Katie Grant, 202-225-3130
WASHINGTON, DC - House Democratic Whip Steny H. Hoyer (MD) discussed the need to move forward with a long-term approach to ensure we pay America's bills and reduce the deficit on MSNBC's The Last Word. See below for excerpts of the interview and a link to the video.
“What we're seeing, Lawrence, in my opinion, is a very sorry and irresponsible spectacle of holding America’s credit worthiness, and very frankly the interest of every American, hostage to an increase in the debt limit, which simply says America’s going to pay its bills. What has been offered by Speaker Boehner is a formula that he has rejected, and Mr. Cantor have both rejected, saying that if we did just incremental, every six months or every eight months, it would keep the economy roiled and it wouldn't grow. And I think they were absolutely right then. But for political reasons, simply to put the President in a corner, they have said no to every deal, to every compromise, to every effort to move this forward to adopt responsible policies which will protect the credit of the United States.”
“It’s very unfortunate that the Republicans continue to pursue this, particularly when Mr. Boehner and the President have reached an agreement tentatively on two different occasions and Mr. Boehner has walked away. Frankly, the Republicans have walked intentionally more than Barry Bonds, and the fact of the matter is that we need to come to an agreement. The Senate, Senator Reid, have offered exactly what they asked for. Mr. Cantor just said we have no taxes in our bill; he was very pumped up about that to tell his constituents that the richest people in America were not going to have to pay anything towards solving this problem. Frankly, the Senate is prepared to offer that, because they feel very strongly the responsible step to take is to make sure America’s able to pay its bills on August 3rd.”
“[The Republican debt limit proposal] carries out their obsession with protecting the wealthiest in America and making the most vulnerable in America pay the bill. That's not good policy, and I suggest to them, in the long run, it's not good politics. So, I would hope in the next few hours, frankly, that we could come to an agreement. The Reid plan, as you pointed out, is everything they asked for, and that we could see that pass in the Senate. We'd get some Republicans to vote for that. Send it over to the House; let us pass it forthwith so that America’s credit is not put at risk. We've done this before numerous times, parties have joined together, and, in fact, Mr. Boehner has voted to raise the debt limit on numerous occasions, both under George Bush and under Bill Clinton, so this is something he can't say ‘I’ve never done this.’ He has done it. Why? Because he knew it was necessary. He said this was going to be an adult moment. Unfortunately, an adult moment has not yet occurred in the House of Representatives.”
“Speaker Boehner made the observation some months ago, when politics were not on the forefront of this issue, that we ought not to do exactly what he's proposing. He said we need a long-term solution, he said we need a big solution, a grand solution. The President offered that. It was clear that he could have gotten that deal, in my opinion. The first time that he walked away from the deal, and I’m absolutely convinced, having talked to the President, he could have gotten a deal the second time he walked away. The problem is I think his party wants to play politics, his party irresponsibly wants to hold hostage the credit of the United States and every American’s credit to politics. Hopefully Mr. Boehner will return to his original concept that we ought to have a long-term, get us out of the election era, and what he's always said he wants is stability so businesses can count on our policies. Well, he's suggested something absolutely the opposite of what he said is good policy.”
“The last four balanced budgets that were offered and passed were offered by Bill Clinton when he was President of the United States, and we had a balanced budget. So, we have not only a rhetorically committed to it, but we've done it. We’ve passed statutory pay-go, which says you ought to pay for what you buy. Unfortunately, we ran up $5 trillion in new deficits in the Bush administration simply because we bought a lot and we didn't pay for it, and Republicans, of course, were in control of all the economic policy. But the issue is not what happened in the past or who's responsible, the issue is who's going to be held accountable, who's going to be responsible right now to make sure that America, for the first time in history, is not put in a position where it can't be relied upon by its creditors to pay its bills. That would be destabilizing for not only our own markets but the international markets as well and every American. Every American will lose if we allow that to happen. Hopefully, the Republicans will come to their senses.”