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 take action on critical legislative issues, including reaching a balanced budget agreement that replaces the sequester before the end of the year. Below is a transcript of his remarks:
“Thank you very much Leader. Many of you have heard me say, but you know it as well – there are 8 legislative days left in 2013, according to the Republican Majority schedule. Two of those days, of course, are days in which we come in at 6:30. So that there is not much time to do the work of the American people.
“However, Republicans seem content to let the clock run out on replacing the irrational sequester with a balanced agreement. A sequester that will hurt our country, will hurt our economy, and will put at risk our national security. We have to prevent a second year sequester from taking effect in January.
“Even Republican appropriators, who sent a letter to budget conferees on Monday are saying we need to take action now. All 12 Republican chairs of the subcommittees have said that. They said this: ‘the failure to reach a budget deal to allow Appropriations to assemble funding for FY 2014 will reopen the specter of another government shutdown.’
“If the Republicans are going to be a responsible leadership party, they will prevent [another government shutdown], and they will provide for adequate funding for the government of the United States of America. 'The current sequester and the upcoming Second Sequester in January would result in more indiscriminate across the board reductions that could have' - and in my opinion would have - 'negative consequences on critically important federal programs, especially national defense.’ That quote was from the Republican chairs. ‘The American people’ they went on to say, ‘deserve a detailed budget blueprint that makes rational and intelligent choices on funding by their elected representatives.’ And then they added this: ‘not by a meat ax.’
“I was an appropriator for many years, as was Leader Pelosi, and Mr. Clyburn - a lot of us come out of the Appropriations Committee and understand the obligations and responsibility of that committee to the American people. Not to a party. Not to Democrats or Republicans, but to the American people.
“Congress must act to spur job creation by ending uncertainty and passing Make It In America bills as well. There is no time to waste. There are only 6 days, and two partial days left, to do our work. I have urged my colleagues, as I know the Leader has – we will not vote to adjourn until such time as we have addressed such important issues on the agenda. Among those is the budget conference, the unemployment insurance, the farm bill, the SGR [fix], tax extenders, and yes, we ought to deal with comprehensive immigration reform and ending discrimination in the workplace as well. Our Caucus is determined that we will stay and do the work of the American people.”