Press Release
For Immediate Release: 
December 2, 2021
Contact Info: 
Margaret Mulkerrin 202-225-3130
WASHINGTON, DC – House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (MD) spoke on the House Floor this afternoon on legislation to keep the government open through February 18. Below are excerpts of his remarks and a link to the video.
 
Click here to watch the full interview.

“I heard my friend, Tom Cole, speaking earlier on the Rule, and he is my friend, he's a Member I respect. He's a member of the Appropriations Committee and the Rules Committee. He's a Member who respects this institution. But I disagreed with him very much about why we were at a CR. We passed the overwhelmingly – 75% of the appropriations bills before August 1 and sent them to the Senate. They have neither acted on those bills, nor have they acted on their own bills, and asked to go to conference. So we find ourselves at the 11th hour as we did on September 30, although we passed the CR a little before September 30, without having funded the government.”

“The timing for the consideration of this CR resulted not from the Majority’s focus on passing critical legislation to help the American people get ahead, the Build Back Better Act, the infrastructure bill, which by the way only 13 Republicans voted for, but my speculation is at least half of them are going to take credit for what we've done in that bill. Maybe all of them. It is a result, this failure, of the Minority's determination to slow down the work of Congress so that such legislation is delayed. As a matter of fact the… Minority Leader in the United States Senate said exactly that. He said that he would not consider negotiating on the CR until Build Back Better was done. Which means he's prepared to shut down the government... He wants to gum up the works on Build Back Better. I get that. He's opposed to it. Doesn't like it. Thinks it's the wrong priorities. That's an honest position to take. I think it's incorrect, but it's honest. But don't do it by playing games with the appropriations process.”

“I agree that it's unfortunate that we have to take up another stopgap measure this week to keep the government operating.”

“We need to pass an omnibus. And I would hope that every Republican, after hopefully passing this piece of legislation, today or tomorrow, will then address how we are going to have an omnibus, how are we going to deal with the problems, how we're going to give the government agencies that which they need to meet new challenges that were not available to us a year ago and so they could not be addressed. It’s extremely disappointing that Senate Republicans are blocking progress toward full-year appropriations that will enable our government to serve the American people. I happen to believe that the Chair, excuse me, the Ranking Member, Senator Shelby, wants to see an omnibus passed. I believe that, but I believe the tactics of Republican Leadership in the Senate is not to do so until they get what they want. That's dangerous for our country and it's extraordinarily inefficient for the two million people who are waiting to see what we're doing.”

“There are few certainties in Washington, Madam Speaker, but one of them has now become that Congress will not complete the appropriations process by the start of the fiscal year. I've tried to make that happen every year that I’ve been Majority Leader. The Chair of this Committee, Rosa DeLauro, did everything she could to pass 12 appropriations bills by the August 1 deadline. If we had any help, any help on the Republican side, we would have done it.”

“Only six times over the past 20 years has Congress come within three months of this deadline, the end of the fiscal year. I could go on for some period of time talking about Mr. Cole, he said the Majority wasn't serious. We're very serious. And we have been the ones that opened up government after it was shut down for some 35 days when we took over from the Republican Leadership two Congresses ago. We can do better. And for Mr. Cole to say that we were spending time pandering to the American people by passing the Build Back Better Act, or passing the bipartisan infrastructure act, I hope he reflects upon that statement and says no, that was wrong. Yes, we focused on Build Back Better because we think it's important for the American people, but we had already passed the appropriation bills – they were already in the Senate, ready to be acted upon, and we were ready to act in response. Madam Speaker, this is a result of the inability of the Congress to work. The House worked. Republicans and Democrats, this House can work… It can pass legislation. The Senate is not working, and it is hurting our country.”

“But if we keep putting [coming to an agreement on an omnibus] off, putting it off, putting it off, it undermines the credibility of the United States, the confidence that people have in our country, the confidence that our workers have in our stewardship of the leadership of this country, and the people's confidence.”

“I'm not in love with this CR, but in a world of alternatives, there should be none for any of us. All of us should have the courage to be responsible. Madam Speaker, all of us should have the courage to say there is no alternative and after we pass this bill and the Senate passes this bill, get down to the work between now and February 18. And I would hope we could pass an omnibus appropriation bill, including the work of the gentleman from California, the gentlewoman from Connecticut, all the rest of us, on the priorities that we want to pursue as an American people and the investments that we want to make in achieving those objectives. I hope we do that.”