Katie Grant, 202-225-3130
WASHINGTON, DC - House Democratic Whip Steny H. Hoyer (MD) spoke on the House Floor today on the omnibus appropriations bill for fiscal year 2012. Below are his remarks:
“I rise in support of this legislation, but this ought to be a lesson for us in some humility. Had I as Majority Leader brought the bill that sits on this Floor, 1207 pages, within the last 24 hours, I think the response from that side of the aisle would have been harsh, accusatory, and not helpful. Now why do I say that? Because it happened. It ought to be a lesson in humility for all of us to understand the legislative process is difficult. We bring different views, we represent different constituencies, we have different priorities.
“I rise in strong support of this bill, and I urge my colleagues to support this piece of legislation. None of them have read it. Not one of us has read every page in this bill. I see the Chairman raising his hand, and I take him at his word. That means 434 of us have to rely on his advice – and I’m sure Mr. Dicks has read it as well. We work by committees, as President Wilson said, and we worked hard on this bill through the year. My Republican colleagues during the course of the last election said we're going to bring bills one at a time to the Floor and consider them. The Labor-Health bill included in a substantial portion of those pages has not only not been brought to the Floor, it didn't pass the Subcommittee, nor the full Committee, nor this Floor. But this bill has been worked on carefully, and I want to congratulate Mr. Rogers and Mr. Dicks and all the Subcommittee chairs for working out the differences that we had so we could do what the American people expect us to do: come to agreement on a bill that none of us perceives as perfect but perceive as a positive step for our country.
“I urge my colleagues to support this bill. Yes, it will keep government open, which is essential. But it will also do the most fundamental job this Congress has to do every year and that is to fund appropriately the priorities that this Congress puts before the country. So again, in closing, Mr. Speaker, let me congratulate my friend Hal Rogers from Kentucky, with whom I served on the Appropriations Subcommittee for over two decades, and Mr. Dicks, with whom I’ve served every day of my congressional career. Both are decent, hardworking, conscientious representatives. They and their Subcommittee chairs and ranking members have come together to present this product. It is time to act, it is time to act positively, and – when the roll is called – I will be supporting this piece of legislation.”