Statement ● Jobs & the Economy
For Immediate Release: 
April 12, 2018
Contact Info: 
Mariel Saez 202-225-3130
WASHINGTON, DC - House Democratic Whip Steny H. Hoyer (MD) spoke on the House Floor today in opposition to House Republicans' hypocritical Balanced Budget Amendment, which they have brought to the Floor after adding $1.8 trillion to the deficit in order to give tax cuts to the wealthy. Below is a link to the video and transcript of his remarks:

Click here to watch the full remarks.
“Ladies and gentlemen, I rise today not so much to oppose this legislation, as to deride it as a sham, as a fraud, as a pretense of fiscal responsibility. If you want to balance the budget, just do it.

“I've served here for years and years and years, when my Republican colleagues have controlled the House, the Senate, and the Presidency. Do it. Don't talk about it.

“Now, I come here as someone who's voted for Balanced Budget Amendments in the past. But I have become extraordinarily cynical at people who vote to cut the costs of their product way below the price of producing it. That is a formula for bankruptcy in any business any place in the world.

“For Republicans to bring a Balanced Budget Amendment to the Floor just weeks after adding $1.8 trillion to deficits in tax breaks for the wealthiest is the epitome of hypocrisy. Nobody, nobody believes anymore that Republicans care about deficit reduction or balancing the budget. Let alone their own Members.

“Now, ladies and gentlemen on the Republican side of the aisle, let me call to your attention the Chair's remarks of your Freedom Caucus. Hear me, I'm going to quote Mark Meadows. Mr. Meadows says, quote – the Freedom Caucus, the most conservative element supposedly of the Congress – Mark Meadows says this, ‘there is no one on Capitol Hill, and certainly no one on Main Street, who takes this vote seriously.’ Mark Meadows.

“Conservative Republican Tom Massie, a Republican, a very conservative Republican, says this, ‘Audacity, noun. Voting on a constitutional Balanced Budget Amendment only four legislative days after ramming through a massive deficit spending because you believe this stunt,’ Massie's word, not mine. ‘This stunt will convince constituents that you care about balancing the budget.’

“Not my words. Two of the most conservative Republicans in this House.

“And Republican Senator Bob Corker said this, ‘Republicans control the House, the Senate and the White House. If we were serious’ – this is the Republican Senator saying – ‘if we were serious about balancing the budget, we would do it.’

“We know what it takes to balance budgets, Mr. Speaker. We did it, during the Clinton Administration four years in a row. Now, my Republican colleagues may jump to their feet and say, yes, but we were in charge of Congress. That's correct. And President Clinton would not let them cut the price of our product because to do so would have led to bankruptcy.

“So what did we do? We balanced the budget four years in a row, the only time that's been done in the lifetime of any listener to these words.

“What happened? Our Republican colleagues took office, they took the House, the Senate, and the Presidency, and they cut the price of the product. But they didn't cut the cost of the product.

“And what did we have? We increased the debt by 87% in the Bush years. Democrats instituted PAY-GO rules to pay for what we buy, and they worked and we balanced the budget.

“Republicans came into the Majority and scrapped those rules. Now we're mired in growing deficit. The CBO baseline, Congressional Budget Office, nonpartisan, released on Monday shows that accounting for Republican policies passed since Trump took office, just a few months ago, the deficit will reach, this year, $980 billion in deficits. Next year, $1 trillion. Every year thereafter, during the Trump Administration, another $1 trillion of debt. It will total some $14 trillion.

“After Republicans passed their tax law, they knew they'd be on the hook for its enormous deficit price tag, so immediately they said they wanted to cut Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and other safety net programs to do it. This program would essentially write those cuts into the Constitution. Hear me. Medicaid, Medicare, Social Security – write those cuts into the Constitution. This is a back door effort to gut the programs that help working Americans get ahead.

“I said I rose to deride this amendment. It's a fraud, a sham, a pretense. But it's also bad for our country, bad for our people. I urge my colleagues, defeat this silly waste of time.”