Stephanie Young, 202-225-3130
WASHINGTON, DC - House Democratic Whip Steny H. Hoyer (MD) discussed House Democrats' legislative priorities for 2014, including raising the minimum wage, renewing unemployment insurance, and passing comprehensive immigration reform on MSNBC's "The Ed Show" this evening. Below are excerpts and a link to the video.
Click here to watch the video.
“The President came to Congress and gave a State of the Union and said, look, I'm optimistic, we've come a far pace as you've just outlined very well. But we need to go further. We need to do some things to grow this economy, to make sure it works for everybody, to make sure that Americans can make it in America. And we want to see us work together to accomplish that objective. But the President said look, if you're not going to act, I'll act. Just the other day he did act so that people contracting with the federal government pay a decent wage to the workers that are working for those contractors. … We just announced that we're going to be going back to Congress a week from now and we're going to put a discharge petition in and get the minimum wage on the calendar. We hope our Republican colleagues will join us so that we give the incentive for people to work, and when they work, they won't be living in poverty. We want to see comprehensive immigration reform passed as you pointed out. That's good for the economy, it's the moral thing to do. One more thing: we also continue to urge our Republican colleagues to re-establish the safety net for those who are unemployed through no fault of their own, can't find a job because three people are looking for every job that's available. We need to do that as soon as we get back.”
“The discharge petition wants to take the minimum wage bill that has been introduced on the Floor, put it up for a vote so that we can raise the minimum wage over a couple of years to $10.10 an hour. … It will happen if we get some 20 to 25 Republicans to sign that bill … [but] there's very little action on the other side of the aisle. And they rationalize their failure to act by [saying] they don't like the President, they don't trust the President … but the fact of the matter is their party is a deeply divided party that cannot come up with a consensus for action. They're the party of no. They're the party of repeal. They're the party that doesn't have the ear of the American public, frankly, because 70% of the American public believes the agenda we put forth is something that's good for America, good for growing the economy, and good for them and their families.”
“Ed, I can't believe that there's any American who believes in the middle of February we ought to fold our hands and say, well, we're done for the year. That's absurd. We still have a lot of people who are not participating in our economy. We still need to invest in growing jobs in America. We still need to make sure that we address a system that is broken by the admission of every Republican leader I know and do comprehensive immigration reform. There's still a lot of work to be done.”