Stephanie Young, 202-225-3130
WASHINGTON, DC - House Democratic Whip Steny H. Hoyer (MD) released the following statement today on the beginning of the second session of the 113th Congress:
“As the 113th Congress begins its second session, we must focus on helping working Americans achieve a secure place in our middle class through efforts to reduce income inequality and by making sure that our economy creates jobs that can support families. This means passing Make It In America legislation to help the private sector create high-skill, high-wage jobs and raising the minimum wage to ensure that all who work hard can make it in our country. It is also critical that Congress take action immediately to restore emergency unemployment insurance benefits for those who are still struggling to find their next jobs. We have no time to lose, as an additional 72,000 Americans will be dropped from emergency unemployment benefits each week, on average, for as long as Republicans block an extension.
“This Republican-led House, the most unproductive in modern history, has still not passed legislation to pay America’s bills on time and avert another dangerous, manufactured default crisis as the debt ceiling deadline is fast approaching. The farm bill that provides a lifeline to those who produce our food and to those facing the risk of hunger has yet to be reauthorized. And the Republican-led House has not taken up comprehensive immigration reform legislation or the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, both of which have already moved through the Senate on a bipartisan basis. Congress must not waste any more time getting to work on these critical pieces of legislation left unfinished in 2013. At the same time, we must keep working toward a long-term plan for fiscal stability and growing our economy.
“I was very disappointed to learn that Majority Leader Eric Cantor is planning to make the Majority’s legislative agenda for 2014 even less ambitious than the previous year’s and that Republicans intend to continue their obsessive focus on undermining the Affordable Care Act, a law which is already benefitting millions of Americans. Democrats will continue to defend that law’s patient protections and cost-saving reforms and ensure that the law works for all Americans. As we look to a new year, let us do so with the hope that Democrats and Republicans will work together to tackle not only the issues where we find common ground but the toughest issues that demand real compromise.”