Katie Grant, 202-225-3130
WASHINGTON DC—House Democratic Whip Steny H. Hoyer (MD) joined the Congressional Black Caucus during their Special Order Hour tonight to discuss job creation and helping the unemployed. Below are his remarks and a link to the video:
“I thank the gentle lady for yielding and I thank her for her leadership. I want to thank the Congressional Black Caucus, which has raised this issue to a new height of, not only visibility, but of hope. Emanuel Cleaver, the Chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus told a wonderful story in our Caucus the other day. He said there was a little boy and his dad. His dad was reading the paper and the little boy scratched his hand and as he did so, it obviously hurt. He went in front of his dad, shaking his hand, he walked to and from his father and his father kept reading the paper. And finally his father put down the paper and said, ‘Son, I know you scratched your hand. But there's nothing I can do about it.’ And the little boy looked at his dad and said: 'you can say ouch.' You can understand the pain that I’m experiencing. You can understand the pain that losing a job is causing me. You can understand the pain of a home that is lost because the mortgage cannot be paid. You can understand the pain of a family living in a home who has seen the value of that most important asset of theirs dwindle and be reduced so that the mortgage payment they're paying is more than the value of the home in which they live.
“The Congressional Black Caucus did two things. It said, we hear and we say ‘ouch.’ We understand the pain you're experiencing. We feel your pain. But if all we do is empathize and feel pain, that's not enough. Our President addressed us this last week. He said we can shrug our shoulders and say, there's 14 months until the next election but the people in pain can't wait 14 months. That's what the Congressional Black Caucus did. Tens of thousands of people showed up throughout this nation because somebody offered hope and not just hope but real deliverables. Jobs were gotten. Interviews were set up. Training sessions for how you apply, how you dress, how you talk to prospective employers - those kinds of seminars were given. A difference was made by the Congressional Black Caucus traveling throughout this country.
“So I rise to thank the leadership and all the members of the Congressional Black Caucus. I see Mr. Davis and Ms. Waters on the Floor with Donna Christensen and I thank them for their leadership in particular. Maxine Waters was an extraordinarily strong voice for saying just that, we feel your pain and it's not just empathy, we're going to give you the help that we can give.
“This President came before us last week and said, ladies and gentlemen, it is time to act. It is time to add to the opportunity for success for putting America back to work; for addressing the mortgage crisis in our country; for putting some more money in the pockets of working men and women in this country; for helping small business grow and expand. Making sure, as well, that we pay for what we buy. Every commission that has met, the Bowles-Simpson Commission and the Domenici-Rivlin Commission said we have to get a handle on this debt, for which I’m a strong proponent. But in the short-term, we need to grow the economy. If you do not grow the economy, you will not get the deficit down. Because you need people working so they can support themselves and their families and pay taxes so that their grandchildren will not be deeply in debt.
“So I stand indebted to the Congressional Black Caucus for continuing to focus like a laser on creating jobs. Mr. Butterfield, another member of the Congressional Black Caucus and leader in our House, Chief Deputy Whip, is here as well and will be speaking so that in North Carolina and in America, we can create jobs, invest in growing our economy and give confidence to every single individual, every family and yes, every business, small, medium, and large that this Congress will act responsibly to address a challenge and address the pain that our people are feeling. And make sure in the long-term, as we did in the 1990's, that our country is on a sound fiscal path, leading to growth in the economy, jobs for our people and a stronger and healthier America.
“I am pleased to join the Congressional Black Caucus – thanking them, congratulating them, and saying I look forward to working with them, not just today, but today, the next day, tomorrow, and tomorrow and the next week, until such time as our people are no longer in the pain they now experience.”