Mariel Saez 202-225-3130
WASHINGTON, DC - House Democratic Whip Steny H. Hoyer (MD) delivered remarks on the House Floor this morning on the one-week Continuing Resolution that the House passed today:
Click here to watch a video of his remarks.
“I am so pleased to be here, in the House. I am not pleased that we are considering a Continuing Resolution. To that extent, I presume, that I share the opinion of the Chairman of the Committee, Mr. Frelinghuysen. I presume as [Rep. Lowey] has just articulated, that I share the opinion of the Ranking Member from New York.
“Mr. Speaker, we're now seven months into Fiscal Year 2017. We have five months remaining and the majority party has been unable to fund government for the balance of the fiscal year. They have over 218 votes in this body, and they have over 50 votes in the Senate. Now, you need 60 votes in the Senate so it's more complicated, I understand that. But they now have a Republican President. As we did for the 2016 budget, which we passed in December of 2015 to the balance for September 30, 2016, and all those dates run together, it was my desire and my advice, Mr. Speaker, that we do the same thing last December.
“Pass an omnibus. Take all of the bills that the Appropriations Committee has spent literally hundreds of hours hearing and making decisions on. Make the compromises necessary in a Democratic body so that 218 votes would be available. Now, the American public, if they have been watching closely, they will see that not a single major appropriations bill has passed this House without Democratic help. So that everybody in this body knows that whatever is done in a major fiscal bill has to be done in a bipartisan way. And the good news for this House is, Mr. Frelinghuysen understands that well, based upon his experience and his observations, and, in my view, is willing to work together. I know that that also applies to Mrs. Lowey of New York. I had the opportunity to be on the Appropriations Committee for 23 years. I’m still a member of that Committee, on leave because I am the Whip at this point in time.
“I am going to vote for this Continuing Resolution, but I want to put my colleagues on notice and the American people on notice, Mr. Speaker, that I will not vote for another one.
“I said to the press a month ago that I would vote for a Continuing Resolution today only if we had an agreement and the Continuing Resolution was for the purposes of allowing sufficient time to memorialize that agreement. In other words, put it down on paper and pass it through the House and the Senate. We're, unfortunately, not in that position today. It is my understanding from Mrs. Lowey, with whom I talked this morning, that there are still significant items that are not resolved.
“Mr. Speaker, I talked to the Speaker, Mr. Ryan, and to the Majority Leader, standing right there, on the Floor just hours ago yesterday. It's my understanding that the Speaker's intention is that we have a bill filed Monday night. So, in the Speaker's words, we can give 72 hours to review that bill and then pass it on Thursday.
“…I hope that the Speaker's intention is carried out, which will require over the next 72 hours hard work by Members and by staff and a willingness to understand that each side has some things it must have and each side has some things it cannot do. That is the nature of the legislative process. And if we exercise the responsibility that our constituents hope that we would exercise when they sent us to this body, surely we can do this.
“And I want to tell my friend, the Chairman – for whom I have great respect and I hope that doesn't hurt him too much on his side of the aisle – that I want you to be able to say that Hoyer said he was going to urge his colleagues not to vote for another CR and that therefore, unless you have 218 votes on your side, for whatever the product that you produce, that if we're going to fund government as we surely should do, that we come to an agreement.
“Mr. Speaker, as a member of the Appropriations Committee for 23 years, I was very proud, it was the most bipartisan committee in the Congress. And we understood our responsibility that the appropriations bills are the one bill that must pass if we continue to serve our public and keep America strong and vibrant and economically growing jobs. This is a serious matter. Continuing to kick the can down the road ought to be an unacceptable alternative.
“I urge every one of my colleagues – there are not a lot of people on the Floor but, Mr. Speaker, I hope they are watching on television – to understand that the basic responsibility that we have of ensuring the functioning of the government of the people of the United States is one that we ought to perform in a responsible, effective, and timely fashion.
“So, Mr. Chairman, I will work with you and I will work with Mrs. Lowey over the next few days to ensure that next week we have a product that can pass this House because it has bipartisan support and is in the best interest of our country. I yield back the balance of my time.”