Katie Grant, 202-225-3130
WASHINGTON, DC - House Democratic Whip Steny H. Hoyer (MD) spoke on the House Floor this afternoon in opposition to H.R. 325, the “No Budget, No Pay Act." Below are his remarks and a link to the video:
“I want to say to the Speaker before he leaves the Floor, I believe the Speaker wants to get to a responsible agreement between our parties, between the House and the Senate and between the Congress and the President on getting to a responsible way to reduce the budget. This bill is not that vehicle. This bill, in my view, is an irresponsible waste of our time. This bill does not do what Republicans said they wanted to do over and over and over again. And that is: give a sense of certainty to our economy, to our people, and to the international community.
“This bill kicks the can down the road for 90 days. One more time. This bill simply puts a leverage point, another 90 days away, so that we can continue to roil this Congress, roil this country, and roil our people and our economy. This bill is a political gimmick. This bill was cooked up a few miles from here when, frankly, the Majority party said: ‘We're in trouble. The people don't like us. Things aren't going well. How do we fix it?’ Well they came up with this gimmick. And the gimmick was, if you don't vote the way we want you to vote, we won't pay you.
“Now, very frankly, the problem with that premise is that we are elected by 435 districts who have different perspectives. And my view is the overwhelming majority of us come here to work very hard on behalf of our constituents. But your constituents may not like what my constituents want. But that doesn't mean you have the right to say you're not going to get paid, Mr. Hoyer, because we don't like what you're working for. If that's our premise we are holding hostage policy in an undemocratic, dictatorial fashion.
“Not only that – this 90-day kicking the can down the road has got to stop. We need to come to reality that it's not the debt limit that's the problem, and the President is absolutely right. The President has nothing to do with the debt limit. Only this House and this Senate can spend money. The President can't spend a nickel. Only this House and only this Senate.
“The other problem with this of course is we're not going to spend until 12:30pm today discussing this critically important issue. We treat it like just a throwaway. I can't discuss the substance of this issue in the time allotted to me, nor can any other member. When I had a ‘magic one minute’ it was a little better, when I was Majority Leader. I miss that very much. But I urge both of us, both Republicans and Democrats, to come to grips with making the hard decisions, not the political demagoguery decisions that this bill projects.
“Let us sit down together and come to grips with the fact that, yes, my friend, we need more revenues and, yes, we need to restrain spending, and, yes, we need to restrain entitlements. I say that as a leader of my party. But I say to all of us, you will not get there with gimmicks, you will not get there with pretense, you will not get there with irresponsibility and kick the can down the road. I understand what you've done. You've taken your most controversial leverage point and put it at the end rather than the beginning of the process. But you still have the CR, and you still have the sequester. And we'll have to debate those.
“What we ought to be doing is extending this debt limit for one to four or six years, or eliminating it altogether. When you spend money it has nothing to do with the debt limit and everything to do with the actions of the Congress. I yield back.”