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Public Statements

Sequester

Floor Speech

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Date:
Location: Washington, DC

Mr. HOYER. Mr. Speaker, sequester starts with ``S.'' That stands for ``stupid.'' It is an irrational policy with no common sense attached to it, and it is a policy that we are headlong pursuing as a result of the actions of the majority in this House. It is a policy that the President of the United States opposes, it is a policy that the majority in the United States Senate opposes, and it is a policy that all of the Members of the Democratic Party in this House oppose.

My friend on the floor here shakes his head, but he voted for a bill. It was called Cut, Cap, and Balance. And Cut, Cap, and Balance said we have a target, but if we don't meet it what happens? Sequester happens--sequester happens.

The Republicans passed that through this House long before any deal was made not to default on our national debt, which included a provision for sequester so that we would achieve Speaker Boehner's objective articulated March of 2011 on Wall Street that we would cut dollar for dollar the increase in the debt. That's why we have a sequester. It starts with ``S.'' It is a stupid policy. It is a negative policy. It is a policy that is hurting America.

Chris Van Hollen, the ranking Democrat of the Budget Committee, offered an amendment four times to replace the sequester and achieve the same savings. It was rejected, not once, not twice, not three times, but all four times by the Republican majority. They wouldn't even allow it to be made in order to be put on this floor to have a debate on and a vote. This transparent new leadership that we were supposed to have wouldn't even allow a vote on this issue.

Now the Senate has passed a budget which the Republicans have been crying wolf about forever. The Senate passed a budget. It replaces sequester. It achieves the savings that we need to achieve over time. The Ryan budget was passed, which is tantamount to sequester. So now we're asking to go to conference, but we haven't gone to conference.

This week has been a lost week. You've heard about a lost weekend. This week, this House has done practically nothing. Now we're going to take 2 days, today and tomorrow, to consider a bill about helium that could be passed in 10 minutes, which is noncontroversial and passed out of committee by a voice vote.

Will we deal with sequester, which is causing America such grief right now? We will not.

It is a shameful performance by the Congress of the United States. It is an irresponsible performance by the majority leadership of this House that we will not have the opportunity to replace this irrational, stupid, noncommonsense policy we call ``sequester.''

Some Republicans say, well, this is the President's policy. That's baloney. It's not true. It's a fraud. The President is against this policy. The Senate Democrats are against this policy, and House Democrats are against this policy. If I were the majority leader, as I once was, this policy would not have gone into effect, and I want the American people, Mr. Speaker, to know that.

There were some who pretended, oh, it will have no effect. Well, it's having an effect on the flying public right now; and on the Food and Drug Administration, in overseeing food safety, it's going to have an effect. There are 70,000 children who qualify for Head Start who are not going to have a seat in Head Start.

Ladies and gentlemen of this House, we ought to be doing some real work this week, not putting bills on the floor and then taking them off the floor because, very frankly, the majority party can't get its act together. We're now having a helium bill on the floor for 2 days. We're not even going to vote on the helium bill today--we're going to vote on the rule--and at about 2:30 today, we're going to adjourn.

My, my, my. What a hard workday.

We're not dealing with the budget. We're not dealing with the budget conference. We're not dealing with getting this country on a fiscally sustainable path. We're not dealing with getting rid of the sequester. We're dealing with a noncontroversial helium bill that could pass in 10 minutes in this House.

America, Mr. Speaker, is angry, and I don't blame them. I'm angry, too. America is disgusted with us. I don't blame them. I'm disgusted with us as well. I don't blame Mr. and Mrs. America for saying that Congress is not doing its work. They're right. We're not. We were sent here to serve the American people and our country and make it stronger, and we're not doing that. We're failing to come together and reach compromise and consensus for positive action in our country.

How sad, Mr. Speaker. How sad for our country. How sad for our people. How sad for our families. There are good people on both sides of this aisle, but we're not coming together to do our duty for America. How sad.


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