For Immediate Release: 
September 29, 2021
Contact Info: 
Margaret Mulkerrin 202-225-3130
WASHINGTON, DC – House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (MD) spoke on the House Floor this afternoon in support of S. 1301, legislation to suspend the debt limit through December 16, 2022. Below is a transcript of his remarks and a link to the video.
Click here for the full video.

“Mr. Speaker, on Monday, Senate Republicans voted against keeping the government open, paying the bills that our nation has already incurred – already incurred. That was not a reflection of responsible opposition in a democracy. We talk about the loyal opposition. The loyal opposition ought not to be loyal to the Majority but they ought to be loyal to the country. Instead, their vote was a reckless and irrational action that signaled very clearly to the American people, the financial markets, and the international community that Republicans would choose to precipitate an economic catastrophe for American businesses and families to score political points against President Biden and Democrats. That's what's happening here today.

“Three times over the past four years House and Senate Republicans voted to suspend the debt limit when President Trump asked them to do so. I have no idea what President Trump is asking people to do at this point in time, but my experience is, it's not the responsible thing. And when they asked Democrats for help taking that needed step in order to prevent a catastrophic default, we joined with them to vote for it. And when Speaker Boehner could only get seventy-eight of his colleagues to vote with him, to maintain fiscal responsibility in this country, only seventy-eight -- I guess seventy-seven, because he was the seventy-eighth -- would follow. And how did those bills carry? Because we, in the Minority, joined with Speaker Boehner. And when Speaker Ryan did the same thing, couldn't get the majority of his own colleagues to back him, we gave the necessary votes to pursue and to ensure fiscal responsibility. Why? Because it was the right thing to do. Because it was the necessary and responsible thing to do.

“Treasury Secretary Yellen told us yesterday that we will run out of extraordinary measures to forestall a default on October 18. That's fewer than 20 days from today. Yet, we talk about partisanship and we accuse others of not doing it one time or not doing it another time. This is the one time. This is our time. This is the time that the vote presents itself to us to keep America's creditworthy status. And to prohibit a national and international crisis. There is an urgency to our action, and we twiddle our partisan thumbs.

“Leader McConnell, I’m sure, has been quoted frequently – I haven't heard all the debate, but frequently: ‘Let me make it perfectly clear, the country must never default. The debt ceiling will need to be raised.’ That's his quote. Now, what he didn't add was, but I'm not going to help. But I'm going to ask my party to be irresponsible. But I'm going to ask my party not to do what I say should never happen and allow the country to default. I don't know how you rationalize that. I don't know how anybody with intellectual honesty rationalizes that, Madam Speaker. That you think we must never default, but by the way, I won't vote for it.  What does that mean? What kind of language is that? What kind of lack of principle is that?

“So, in order to give him and his fellow Republicans one last opportunity to prevent a default, at a time when our recovery from the pandemic is not yet complete and still quite fragile, today we are considering a clean debt limit suspension. Not a number. Just a date. Which is, by the way, what both Republicans and Democrats have used in the past. The bill before us simply says: the United States of America will pay its bills on time. What a radical proposition. And yet, our Republican friends cannot summon the intention to do just that. And if Senate Republicans still cannot be consistent with their own votes from the past four years, they can stand aside and – as Leader McConnell has suggested – vote for cloture to allow Democrats to pass the bill with fifty-one votes. At least do that. At least have the courage to allow others to display the courage of standing up and voting for what they know is absolutely essential. And what they've said is absolutely essential. But if you believe that the full faith and credit of our country is worth safeguarding, that our businesses and working families deserve to be spared unnecessary economic pain, then vote yes. On both sides of the aisle.

“This is not a partisan vote. This is an American vote. This is for our country. This is for our fiscal responsibility. This is for fiscal stability. This is for families. Don't twiddle your thumbs and say it's a partisan vote. It is not. A yes vote on this bill is not a victory for Democrats or for the President. It's the responsible thing to do for our country. We ought never to get to this place, but we do all the time because we play these silly, pedantic, weak, meritless arguments. Everybody know we have to do this. And to sit there and say well I'm not going to do it is not fulfilling the oath to defend and protect this great nation and this great democracy.”