Statement ● Tax and Appropriations
For Immediate Release: 
January 18, 2018
Contact Info: 
Mariel Saez 202-225-3130
WASHINGTON, DC - House Democratic Whip Steny H. Hoyer (MD) delivered remarks on the House Floor today in opposition to Republicans’ fourth Continuing Resolution of the fiscal year. Below is a video and a transcript of his remarks: 
 

Click here to watch the full remarks.
 
“Mr. Speaker, we are now four months into the fiscal year, and this is our fourth Continuing Resolution.  [Rep. Diaz-Balart] says now is the time to work things out.  Every Democrat voted to extend the fiscal year by ninety days.  Nothing was worked out.  Why?  Because you spent all your time on a tax bill, giving resources – 83% of the resources – to the richest people in America.

“Republicans control all the levers of the legislative process – the House, the Senate, the White House.  They have the votes on their own to keep the government open or choose to shut it down, as they did by policy some years ago for sixteen days.  We don't want to shut down the government.  Keeping the government open by passing appropriation bills is the most basic responsibility of any governing Majority.  This governing Majority has not sent a single – not one – appropriations bill to the President of the United States.  Not one.

“Republicans ought to have gotten this work done in the spring and summer, but they wasted their time trying to repeal the Affordable Care Act.  That's all they did.  After failing to do so, they asked for more time in September.  And we voted, every one of us, to give them that time.  They squandered it. They had to do two more extensions.  They squandered that time.  And now they want to have another time where they can squander more time.  Instead of using the extra time to do the job of governing, they wasted it on passing a tax overhaul that added $1.5 trillion in new deficit spending and raised taxes on the middle class.

“So here we are again, Mr. Speaker.  Americans are right to be frustrated by the inability or unwillingness of the Republican-led Congress to do its job and keep the government open.  You have 241 votes.  Get them.  Get them.  You have the authority to do it, and you have the responsibility to do it.  Get the votes.

“Even some Republican lawmakers are openly expressing the frustration with their own leadership.  Let me quote Rep. Mark Meadows. He hit the nail on the head yesterday when he asked: ‘What's the plan?  When are we going to deal with immigration?’  My previous speaker talked about dealing with it.  We haven't dealt with it.  Put something on the Floor.  You haven't done it.  ‘When are we going to deal with spending?’  This is Mark Meadows.  ‘At what point do you quit kicking the can down on the road…’  This is Mark Meadows, Republican, not me.  ‘…And passing just another Continuing Resolution in the hopes things get better in a few weeks.’

“Democrats don't want the government to shut down. We don't have the power to shut it down either. That's entirely in the hands of the Majority.

“And, by the way, on that previous CR, ninety of your Members voted against it.  Did they vote against the military? Did they vote against the first responders? Did they vote against education funding?  And we wring our hands about the military funding!  You think it's any easier to run a non-defense agency with a CR? You're wrong if you think that.  They undermine our domestic agencies as well, and I hope that they are equally worried about the impact doing one short-term funding bill after another has on the domestic side.

“Americans are frustrated that their Congress can't agree on what we agree on.  Republicans have previously supported the principles of parity when raising spending caps.  That was the Paul Ryan deal.  He's the Speaker.  He said: yes, we'll increase military and domestic the same.  That was his deal.  Paul Ryan, the Speaker.  That's all we're asking for.  Paul Ryan, make your deal again.  And he won't do it.  Instead, he just wants to keep kicking the can down the road once, twice, thrice, now four times.

“Yes, we want, as the previous speaker said, all DREAMers to stay in this country.  We all want to re-authorize the CHIP program to prevent nine million children from losing their health insurance.  I dare you to put it on the Floor.  It will pass with every vote in this House.  No, you want to blackmail us into passing something that we don't like and we don't think is good for the country.  We want to address other urgent health priorities as well. You want to pass CHIP, but you do not want to pass the community health centers.  My colleague, Betty McCollum, told us that many CHIP children will have no place to go.  You passed a bill, but no place to go.  So why don't Republicans sit down and reach agreement?

“Mr. Speaker, I urge my colleagues across the aisle, don't shut down the government.  I implore them: use your Majority not to delay, but to govern.  And I tell them: Democrats are still ready to work with you, as we have been throughout, to sit down and reach bipartisan compromise on our most pressing challenges.

“We voted to give you 120 days to do that.  Now you want some more time.  You come to the door and ask for some cake, and your neighbor says, ‘come back tomorrow,’ and you come back tomorrow, and you ask the same thing, and he says, ‘come back tomorrow.’  And you go back the next day, and he says the same thing: ‘come back tomorrow.’ That's what the Republicans are saying: ‘Come back tomorrow.  Come back tomorrow. Come back tomorrow.’  But there has been no tomorrow. Vote against this CR.”