Stephanie Young, 202-225-3130
WASHINGTON, DC - House Democratic Whip Steny H. Hoyer (MD) spoke to the press following a meeting at the White House with President Obama on the need for a bipartisan proposal to end the Republican government shutdown and ensure America can pay its bills. Below are his comments and a link to the video.
Click here to watch the video.
“Thank you, Madam Leader. I agree with the Leader, that this is a very positive meeting, as we expected it to be. The President is very committed to getting the government open, obviously, making sure that America pays its bills. And we assured the President that those two objectives have the overwhelming, almost unanimous if not unanimous, support of our caucus. We have a letter signed on the debt limit, and we're going to be unanimous on opening up government. That's our two major objectives.
“We now have forty-eight hours to make sure that our country remains solvent and paying its debts – and to make sure that our workers get back to work on behalf of the American people. I agree with the Leader that if the Republican Conference wants to offer [something] – we haven't seen text yet, but it has other things in it, one of which we think is very, very damaging to the United States of America, and that is taking away from the President and the Secretary of Treasury the ability to manage the payment of our debts, so that we remain a zero-risk creditor. And so with that, let me yield to my friend, Jim Clyburn, the Assistant Leader.”
[In response to a question about Democratic votes for the Republican proposal.]
“Let me reiterate: we're [at] 48 hours. This is the 15th day of a shutdown where government workers have been precluded from serving those who are trying to get veterans benefits, those who want to get on Social Security, those who want to go into our parks. We are two days from – according to the Secretary of the Treasury – not being able to manage our debt and stay a zero-risk nation.
“The extraneous things that the Republicans are talking about do not serve our nation, and, what the Leader and I are saying is, our Members are prepared to cooperate fully in getting those two things done. Then we can talk about other things. But we need to move on those, and we need to move on them now, and we're hopeful that the Speaker [will].
"We're very pleased with what's happened in the Senate. The Senate's been working together in a bipartisan way to try to get to an agreement. I'm sorry that that bill hasn't been sent over to us. But there will be time to talk about other matters once we get the government open and pay our bills.”