Statement ● Shutdown
For Immediate Release: 
January 15, 2019
Contact Info: 
Mariel Saez 202-225-3130
WASHINGTON, DC - House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (MD) spoke on the Floor about the need for Congressional Republicans and President Trump to take action to end the Trump shutdown and reopen government. Below is a link to the video and a transcript of his remarks:
Click here to watch the full remarks.
“This weekend, the Republican leader, Mr. McCarthy, went on Face the Nation and said the following: It is unacceptable that 800,000 U.S. employees are not being paid.’  He didn’t add, and he should have, that 440,000 of them are being made to work while they’re not paid.  But I agree that it is unacceptable that 800,000 U.S. folks are shut out. 

“It is unacceptable that Republicans and Donald Trump would shut down the government and deny paychecks to 800,000 Americans because they couldn’t get Congressional approval for an expensive and ineffective border wall, even when they controlled all levels of government.  Let me repeat that: they didn’t get it done when they controlled all levers of government. 

“The Republican leader went on to say: ‘You know what we’re arguing over?  One tenth of one percent of the federal budget.  He’s dead wrong on that!  This isn’t about a wall or health care or the debt limit or spending levels.  It’s about whether it’s an appropriate policy for a President to threaten shutdowns and take the country hostage to get what he wants.

“It is malfeasant and malevolent to hold 800,000 Americans – and, indeed, the millions they serve – hostage to the demands of a President who, days before he shut down the government, told us that’s exactly what he intended to do. 

“That’s why House Democrats, joined by several Republicans, passed six of the seven remaining appropriations bills for fiscal year 2019 – all of which had bipartisan support in the Senate – and a continuing resolution to reopen the Department of Homeland Security on the first day of the new Congress.  

“It’s also why, last week, House Democrats passed on an individual basis four of those same appropriations bills to reopen portions of government that the Senate approved by a vote of 92-6.  Over ninety percent – almost ninety-five percent of the Senate. 

“[Rep. Tom] Cole, our colleague from Oklahoma, was concerned that these were not products of the House.  He’s right.  So, vote to open up the government with a CR – which you’ll have an opportunity to do three times [this week], my Republican colleagues – and let’s conclude the appropriations process by passing bills agreed upon by the House and the Senate.

“What we’ve been saying all along is: reopen the people’s government.  Shutting it down is an illegitimate, immoral act.

“I disagree with the Republican Leader’s characterization of Democrats’ position as taking a stand for a certain level of funding.  ‘Just give us “X” amount of money for a wall,’ Republicans and the President say, ‘and the shutdown will end.’ 

“This is not about a wall.  It is about trying to gain an end by threat, rather than by Democratic debate.  One side cannot – must not – continue to threaten shutdowns to get its way in a democracy.  Our research does not show us another democracy in the world that shuts itself down.  That’s not how the system should work.

“If Donald Trump is permitted to bully the American people and their Representatives into giving him whatever he wants, does anyone think for a second we won’t be right back here in a few weeks or a few months with yet another shutdown over the next item on the President’s wish list? ‘Give me more tax cuts for the wealthy, or I’ll shut down the government,’ he’ll say. ‘Cut Medicare and Social Security, or I’ll default on the debt.’

“This is about more than money to build a wall on our border.  It is about whether to firm up the wall around our democracy.

“We need to end this shutdown now – reopen the government first and discuss rationally how best to secure our border – an objective many of us have voted to do over the years, with substantial increases in our investment in security at all of our borders. 

“The only beneficiaries, very frankly, of this shutdown are Russia, China, Iran, and other enemies and those who would like to see us fail.  If this shutdown continues, it will further weaken us on trade, on national security, on protecting our interests around the world, and serving our people here at home.  And it will continue harming our economy, which has already lost nearly as much in GDP as the President wants for his wall.

“Ladies and gentlemen, if Leader McCarthy truly finds it unacceptable for this shutdown to continue, I ask him and all my Republican colleagues to join us in urging Senator McConnell – who has called shutdowns ‘failed policy – and President Trump to end it by taking up the bills the House has already passed to do so. 

“Mr. President: open up government for the people!”