Stephanie Young, 202-225-3130
WASHINGTON, DC - House Democratic Whip Steny H. Hoyer (MD) delivered remarks at a press conference this morning with House Democratic leaders, calling on Republicans to allow a vote to reopen the government and then go to conference on a budget. Below is a transcript of his remarks:
“Thank you very much Leader Pelosi. This is an important tool of the minority – motion to instruct. Or, for that matter, anybody else in the House – to tell the conference committee what they ought to do.
“The Speaker has expressed, however, a concern about that. I think his concern is inconsistent with his discussion about the House working its will and the transparency that Republicans want to bring to the House. But non-withstanding that, and non-withstanding how important this device is to the minority and to the majority, we are, through the Leader, saying that we will not do that. Because if that’s the concern, that they believe politics is going to play into this, we have no intention of doing that.
“And I want to congratulate Leader Pelosi for informing the Speaker and the Republican side of the aisle that that ought not to be, and should not be, and will not be, a concern of them, or a reason for them to delay going to conference on the budget.
“We are now in the 5th day, as the Leader has said, of a shutdown. We have just voted to pay [federal] employees, as we should. The American public wants their government open. The Speaker needs to bring a bill to the Floor, and the letter that the Leader has referred to, 200 Democrats on it, indicates that clearly, in my view, right now, that there are enough people to pass the government-opening funding bill. And we would do so at the Republican-suggested number of dollars. So there’s no disagreement, no argument, about dollars.
“Democrats are united and ready to help end this shutdown by voting for the Senate’s bill which puts the people’s government back to work. Republicans have voted, unfortunately, seven times to block the Senate bill to reopen government from the House Floor.
“While I’m pleased the House just voted to restore pay, as I’ve said, it’s time to get [federal employees] back to work, as well. Democrats have already compromised by accepting the funding level. We’re ready to go to conference on a budget, as we have been for months.
“And in fact the Speaker says, the President has said, many have said, we need an agreement. Mr. Van Hollen is going to outline the very significant issues that need to be discussed in the [budget] conference committee. Major issues and major differences. I’ll leave that to Mr. Van Hollen to discuss.
“But I want to thank the Leader for taking this initiative with which all of us agree, because it is critical for our national security, for our economy, and for the confidence of the American people that we get their government back to work, working for them, as we discuss differences between the two parties and reaching compromise, which is so essential in any democracy.
“Now let me yield to my friend, the Assistant Leader, Mr. Clyburn, Jim Clyburn, of South Carolina.”