Press Release ● Tax and Appropriations
For Immediate Release: 
January 19, 2018
Contact Info: 
Mariel Saez 202-225-3130
WASHINGTON, DC - House Democratic Whip Steny H. Hoyer (MD) joined House Democratic leadership at a press conference to discuss their opposition to a GOP shutdown. Below is a transcript of his remarks:

“All of you know Republicans control all the levers of government. They control the House, the control the Senate, they control the White House and, as Dick Durbin pointed out this morning, they control the Supreme Court. Notwithstanding that, we are now some 140 days into the fiscal year and we have not sent a single appropriations bill to the President of the United States. Why have we not done that? Because it would have required compromise. It would have required sitting down and talking to one another and saying ‘how can we agree?’ Not how we can disagree, but how we can agree.

“Leader McCarthy, just a few hours ago, sent out a message to his Members that they could leave. We made a motion to adjourn, which we knew we were going to vote against because we knew we needed to be here and do the people’s business. And our Republican friends did not make the motion to adjourn, so, we made it – indicating clearly that we would oppose that because we wanted to be here and get the work done.

“We have kicked the can down the road once – every Democrat voted to do that. Every Democrat voted to give 90 days so that we could reach agreement, and that 90 days was squandered. Then the Congress voted to kick the can down the road twice more and that time was squandered. It is time to stop squandering the opportunity to come together and agree. Democrats have always opposed shutting down the government of the United States. We want to enact bipartisan agreement on things that we already agree on. Let me repeat that. We want to agree to that which we have already agreed upon, Democrats and Republicans. Let me go through them:

“We’ve historically agreed on parity. In other words, an equal increase in defense and an equal increase on non-defense discretionary spending. That is the deal Paul Ryan made with Senator Murray and that is the deal we have followed for the last four years. That is all Leader Pelosi has asked Speaker Ryan to agree on. And pay-fors, of course. And, very frankly, we have not been able to get to an agreement. We could do so this afternoon.

“We all agree that DREAMers should remain here in America. And to that extent, we reflect 87% of the American public. An extraordinary majority, an overwhelming majority of people believe the DREAMers, young people brought here through no conscious effort of their own, should stay here. We had a meeting at the White House, there were 25 Members present. The President said he was for protecting and making sure the DREAMers would stay here. Everybody around the table agreed, Republican and Democrat.

“We all agree that CHIP, Community Health Centers, and other health programs should be reauthorized.

“We all agree on helping our fellow Americans impacted by natural disasters in Texas, in Florida, in Puerto Rico, and in the Virgin Islands.

“Americans are saying to themselves: if you agree on those points, articulated agreement, then why can’t you resolve this issue, and why can’t you resolve it today?

“We are all here. We are going to stay here. We’re going to resolve these issues: fund government; protect DREAMers; provide health care for children; provide relief to those so damaged by natural disasters; protect our veterans; and provide resources so we can deal with the opioid crisis. We can do that today.

“Democrats have consistently been ready and willing to sit down at the negotiating table with our Republican colleagues, but we will not be blackmailed. We will not be blackmailed because Republicans are unwilling to compromise. I say to my Republican colleagues: don’t shut down this government; sit down at the table with us and let’s move this country forward.”