Stephanie Young, 202-225-3130
WASHINGTON, DC - House Democratic Whip Steny H. Hoyer (MD) discussed the situation in Syria and the need to avoid a government shutdown on CNN with Wolf Blitzer this afternoon. Below are excerpts and a link to the video.
Click here to watch the video.
“Certainly I think [a diplomatic solution with Syria] is a very positive possibility. And if it bears fruit, it's going to be a very good resolution of this issue. … Let's hope it’s real and that's what, of course, Secretary Kerry is now trying to determine. The Syrians have sent a letter to the United Nations saying that they're going to sign the convention on chemical weapons. That is very great progress, in my view, all made because the President was willing to use … military force to dissuade and to degrade the ability of the Syrians to use their chemical weapons. So, yes, I think this is a very positive possibility but it's only a possibility. We'll see whether or not it's real. As Reagan said, you've got to trust but verify. We're in the process of verifying at this point in time.”
“I believe that it was necessary to give the President the authority to act. First of all, I think it was warranted because of the use of these weapons which, for a century now, had been weapons which the international community said must not be used because of their terrible, terrible aspects and indiscriminate impact on people and children and families unrelated to any kind of warfare. As a result, I think the President took the right action and I'm pleased to see that it's had a very positive result so far. Clearly the Russians would never, never have interceded in this way, the Syrians would never have responded with respect to the chemical convention on warfare but for the President's willingness to act.”
On the Need to Avoid a Government Shutdown
“[Republicans'] obsessive focus on the repeal of the Affordable Care Act and taking that hostage for … fiscal responsibility is simply unacceptable. The President has no intention of doing that. And very frankly, all of the reasonable Republicans that I've talked to know that it's a nonstarter. John Boehner and Eric Cantor know it's a nonstarter. They talk about it but they tried to set up a procedure where they would make their point for the 41st time [Note: Today was the 41st vote to repeal or undermine the Affordable Care Act] that they want to see the Affordable Care Act repealed and then go on with a CR, with a continuing resolution, which would in fact be supportable by the United States Senate. I have issues with it, but that aside, it is [Republicans'] obsession with saying, either do what I want you to do or I am going to act in a fiscally irresponsible way.”
“Nobody wants to see the government shut down, Wolf, and nobody ought to put it in that context. We had an election in 2012... and in that election the Affordable health Care Act was a major issue. The American people reelected Barack Obama as the President, that was one of his major programs. ...[For] the losers of that presidential elections to come in and say unless you do what we want you to do, that we lost at the ballot box, unless you do that, we're going to shut down government …that is not an acceptable alternative.”