Stephanie Young, 202-225-3130
WASHINGTON, DC - House Democratic Whip Steny H. Hoyer (MD) spoke on the House Floor this afternoon on Republicans' inability to govern effectively after Republicans had to pull the Transportation, Housing, and Urban Development appropriations bill and three suspension bills from Floor consideration yesterday. Below are his remarks and a link to the video:
Click here to watch the video.
“I thank the Ranking Member of the Rules Committee, my friend, Ms. Slaughter, for yielding. I want to say I have a great deal of respect for the Gentleman from Oklahoma. But I say that this House is not working.
“The American people are angry with all of us – 100% of us. The Gentleman from Florida just said: surely we can find common ground. The Gentleman talked about shutting down government being an unreasonable response, although many in his party promote that. The President's not promoting it. The President's against it. You know our side is against that. Surely we can reach common ground.
“Yesterday we had eight bills on the Floor on suspension. The public doesn't know process, I understand that. They are not too interested in hearing about process, but suspensions make for short debates and no amendments, no ability to make changes in those bills. That's why they were all put on suspension. Apparently, three of those bills were pulled because they didn't think they had the votes. I don't think they had the votes either, they being the Majority.
"So what did they do in their pursuit of a transparent, let-the-House-work-its-will pledge, that they have made to the American public when they sought control, being in the Majority? They've gone to the Rules Committee – one rule, five bills. How can you debate five different bills where the rules are correct? And what are those rules? Closed. No amendments. Limited discussion.
“Yesterday, we had an appropriations bill on the Floor – it was pulled. It was pulled, as I predicted it would be, because the Republican Majority cannot get its act together, disagrees with itself as a deeply divided party.
“I was just on television and they played a clip of Rush Limbaugh before that. And Rush Limbaugh said: we ought not to compromise, because we don't have anything in common with them. Meaning Democrats. My response was: I think Rush Limbaugh is wrong. We're all Americans, and we're all elected here by Americans – to serve them and to serve their country. To serve our communities and our neighbors. And to try to do things that make sense. Americans elected all of us from different places, different interests.
“I say this because, Mr. Speaker, the American people need to know what's happening. They pulled the transportation-housing bill. I wasn't for that bill as it came out of Committee, nor were any Democrats that voted on it in Committee, but [Republicans] brought it to the Floor and pulled it. Nine days from tomorrow, nine legislative days from tomorrow, we're going to have that issue of how we're going to fund government and keep it running. The Senate just a few minutes ago refused to allow the Senate – because the Republican Party voted no on bringing debate to close after days of debate and discussion, and they voted no to take the HUD bill up for discussion. So in both Houses, the Republican Party has abandoned the appropriations process.
“Now I’ve just said that. Hal Rogers, Chairman of the Appropriations Committee, conservative Republican, says this: ‘I am extremely disappointed with the decision to pull the bill from the House calendar today. The prospects of passing this bill in September are bleak at best, given the vote count on the passage that was apparent this afternoon. With this action, the House has declined to proceed on the implementation of the very budget it adopted’ – without a single Democratic vote – ‘just three months ago.’
“He went on to say – Mr. Rogers, conservative, Kentucky, Chairman of the Appropriations Committee, Republican: ‘Thus I believe the House has made its choice: sequestration – and its unrealistic, ill-conceived, discretionary cuts – must be brought to an end.’
“The Ryan budget was unrealistic when it was considered on this Floor. Mr. Rogers voted for that budget. He knew then it was unrealistic. He knew then it could not be implemented and I predicted it couldn't be implemented. I predicted then, that if you took every Democrat out of the House and every Democrat out of the Senate, that that budget could not be implemented through the appropriations process, through the ways and means process. And I was right.
“Yes, we need to seek common ground. We're hurting the economy, we're undermining the confidence of the American people, and, indeed, we're undermining the confidence of our international partners.
“Tom Cole sits here, representing the Rule Committees. I want to tell everybody in America, Tom Cole is a reasonable Member of this House. He's been a leader of this House. He wants to seek common ground, in my view. So I do not criticize him but I say…. Time is running out on this House, time is running out on America, time is running out on the patience of Americans that their House is not working, and now, Mr. Chairman, I yield back the balance of my time – but we should not yield the balance of time for the American people and for our country.”