Stephanie Young, 202-225-3130
WASHINGTON, DC - House Democratic Whip Steny H. Hoyer (MD) spoke on the House Floor this evening in opposition to the partisan amendments House Republicans are adding to a continuing resolution in a continued effort to undermine the Affordable Care Act. Below are his remarks and a link to the video:
Click here to watch the video.
“I thank the Gentlelady for yielding. The Gentleman from Georgia said that this health care was about one-sixth of the economy. He's right. [But] this continuing resolution is about 100 percent of the economy.
“Why are we here, Mr. Speaker? The American people are asking themselves, what is this debate about? We passed a budget in this House setting spending at $967 billion. The Senate passed a budget at $1.058 trillion. There's a $91 billion difference between the Senate and the House.
"This House, which talks about negotiations, has refused to go to conference. So we have not reached an agreement on a number. That's why we're here.
“Nor have we passed two-thirds of the appropriation bills through this House. In fact, one was brought to the Floor and pulled off the Floor because at the $967 billion Republican budget [level], you cannot pass those appropriations bills if there were no Democrats in the House. And my friend Mr. Rogers knows that.
“My friend, Mr. Rogers, talked about responsibility. We ought to be responsible. And I believe that on the Republican side of the aisle, there are at least 150 Members who believe that we ought to be responsible, that believe that this constant harping on the Affordable Care Act, which was the central part of the last election and you want to deny the fact that elections make a difference.
“And one of the speakers got up and said, this mandate is unconstitutional. So he also wants to deny the fact that the Supreme Court of the United States has specifically said it is constitutional. But it doesn't comport with your view, and therefore you have rejected it as you have rejected the results of the election.
“Mr. Speaker, as the representatives of 316 million Americans, we have a special obligation to see past the politics of the moment and embrace the spirit of cooperation for the sake of the public good. Not our good, not our politics – not a single one of us is here because we were thought to be the best at doing nothing or saying no.
“Each of us was sent here because our neighbors believe we have something positive to contribute, that we can do what is right for our country. Not for our politics, but for our country and for our people.
“We have [not] a matter of days, but hours left to prevent our government from shutting down. A shutdown is not a tactic. It's not a strategy. It is a failure for this country. Let us not be the country whose representatives cannot work together to fulfill the most basic function of government.
“My friends across the aisle voted over 40 times to derail the Affordable Care Act without success. When do you say enough is enough? Let us move on responsibly to make government work – at, by the way, your level.
“The President said he would sign a bill at your level, not a negotiated level, but at your level. You've won, but you can't take yes for an answer. The Senate rejected [your CR], as they will reject this new attempt. Instead, now is the time to try a different approach.
"Mr. Speaker it is time to let this House, and not just a small faction of the House… which I tell my responsible friends on the Republican side of the aisle, you ought to reject. You ought to say enough is enough. You ought to say let's move on. You've had your votes. You lost.
“Let us live up to the responsibility that our founders instilled in this great people's House and continue to be the democracy that is the envy of the world. Let us make sure that when people look at America, they look at America as a country that works, an America that can be united, and an America that believes E Pluribus Unum still is our motto. And I yield back."