Statement ● Shutdown
For Immediate Release: 
January 11, 2019
Contact Info: 
Mariel Saez 202-225-3130
WASHINGTON, DC - House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (MD) spoke on the Floor in support of the Interior appropriations bill that passed the House today. Below is a link to the video and excerpts from his remarks:

Click here to watch the full remarks.
"The Republicans have again taken hostage not only 800,000 people who work for the federal government – expecting them to work for no pay, to protect our borders, to protect our seas, to protect our food – and so they've taken hostage the government of the United States one more time.  And so we have a crisis, but the crisis is not at the border.  There is a challenge at the border, and we need to make our border secure. We are for that.”

"Mr. Speaker, on Tuesday night, the President went on television and tried to argue that the American people should continue to endure a painful government shutdown until Democrats give him funding for a border wall that has bipartisan opposition. Democrats and Republicans alike, not all, but [many] oppose this $5.7 billion waste of money on a physical wall along the border.”

"Let's discuss border security, which is important to Democrats and Republicans alike.  Let's sit down and figure out how best to do it.  That is a debate on policy.”

"Trump articulated at the White House that he would not open government until we agreed with doing what he wanted to do. That is not democracy. That's despotism. Leader McConnell was refusing to bring up our package of appropriation bills, the very same bills written by the Republican Senate as has been so often said, and I would prefer they were bipartisan bills. We're now sending him each of the bills individually.”

“On Wednesday, we passed a bill that would among other things reopen the IRS, so taxpayers can get their refunds. They paid in more than they owed, and they ought to get it back, and they ought to get it back in a timely fashion. But folks who... do that are not being allowed to come to work. Yesterday, we passed the Agriculture appropriations bill which would continue nutrition assistance for those facing hunger and reopen programs helping farmers in rural America. Many of you represent rural farmers, and they are relying on payments from the Department of Agriculture to sustain them, and they are not getting them. We also passed yesterday a bill for Transportation, Housing, and Urban Development to restore safety to air travel and keep low-income Americans from losing rental housing assistance. I don't think there is any Republican that wants to see people out on the street because they couldn't make their payment because they didn't get their peament from the federal government. Today, we're bringing this Interior appropriations bill to the Floor to reopen America's national parks and restore services to Native Americans and tribal communities.”

"I ask my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to vote on the merits of this bill. I hope that many Republicans will join us. If you are for reopening government, vote yes. If you vote no, you're for continuing this Trump shutdown.”

“I hope Leader McConnell listens to his Senators. Senator Susan Collins said this on the House-passed bills last Thursday, ‘it would be great to have them signed into law, because there is not great controversy over them and at least we would be getting those workers back to work.’ Senator Corey Gardner, Republican of Colorado, added, ‘we should continue to do our jobs and get the government open.’ I agree, Mr. Speaker. Hopefully when we vote today we will have in mind the 800,000 people who are not getting paid, half of whom are working. Hopefully we'll have in mind all those who are looking for a tax [refund]; all those looking for a supplemental nutrition assistance so they can can can put food on their tables; all those looking to make sure they can settle on their house because FHA is cooperating; all those who need visas extension or something of that nature. Hopefully, we'll be thinking of them — not just of small bore politics of ‘if you don’t do what I say, I won’t play.’ Vote for this bill. Send it to the President, Senator McConnell. Put it on the Floor. Pass it and send it to President Trump."