Katie Grant, 202-225-3130
WASHINGTON, DC - House Democratic Whip Steny H. Hoyer (MD) spoke on the House Floor today in opposition to the Republican Default Bill. See below for his remarks and a link to the video:
"We find ourselves at an unprecedented place today. America stands on the brink of default. It stands there, my friends, because the leadership of this House has failed to act in a timely and responsible way. This is an unprecedented status for America, an intolerable place. And Americans are understandably outraged at the politically-caused impasse that confronts us, the consequences of which have been correctly characterized as catastrophic.
"For more than two centuries an American default has been unthinkable. The men and women who came before us in this chamber built up the full faith and credit of the United States until it became the bedrock of the world’s economy. Despite their differences, they agreed that the honor that comes from paying our bills responsibly and on time was a moral obligation. Now our nation is on the verge of breaking that trust. If America fails to pay its bills, and default comes, the wound—to the global economy, to jobs across this country, to our standing among nations—will be entirely self-inflicted. It cannot and must not come to that.
"Americans have overwhelmingly called on us to come to a balanced, bipartisan solution: one that pays our bills, reduces our deficit, and draws common contributions from all Americans—not only the vulnerable and the unconnected, but also those who have enjoyed the nation’s prosperity. That is the consensus of the vast majority of the people who sent us here. They understand that ‘my way or the highway’ is no way to govern. They understand that all of us who had a hand in accumulating our debt must share the work of paying it off. They understand that the prosperity and prestige of our country are at stake, right now. And they are relying on the ability of this body to put partisanship aside.
"There will, in fact, be bipartisan opposition to this bill. But, I predict, there will be no Democrat for this bill. I’m deeply concerned that the short-term plan of Speaker Boehner will put us right back here on the precipice of imminent default in just a few months, casting a pall of uncertainty over the economy and leading to a job-destroying credit downgrade.
"Each of us, ladies and gentlemen of this House, have a duty to end this impasse. Let's live up to that duty by voting down this partisan legislation. And then let's come together on a balanced, bipartisan solution to reduce our deficit and pay our bills. Senate Majority Leader Reid has offered just such a plan. In fact, it incorporates exactly what Speaker Boehner suggested in his speech in New York City. Let us embrace that plan. When this bill fails, let the Senate send that plan to us.
"This is a moment of great crisis for our country and for our citizens, a crisis that demands that we put aside partisanship and politics for the good of our people. We’re not there yet, but it is my great hope that we as a body can live up to that challenge.
"Our fellow citizens expect it.
"Our duty demands it.
"Our oath requires it."