Katie Grant, 202-225-3130
WASHINGTON, DC - House Democratic Whip Steny H. Hoyer (MD) delivered a morning hour speech today on the House Floor on the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction. See below for a link to the video and his remarks as prepared for delivery:
“This week, the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction began work on a roadmap to bring down our nation’s deficit and restore our fiscal health. They heard from Doug Elmendorf, Director of the Congressional Budget Office, who reiterated once again what we already know: our nation’s current fiscal position is not sustainable. We also know that the problem we’re facing stems in part from buying things without paying for them, including two wars, tax cuts for the wealthy, and a prescription drug program.
“But what matters now is taking action. Over the month of August we heard very clearly from the American public that they want us to work together on the issues they’re most concerned about: jobs and the deficit. Action on one issue directly impacts the other. Creating jobs and growing the economy is one of the most important things we can do to bring down the deficit. And getting a handle on our fiscal situation will give confidence to encourage economic growth and job creation. Both the Bowles-Simpson and Domenici-Rivlin fiscal commissions supported this tenet by calling for immediate action to boost the economy, while laying out a plan to reduce the deficit over the long-term.
“This is why the Joint Select Committee must succeed. We have a responsibility to show Americans, and the international community, that we can meet the challenges we face, that we can join together and make the tough decisions necessary to spur growth and bring our debt under control.
“I believe the Committee must go beyond $1.5 trillion of deficit reduction if we hope to seriously change our nation’s fiscal outlook. Over 60 economists and former Members of Congress signed a letter encouraging the Joint Select Committee to reach the biggest agreement possible, and I join with them in that sentiment. In their letter, signed by the co-chairs of both the Bowles-Simpson and Domenici-Rivlin fiscal commissions, among others, they state: “We believe that a ‘go big’ approach that goes well beyond the $1.5 trillion deficit reduction goal that the Committee has been charged with and includes major reforms of entitlement programs and the tax code is necessary to bring the debt down to a manageable and sustainable level, improve the long-term fiscal imbalance, reassure markets, and restore Americans’ faith in the political system.”
“As the letter I just quoted indicates, the committee must also put all options on the table. The math is irrefutable – we cannot get to where we need to go if we ignore revenues, or if we fail to ensure our safety net is sustainable for generations to come. A balanced approach that looks at defense spending, revenues, and entitlements is the only real way we are going to put America’s fiscal house back in order. A balanced approach is also key in making sure everyone pays their fair share. We cannot ask middle class families and seniors to bear the entire burden of balancing the budget. The most well-off among us must also contribute.
“But as we focus on ways to restore our budget to balance, we cannot forget the immediate jobs crisis that too many families face. Any plan to bring down the deficit must start with getting people back to work. That is why I hope Republicans will work with us to bring the President’s proposed American Jobs Act to the Floor for a vote without delay. It mirrors many components included in House Democrats’ Make It In America agenda, and will help create jobs in the short-term.
“All of us – Democrats and Republicans alike – must be invested in the committee’s success. This is a time to put partisan politics aside and do the hard things, the courageous things, that we have to do for our country. I believe we are equal to the task.”