Katie Grant, 202-225-3130
WASHINGTON, DC - Democratic Whip Steny H. Hoyer (MD) spoke on the House Floor today in opposition to the Republican Spending Bill. Below are his remarks as prepared for delivery:
"In 1993, we looked the fiscal situation of our country in the eye. We had sustained $1.4 trillion of deficit spending under President Reagan and $1.1 trillion of deficit spending under President Bush. We put legislation on the floor and said that we need to meet our fiscal responsibilities. Not a single Republican voted for that legislation. But over the next eight years, we had a net surplus in this country—the only time in the lifetime of anyone in this body that it’s happened. Unfortunately, the last administration ran up $3.8 trillion in deficits. And we inherited an economy that was in substantial freefall. We adopted legislation that tried to stabilize the economy, and the good news is that the economy has stabilized. But we still haven’t gotten to where we want to be—far too many Americans remain out of work.
"As President Obama says, we want to invest in growing our economy and bring jobs back. There will be some very tough decisions we'll have to make moving forward, and frankly, you will not get there focused simply on the small slice of the budget that Republicans are slashing. It will not happen. You’ll still have a deficit this year if we cut out every nickel of that spending. That spending educates our children. It promotes our health. It promotes our commerce. It promotes building the economy.
"But the Republican spending bill, far from building our economy, would weaken America’s competitive edge. It would leave us with roads, bridges, and an air traffic control system stuck in the last century. It would cut support for 20,000 researchers, $1.4 billion in energy research, and $2.5 billion in medical research. It would kick 200,000 children out of Head Start and make it harder for Americans to afford college. It would, in sum, severely damage America’s ability to out-build, out innovate, and out-educate its competitors. Nor do Republican claims of fiscal discipline seem credible in light of the policies they approved, at the beginning of this Congress, that would pave the way to add another $5 trillion to the deficit.
"Solving our deficit problem will take courage, cooperation, and common sense—but not short-sighted cuts to investments. And if we do not address the deficit, in a real and lasting way, our children and grandchildren will hold all of us responsible for the legacy of fiscal irresponsibility which we will leave them. We now have bipartisan responsibility. Republicans are in charge of the House, Democrats are in charge of the Senate, and we have a Democratic president. It is a perfect opportunity for us all to take responsibility. The decisions we have to make will be tough. They will be agonizing, and they will be wrenching. But if we make those decisions together, we can do it. We owe it to our country, our fellow citizens, and our children to do so."