Statement ● Fiscal Responsibility
For Immediate Release: 
May 31, 2011
Contact Info: 

Katie Grant,  202-225-3130

WASHINGTON, DC - House Democratic Whip Steny H. Hoyer (MD) spoke today on the House Floor in opposition to the debt limit extension that House Republicans brought to the Floor just so they could defeat it: 

"This is a serious issue. Our country is in crisis from a fiscal standpoint. But this vote is not the 'adult moment' of which Speaker Boehner spoke. This is not an honest debate; this is not an honest proposal.

"When the American economy was on the brink of a depression, Congress passed a rescue plan, TARP, to stop a catastrophe. A Republican president, a Republican Treasury Secretary, and a Republican-appointed Federal Reserve Chair all called for that rescue plan—and in this House, more Democrats than Republicans voted for it, because it was the right thing to do. It was a tough and unpopular vote—but it was necessary.

"Today, it is necessary to pay the bills our country has incurred. But at the same time, we need to deal with our fiscal challenges seriously: not by using the necessity of raising the debt limit to score political points; not by using the creditworthiness of the United States as a bargaining chip; not by making simplistic suggestions that our debt is all President Obama’s fault. In fact, Republican policies—including the Bush tax cuts, two wars, and a prescription drug entitlement, all put on the nation’s credit card—remain, to this day, among the greatest drivers of our debt. And Republicans’ own budget would itself require a $9 trillion increase in the debt limit over the coming decade. A serious approach to our fiscal challenges starts with understanding that both parties have been responsible for incurring our bills, and both parties must be responsible for paying them.

"As I tell my constituents in town hall meetings: if you run up a $200 bill on your credit card at the department store, you can’t then go home and say you have a $100 debt limit, so that’s all you’re paying. You already made the purchase—and your bill is due either way. That’s why we have to raise our national debt limit: because we’ve already incurred the bills, and now we have to pay them.

"Both parties understand that. But that’s why it’s so disappointing that Republicans are turning this vote into a political football and an excuse for demagoguery. I’m voting no on this irresponsible piece of legislation, for that reason."