Katie Grant, 202-225-3130
WASHINGTON, DC - House Democratic Whip Steny H. Hoyer (MD) discussed the bipartisan letter sent to the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction and the need to take action on jobs today on CNBC's Squawkbox. See below for excerpts and a link to the video.
“Yesterday we had a press conference… twenty Republicans and Democrats, equal number. Mike Simpson, myself and others made it very clear that over 100 members of the House of Representatives signed the letter saying to the Super Committee, look, everything needs to be on the table – mandatory expenditures and revenues – and we need to reach a $4 trillion give or take deal to put this country on a sound fiscal path. So we sent a letter to the Committee yesterday urging them to come to an agreement on that kind of package. Erskine Bowles and Senator Simpson testified, Alice Rivlin and Pete Domenici testified on Tuesday to the same objective. I am hopeful given the weight of responsibility that we placed on their shoulders and given the critical nature of achieving the objective of a big deal and doing it within a near term that they will come to agreement. It's obviously been tough. Obviously both sides have sort of hardened positions. But it is absolutely essential in the opinion of a lot of people around this country and a large number of members of the House and Senate that we come to agreement.”
“I've talked to all twelve of the members of the Committee and all of them believe… that a big deal was something that they felt was in the best interest of our country and that they were going to work towards. Unfortunately, we haven't seen the kind of movement that I think we need which is, again, why we sent that letter from 100 of us, forty Republicans, sixty Democrats, bipartisan. Mike Simpson saying yesterday, look, you're not going to get to where we need to get without dealing with revenues and without dealing with mandatory expenditures or entitlements and cutting spending both in defense and nondefense. So, there is significant support for that. Mike Simpson, Republican, former Speaker of the Idaho House, Chairman of an appropriation Subcommittee made the observation he thought there were a lot more Republicans who agreed with that proposition than had signed on to the letter. So if think we can put together a majority to support a recommendation of the Commission if it's sound, makes sense, protects the most vulnerable in America as both commissions and the Gang of Six recommend it and gets us to a $4 trillion deficit reduction over the next ten years.”
“What both commissions recommended was in the short term and the next 12 months, 18 months, you don't cut spending, don't ratchet back on the economy. We're trying to grow the economy. You're never going to get to a sound fiscal stance if, in fact, the economy is not growing, if you don't create jobs. We've been in the Congress now 300 days this year just about and no significant jobs legislation has been passed through the Congress. Very frankly, the President put a bill on the table. We've been pushing the Republicans to put that bill on the Floor in the House of Representatives. It was put on the floor in the Senate, got a majority of the Senators to support it, but unanimous Republican opposition. We’ve got to grow the economy, grow jobs, get people back to work if we're going to solve this deficit issue. But we also have to address, as we said yesterday, looking at the expenditures across the board over the next ten, eleven, twelve years and get us back to a sound fiscal path.”