Katie Grant, 202-225-3130
WASHINGTON, DC - House Democratic Whip Steny H. Hoyer (MD) spoke on the House Floor today in opposition to the Republicans' partisan one-week CR. See below for a link to the video and transcript.
“I want to say to the chairman of the Appropriations Committee, how often he and I have said, you know, when we have these impasses, we need a clean CR. This CR is unclean. This CR will not get us to where you say you want to get, Mr. Chairman, and that's not shutting down the government. Because you know and I know the President will not sign this bill. Why? Because you put in poison pills that you know are unacceptable to him. Why? So you can get the votes on your side of the aisle to vote for your bill to keep the government open. Why is that difficult? Because so many of your folks, unless they get 100%, are prepared to shut down the government.
“You and I both know that, Mr. Chairman. I have great respect for you. I think you and I could go in a room and solve this in 30 seconds but you and I are not in that room. It is time, as the Speaker has said, to be adults. Why is this a viable piece of legislation on the floor? Because you think you can hold the government ransom for an additional $12 billion. I said I would not support, after supporting the first two, which I thought were reasonable to try to give us an opportunity to solve the differences that exist between us, that I would not vote for a third one. And I’m not going to vote for this one. It won't matter because it's dead anyway, you all know it’s dead. But you're banking on the fact that you know we don't want to shut down government. What's the proof in the pudding?
“We did not shut it down when we had disagreements with George Bush because we believe that reasonable people elected by a diverse community in America who have different opinions were expected by our public to come together, reason together and act productively together. Very frankly, I don't take a back seat to anybody on this Floor in my support of defense or the men and women in uniform and Mr. Young knows that, my dear friend. Not a back seat to anyone. And yes, we pass a unanimous consent request to fund at present levels, defense would continue. Should we have passed the defense bill last year? I think we should have. I'm sorry we didn't. I urge that we do it. But the Senate, as you might recall, would not allow any bills to come to the floor. Any bills. That is the Republicans in the United States Senate would not allow that to happen. So now we are faced with not a “let's reason together” bill, but an additional $12 billion in cuts, which means that week by week by week, you'll think you will get to what you want. Not a compromise, not an agreement, but what you want. And you'll do it $5 billion a week, $2 billion a week, this one is $12 billion a week. And you have no expectation that that will pass or be signed by the President. But you do it to pretend you want to keep government in operation.
“Newt Gingrich said, don't worry about shutting down the government as he shut it down in 1995 and over Christmas for three weeks in 1995 and 1996. Ladies and gentlemen, on my side of the aisle, we ought to reject this specious political act, which pretends we want to keep the government open.
“We ought to do what you and I have done in the past as members of the Appropriations committee. Say we haven't reached an agreement, we do a clean CR. At present level while we continue to negotiate on behalf of the American people to do what we all want to do, we've got to bring this deficit down… I urge my colleagues to reject this CR and adopt a clean CR. That will keep the government in operation."