WASHINGTON, DC – House Democratic Whip Steny H. Hoyer (MD), who also is a senior Member of the Appropriations Committee, made the following statement on the Floor today during consideration of the Fiscal Year 2006 Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Appropriations Bill:
“Mr. Speaker, just three months ago, the Republican Majority Leader (Mr. DeLay) stood on this House Floor, and, with great passion, stated: ‘The one major responsibility of a government is to protect innocent, vulnerable people . .’
“On that very same day in March, the President of the United States stated: ‘The essence of civilization is that the strong have a duty to protect the weak.’
“But now, Mr. Speaker, the political party that exploits every opportunity to talk about the ‘culture of life’ virtually ignores and dismisses what I call the ‘culture of the living’ – the innocent, the vulnerable, the weak who are living, breathing members of this American family today.
“This bill demonstrates – in concrete terms – how the Republican Party’s misguided and irresponsible tax and budget policies have real consequences for real, live Americans.
“Just yesterday, President Bush visited my Congressional District in Maryland, and he stated: ‘I know some workers are concerned about jobs going overseas.’
“Yet, this bill cuts job training and help for the unemployed by $346 million. This bill cuts the President’s community college training initiative in half.
“President Bush also stated yesterday: ‘I know some are concerned about gaining the skills necessary to compete in the global market that we live in.’
“Yet, this bill cuts the bipartisan No Child Left Behind Act by $806 million. This bill cuts Community Services Block Grants – which helps the most needy – in half.
“And, the President stated yesterday: ‘I know that families are worried about health care and retirement, and I know moms and dads are worried about their children finding good jobs.’
“Yet, this bill eliminates health professions training programs. This bill eliminates the Health Communities Access Program, which helps serve the uninsured. This bill cuts Maternal and Child Health Block Grant. And this bill freezes After School Centers for the fourth year in a row.
“Mr. Speaker, I have the utmost respect for those who speak about the ‘culture of life.’ But we must ask: What about the culture of the living?
“This bill is perhaps the most important piece of domestic legislation that this Congress considers every year. It is a statement of national and moral principle.
“But, today, it is nothing more than ‘Exhibit A’ in this Republican Party’s misguided priorities and fiscal recklessness.
“I urge my colleagues to vote against it.”