Press Release ● Shutdown
For Immediate Release: 
January 3, 2019
Contact Info: 
Mariel Saez 202-225-3130
WASHINGTON, DC – House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (MD) joined House Democratic leaders for a press conference in advance of the House vote on the bipartisan Senate Republican appropriations package to re-open government and end the Trump shutdown. A transcript of his remarks can be found below:

“We are here late tonight, later than you would usually expect the Congress to be here on opening day. People, obviously, have things to do. They have family in town, but we are here because there is a sense of urgency to open up the people’s government, so they can be served by the agencies of government on which they rely.  And so that 800,000 people who have been put at risk [can go back to work] – people who are worried about whether they’re going to be getting a pay check this week; going to be worried about whether they’re going to be able to pay a mortgage, or a car payment, or their child’s school payment. That’s why we’re here: to open up government.

“Why? What have we done? As the Speaker just indicated, we have taken the six bills that the Senate has passed almost unanimously out of their Committee. Republicans and Democrats joined together, so we have agreement on these six bills. Nobody’s arguing about these six bills. They’re not arguing at the White House; they’re not arguing here; we have agreement.

“One would surely think that if we pass that, as I would expect we are going to do, that the Senate would pass it and the President would sign it because there is no disagreement.

“Now, there is disagreement on the Homeland Security bill. So we have said, ‘okay, we haven’t reached agreement, but we are going to provide more time, so we can sit down, as adults hopefully, as rational, reasonable, commonsense people, and come to an agreement on something we all agree with.’ The objective of keeping Americans safe, of keeping our country safe, of keeping our borders secure is not a debate. The only thing that is a debate is the means. We don’t agree with the President’s proposal. We don’t think it’s the proper, most effective, most efficient means to keep our country safe.

“So we’re saying okay, we’ll do what Senator McConnell did. We’ll give us until February 8, approximately four weeks, to come together and discuss this issue without shutting down government; without putting 800,000 people at risk; without inconveniencing or putting at risk millions and millions of Americans who rely on the operations of government.

“So we’re hopefully going to pass that bill today as well, and I hope that Senator McConnell will put it on the Floor. I hope that the Senate will vote for it, and send it down to the President. The President has asked us to come down to meet tomorrow at 11:30…”

“The fact of the matter is we’ll go down there, we’ll talk, and [Appropriations Committee] Chair Nita Lowey and [Appropriations Subcommittee on Homeland Security] Chair Lucille Roybal-Allard are reasonable people, and we’ll try to come to an agreement on which we can all agree.

“But holding 800,000 people hostage, holding the people’s government hostage is not what Americans expect, not what they want. So hopefully, Senator McConnell will put that bill on the Floor tonight or tomorrow, send it to the President, and we will open up the people’s government and then continue to do the people’s business.”