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WASHINGTON, DC - House Democratic Whip Steny H. Hoyer (MD) delivered remarks on the House Floor today to discuss the broken promises and lack of accomplishments in the Republican-led House. Below is a video and a transcript of his remarks:
Click here to watch a video of his remarks.
“Mr. Speaker, it is now seven months since the start of the 115th Congress and six months since Republicans have controlled all the levers of power of our government. Yet, all we've seen are broken promises.
“Donald Trump and our Republican colleagues in Congress ran on a platform that included health care for everyone, massive investments in infrastructure, tax reform, and a dramatic increase in jobs. On all four of these there's been zero progress, zero legislation sent to the President, and zero effort to work with Democrats to achieve any of those objectives.
“Donald Trump promised voters that he would be, and I quote, ‘the greatest job president that God ever created.’ Yet, neither he nor the Republican Congressional leadership have put forward a comprehensive jobs bill. Instead, he and his Republican allies in the Congress have proposed budgets that would slash investments in education, infrastructure, and research – all areas that directly help our economy create jobs.
“In fact, jobs that the President claimed to have saved are, in fact, going overseas. Forecasters are now predicting slower economic growth and manufacturing average weekly earnings have only grown half as fast as earnings across the private sector as a whole over the past six months.
“When it comes to health care, it hasn't just been the broken promise of insurance for everyone, it's been a nonstop roller coaster of legislative proposals, all of which would strip coverage away from tens of millions of Americans, raise costs, and deny coverage to those with pre-existing conditions.
“On tax reform, all we have seen is a one-page outline and budget proposal with reconciliation instructions setting up a process for jamming a partisan tax reform bill through Congress. That's a nonstarter because to be successful any tax reform legislation must be bipartisan, as was the 1986 tax reform under President Reagan and Speaker O’Neill.
“To top it all off, we considered and are considering this week an appropriations Minibus without even having had a budget on this Floor. Some  days after it was due. The Republicans promised regular order. In fact, they are pursuing no order. Republicans haven't even bothered to pass a budget, which is what we're supposed to do in the House before moving to appropriations.
“So, Mr. Speaker, at the six-month mark we have only seen gridlock, no progress, chaos, and broken promises. Even some Republican Members, and perhaps many Republican Members, are growing as frustrated as the American people their party is failing.
“Representative Steve Womack from Arkansas said late last month that we, quote, ‘We better get our act together. We're not governing now. We're stuck.’
“Representative Tom Reed of New York said, quote, ‘the fact that we're not getting to these issues – health care, budget, tax reform – is frustrating. We came here to move the needle.’
“So that what I’m saying has been said by my Republican colleagues as well. Perhaps Representative Tom Massie put it most succinctly when he tweeted about his Republican colleagues, ‘they confuse activity with progress.’
“Republicans, Mr. Speaker, have failed to address the challenges facing the American people, and they have done nothing to improve the lives of those working hard to make it in America.
“We should be considering legislation to create jobs and grow the economy. We should be working to improve and strengthen the Affordable Care Act, not replace it. That would be consistent with some 3/4 of Americans who believe that's what we ought to be doing.
“We should be working in a bipartisan way to reform our tax code and promote competitiveness for our American businesses that are competing in world markets. Growth, job creation, as well as fiscal sustainability – that is what we should be seeking in a tax bill. We should be investing in infrastructure that lures jobs back home from overseas. And, Mr. Speaker, we should be returning to regular order, an open process that Republicans have abandoned to the detriment of legislation and to our country. More closed rules in this seven months than have occurred in my 36 years in the Congress of the United States.
“Mr. Speaker, the American people need a better deal, a better deal than they have gotten over the last seven months. Seven months into this Congress, it is clear that House Republicans are not on the side of working people. In the words of New York Times columnist David Brooks, one of the most conservative columnists in The New York Times, last week he said this, quote, ‘Republicans offer nothing but negativity, detachment, absence, and an ax.’
“Democrats, on the other hand, are offering the American people, as I said, a better deal, one focused on helping all of our people make it in America. Better jobs, better wages, and yes, a better future. It's what Democrats have always done when Democrats have been entrusted to lead.
“There is a history, a track record to back it up. Mr. Speaker, I want to show my colleagues that rhetoric is cheap or talk is cheap as we say, but performance is really what we ought to look to. I want to bring some charts here to the attention of our colleagues and, indeed, to the American people as well. It’s what Democrats have always done.
“This chart number one, Democrats Perform Better On Economic Growth. Now, that's easy to say, but this graph shows exactly under from Truman to Obama. The blue. You can see under Eisenhower, economic growth was about a third or maybe 40%. Kennedy, Johnson and Johnson, much greater than Nixon and Nixon, Ford. Carter greater than either Nixon or Nixon, Ford. And Carter, to the surprise of many, had the same, just about, GDP growth that Reagan, of which my Republican friends proudly talk. And then what happened? Under Bush One and down, then what happened? Under Clinton, up, GDP growth. Under Bush Two, down. Under Obama, up. That's not campaign rhetoric, those are the statistics that the economy has performed better under Democrats.
“Now, Democrats Perform Better on The Stock Market. The stock market, who Mr. Trump likes to point to today, it's doing well. Why? Because, the Obama economy, as your just saw, was doing well and the expectations were good. If you look at this: better on the stock market. Truman, greater growth in the stock market. Eisenhower, less. Kennedy, Johnson, Johnson, up. Nixon, down. Nixon-Ford, Nixon-Ford had negative growth in the stock market. And then Carter, growth. And yes, Reagan and Bush One had growth. Guess what, then Clinton had better growth. Guess what? Bush Two, again, like Nixon-Ford, negative growth in the stock market. What did that mean? That mean 401K's were less for retired people and their security was less secure because the stock market went in the tank. And then guess what happened under Obama? The stock market went up.
“Lastly, I want to show this statistic. Now, this is a stark statistic. Because it shows under Democratic Presidents every segment, every wage level in America saw appreciation. Now this only goes back to 1967. So we go to the lowest quintile; went up higher under Democrats than Republicans. Every quintile. And guess what? The highest quintile did better under Democrats. Just as the lower quintile did better. But what you see is everybody did better. The only negative, of course, was under Republicans, where the second quintile went down over their years in office.
“So if you compare all these, Mr. Speaker, it is not campaign rhetoric, it is not rhetoric on this Floor, but it is economic facts, economic statistics, economic reports show that when we promised a better deal, we delivered a better deal.
“So as we look back on the past six months of Republicans' broken promises and failures to govern, let's remember there is, indeed, a better deal to be had. Democrats are ready to work with our Republican colleagues and with the Administration to make progress.
“Mr. Speaker, I have been here 36 years and one of the things I’m proudest of, my Republican colleagues, many of them say, Hoyer will work with us in a way to compromise and make progress for our country. But if our Republican colleagues continue to be unwilling to work in a bipartisan way, we're going to offer a clear and proven alternative. A proven alternative. I hope my Republican colleagues will return from the August District Work Period ready to ensure that the American people get a better deal and work with us constructively to get them that better deal. I yield back the balance of my time.”