Transcript of Pelosi, House Democratic Leaders Remarks at Press Conference

Press Conference

By:  John Larson Chris Van Hollen, Jr. Jim Clyburn Nancy Pelosi Xavier Becerra Steny Hoyer
Date: Sept. 21, 2012
Location: Washington, DC

Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, Democratic Whip Steny H. Hoyer, Assistant Democratic Leader James E. Clyburn, Democratic Caucus Chairman John B. Larson, Democratic Caucus Vice Chairman Xaiver Becerra, Budget Committee Ranking Member Chris Van Hollen, and House Democrats held a press conference calling on House Republicans to cancel recess until the Republican controlled Congress fulfills their responsibilities to the American people. Below is a transcript of the press conference:

Leader Pelosi. Good morning. As you can see, Democrats are proudly standing on the steps of the Capitol saying we must stay here until we take action to help the American people. We are prepared to stay in session to pass President Obama's jobs bill, which can create more than one million new jobs immediately, pass a five year farm bill -- 16 million agricultural jobs depend on it, extend middle income tax cuts to provide certainty for millions of Americans and help our economy. And to pass a comprehensive and balanced bill to address our fiscal concerns -- to say to the world that we can get the job done, that we can work in a cooperative manner to reduce the deficit, to create growth, to create jobs. We're here standing together to recognize that since August 3rd, when Congress adjourned, and November 14th, when we're being called back into session, we will have been in session only eight days. That's just not right. Democrats are prepared to stay until we get the job done. That's what we're elected to do -- to get the job done!

[Loud Cheers from Democratic Members]

Just in closing I will say, that one of the most important issues that we face in our country, that is going to be decided in the election, is the issue of Medicare. The Republicans in the House of Representatives have voted six times to end the Medicare guarantee. And that will cost seniors $6,400 more as they give tax breaks to people making over a million dollars a years of $160,000. That's just not right. Democrats are committed to reigniting the American Dream, to build ladders of opportunity for people who want to work hard, play by the rules, take responsibility. We removed obstacles to that so that they will have success. We know we have work to do. That's why we must stay here to do it.

Now I'm pleased to yield to our distinguished Whip, Mr. Hoyer.


Whip Hoyer. Thank you Madam Leader. What we are seeing this week is a convulsing end to a dismal Congress. Two distinguished political scientists in our country said this: "The GOP has become an insurgent outlier in American politics, it is ideologically extreme, scornful on comprise, unmoved by conventional understanding of facts, evidence, and science -- dismissive of the legitimacy of political opposition." Republicans are leaving town with a stack of unfinished business that the public expects us to get done. Chief among them are the need to create jobs and avert the fiscal cliff set to hit in January if Congress fails to act. Democrats are ready to work with Republicans to replace the sequester they imposed last year by reaching a big and balanced solution to deficits. However, Republicans have walked away from compromise every time, as those two political scientists said, insisting on putting tax breaks for millionaires ahead of a balanced solution. They've also held tax cuts for the middle class hostage to that same cause.

Instead of wasting time on partisan messaging bills, as we've done this week, Republicans ought to have used this time to consider the Senate's bipartisan farm bill. Farmers across the country are facing the worst drought in decades and Republicans refused to act. This is simply irresponsible and Republicans ought to comeback and finish their work, not cut and run and walk away from the American people. Shame on them. Shame on them for abandoning our farmers, our economy, and families who need us to act.

Now, let me turn the microphone over to my friend, the Assistant Leader, Mr. Clyburn. But let me say this about our Caucus: We are fired up and ready to stay! We're fired up and ready to stay here and do the work for the American people! Thank you very much, Jim Clyburn of South Carolina.


Assistant Democratic Leader Clyburn. Thank you so much, it's great to be introduced by a refrain born in the great state of South Carolina. Throughout the entire 112th Congress, the Republican majority in the House have put their own political interest ahead of the interests of the American people. And we see a continuation of that this week. The Senate passed the middle class tax cut, and the President has said he will sign it as soon as it hits his desk. But the Republican leadership refuses to bring it to the floor and allow it to be voted on. The only thing standing between the American middle class and working people and their tax cut is Republican leadership in the House and their Tea Party adherents. Congress should not leave town without passing the middle class tax cut. Now, as one of those people, the 47 percent, the middle class, I'm here to say that Democrats are ready to work on behalf of the American people and to deliver the tax cut that they so genuinely deserve.

And with that, I'm proud to yield to my friend John Larson of Connecticut.

Chairman Larson. Thank you Jim. I'm proud to stand with our Members who are prepared to stay and work at the job they were sent here to do on behalf of the people that we're sworn to serve. This is personal. People back home cannot understand the work ethic of this Congress. They don't understand why we're not staying here to get the job done. They've seen them over the last several week perpetuate a myth that President Clinton so successfully debunked at the Convention about work requirements. The only requirement for work is that Republicans stay here and work instead of cutting and running! We're ready to do the job that we're sent here to do! We're here to get a jobs bill in front of the American people!

[Members of the Democratic Caucus Chant: "Work, Work, Work!']

We want to work and get the job done! And that's why we rely on the great strength of our Leader, the Vice Chairman of this Caucus, Xavier Becerra!

Vice Chairman Becerra. Our Chairman is fired up, I believe. Every single Member who is standing here is saying something to the American people: We're here to represent our constituents, we're here to represent all those Americans who want to get back to work, and we're here to represent every single one of those Americans that lives in this country, that believes that Mitt Romney was wrong to say only 53 percent of America counts. We're ready to work for every American that wants to go to work! We're here to say to our colleagues: Don't cut and run. It's time for us to roll up our sleeves and show the American people that we can do this bipartisanly.

But it's not just American tax payers, it's not just American workers, it's not just American farmers that are being left behind today. Back in April, the U.S. Senate passed by an overwhelmingly majority, a bill to help women who suffer from domestic violence. The Violence Against Women Act passed by 68 votes in the Senate, and it has been languishing since April in the House of Representatives. Every day in America a woman dies of domestic violence. And behind her is another woman. And behind her is another. Three women in America die every day as a result of domestic violence. And since April, this House of Representatives, under Republican leadership, has been unwilling to put [a bipartisan] Violence Against Women Act up for a vote. So, it's not just American workers, it's not just American farmers, and it's not just American tax payers who are being left behind by those who wish to cut and run in this House of Representatives. It is women who are fighting for their very lives. Each and every Member who is standing behind me is here to say: We're ready to work. Ready to work for farmers, ready to work for American tax payers, ready to work for folks who want to get back to work and we are ready to work for every single American woman who is saying "we want to have the respect that we deserve to not be the victims of violence.' Pass the Violence Against Women Act now! Don't go home until you do it, we will do that if the Republicans will stay.

And with that, let me introduce to you, our Ranking Democrat on the Budget Committee, Chris Van Hollen.

Ranking Member Van Hollen. Thank you, thank you Xavier. I'm proud to stand with my colleagues to say: We want to stay, congressional Republicans want to run away. But you know what? You can run but you cannot hide from your record and you cannot hide from what you want to do. I can understand, looking at what they plan to do, why they want to hide from the American people. But President Obama and congressional Democrats -- we're going to make sure that people hold our colleagues accountable. The President has said to Congress: Stay, stay and pass the middle class tax cut! We need to make sure we extend tax relief to 98 percent of the American people, in fact 100 percent of the American people would get tax relief on their first $250,000. Ninety-eight percent of the American people would get full tax relief, 97 percent of all pass-through [small] businesses would get tax relief. The Republican position has been: "no, unless people like Mitt Romney, unless companies like Bain Capital, unless they get a bonus tax break, nobody else in America can get tax relief.

So, it's no wonder that they want to cut and run. Especially when you look at their next plan -- take a look at the Ryan-Romney budget, the Romney-Ryan budget -- what do they want to do? Another round of big tax breaks for very wealthy people like Mitt Romney at the expense of everybody else. Because if you're serious about dealing with our long-term deficit, as we all should be, and we all are, then the question is: How do you choose to do that? And if you provide another round of big tax breaks for people like Mitt Romney it means you're going to cut seniors on Medicare -- give them a voucher that declines in value compared to rising health care costs, leave them paying the bill so that you can give another round of tax breaks to folks at the very top -- cut our kid's education, investments in our future necessary to power our economy.

So, I can understand in some ways why they're cutting and running. But again, we're not going to let them hide from their record and we're not going to let them hide from what they plan to do to this country because we're not going to take a u-turn back to the same failed trickle-down policies that got our country into such a mess to begin with. We need to move forward. And that's why my colleagues all want to stay here to do.

Leader Pelosi. To stay here to work!

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