD) discussed House Democrats' 2014 legislative priorities, including passing comprehensive immigration reform, extending unemployment insurance, and raising the minimum wage on CNN's "State of the Union" with Congressman Tom Cole (R-OK) today. Below are excerpts and a link to the video.
“The fact is that the Senate passed in a very bipartisan way a comprehensive immigration bill. What the President said and what we have said we would consider is if the Republicans can move forward with some aspects of immigration reform, that's fine. We can pass those. We'll have to meet with the Senate that's passed comprehensive immigration reform and see what comes out of conference. We strongly believe it needs to be a comprehensive bill, not simply a piecemeal bill, because if you pass just the economic segments - which we could support - and not the other segments that give people confidence that they can continue to work, support their families and be here, that's not a bill that will fix the broken system. … Comprehensive immigration reform, Tom, in my opinion would pass the House today. There are 218-plus votes in my view to pass that bill. But you're locking up pieces of legislation because you have a hardcore majority of your party that will not be for it.”
“I frankly think that the confidence that was built up by passing the omnibus appropriation bill is going to be helpful to the economy. I think we acted in a bipartisan fashion, I think that's good for the economy. Now, in my opinion, we need to extend unemployment insurance, we need to get a minimum wage bill done, we need to address some of the other issues like comprehensive immigration reform that every economist says will grow the economy. But the failure to do that has been a drag on the economy, not because of the President.”
“[Speaker John Boehner] believes that the debt limit ought not to be put at risk. The shutdown occurred because of the deal on the debt limit. That's the same thing that happened in August of 2011. We'll see whether or not he can get his caucus to vote to get the debt limit done, as I think many of his caucus believe ought to be done, put behind them, not precipitate another shutdown of government.”