Katie Grant, 202-225-3130
WASHINGTON, DC - Democratic Whip Steny H. Hoyer (MD) discussed the need for Democrats and Republicans to come together to agree on a balanced, big compromise to ensure we pay America's bills and reduce the deficit, while protecting the middle class and seniors, today on the House Floor. Below is a video of highlights from his remarks and excerpts from the video.
"I want to make it very clear. We are not for asking people who are trying to make it in America, we are not for asking those who are struggling in America, we are not asking for those who rely on Social Security, we are not asking for those who rely on their Medicare benefits to pay the burden of the spending that we have been involved in over the last decade, which took us from $5.6 trillion of debt to over $10 trillion of debt. We are not asking for those struggling Americans which the gentleman raises as the specter of those we think ought to pay their fair share. Oh, no. We are asking for those who have done extraordinarily well over the last decade, who have made millions per year over the last decade, some billions of dollars over the last decade, oil companies who are now making the biggest profits they ever made and others to pay a little more so that we can stabilize the finances of America. So, don't represent that it's Democrats who are asking those struggling small business people. We are not doing that. Or those struggling working people in America who, by the way, have been stuck in the mud under the economic policies that were pursued consistent with the 2001 and 2003 economic programs, which has seen a growing disparate between working people and the wealthiest people in America."
"Now, we can continue on that path and put on the backs of those struggling people you talk about, my friend, the responsibility to pay for things, or we can have a fair and balanced program. That's what the 74% [of Republicans who support a balance approach to deficit reduction including spending cuts and revenues] in the Gallup poll want. They don't want their taxes raised. What they want is a fair and balanced obligation, a fair and balanced participation in contribution to paying the debts of this country that we have incurred. And we have incurred them together. You are not all responsible. We are not all responsible. On our side of the aisle, as you well know, this deficit was increased almost 90% under the Bush economic policies—far less than that under the Clinton economic policies, about half. But that's not the issue. Both- the debt went up, we are confronted with it, we got to pay it. You and I believe not paying it is not an option."
"The Chamber of Commerce says clearly that they urge all of us, first, it is critical the U.S. government not default in any way on its fiscal obligations. The President of the United States and our side has said, you bet. We don't want to do that. So let's ask all of us to come to the table and those who can't afford it ought not to be asked. But those who can, should be asked to do so. Not to penalize them but to say we are all in this together. And those who are best off in America, those corporations like the oil companies who are getting subsidies at this point in time, who said they didn't need subsidies if oil was over $55 per barrel, they testified in Congress some years ago to that fact. It's been twice that and we are still giving them subsidies. All we are saying is that doesn't make sense and we ought to have a balanced program. And that's what those 74% [of Republicans] and 77% of independents are saying [in the Gallup poll]. They are not saying they want their taxes raised. They are not saying we ought to raise taxes and incur more debt. They are saying we ought to pay our bills. They are saying we ought to have a fair participation by all Americans in meeting this crisis that confronts us."
"I would hope that over the next three weeks that we could get to a place where we come together in a bipartisan way and ask all of us to participate. And those who can help us confront this, bring this deficit down, balance our budget, and those who can't but who are working hard to make themselves and their families live a quality of life, we'll help them out. And I think as I said we’ll stabilize the economy, grow jobs, and we'll have a better country. I would hope we could do that, Mr. Cantor. I’m looking forward to it."