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[Congressional Record Volume 163, Number 200 (Thursday, December 7, 2017)]
[Pages H9744-H9745]
From the Congressional Record Online through GPO

                          LEGISLATIVE PROGRAM

  (Mr. HOYER asked and was given permission to address the House for 1 

Mr. HOYER. Mr. Speaker, I hear the majority leader's hope that we will move appropriations bills on the Senate side. Obviously, one of the things that we have been trying to work on for the last 90 days, Mr. Speaker, has been trying to get to an agreement on the numbers that will replace the sequester numbers that certainly many people on your side don't want for the defense side of the budget.

Obviously, we believe that we had an agreement over the last 4 years for parity in spending. We would hope that we could reach an agreement similar to that agreement.

Furthermore, Mr. Speaker, I am sure that Mr. McConnell, the majority leader, could bring appropriations bills to the floor, and he has not done that. We don't control the Senate, and those bills have not been brought to the floor. You can't pass them if they aren't brought to the floor.

Furthermore, Mr. Speaker, they need to be bipartisan bills, because the history is that the majority party, Mr. Speaker, has not been able to get a majority of votes. They did today, but the history is, since 2011, that has not happened; therefore, failing that, you need to work in a bipartisan fashion, Mr. Speaker, the Senate does, in order to get these bills done.

Mr. Speaker, in addition, I won't go into all the pieces of legislation that are pending that need to pass for the welfare of our country, the security of our country, and the assistance to our people. I would hope that we could proceed and proceed now. Frankly, I am available tomorrow, Mr. Speaker, and I am sure others are, to start talking about how we reach agreement on these critical issues, because 9 days, as we all know, is not very much time.

We have had 90 days. We unanimously voted for a continuing CR. Ninety of your members voted against it. I say respectfully, the reason we got 90 days to hopefully reach agreement on a number of critical issues, critical to us, and I think critical to you, was because every one of us on this side of the aisle voted for the CR, and 90 of the Republicans voted against it. It could never have gotten to a majority but for our votes.

I would hope that now that we have another 2 weeks that we start sitting down together, reaching agreement, and are prepared next week to start voting on bipartisan bills that both sides can support. Neither side will get all it wants, but that is the way I think that this House will proceed as a credit to the House and a credit to the American people.

Mr. McCARTHY. Mr. Speaker, will the gentleman yield?

Mr. HOYER. I yield to the gentleman from California.

Mr. McCARTHY. Mr. Speaker, the gentleman is right, we have a great amount of work to do. We just voted on a bill that, I will guarantee you, 221 Members on this side who carried it, was not the bill they were seeking. They do not want to look at the troops and say they are not funded and they are not getting their pay raise that we voted on earlier.

Mr. Speaker, the gentleman, my friend, has told me, time and again, funding government is not a game. There was nothing in the bill that we just passed that both sides could not say that it was a bipartisan bill. There was nothing on our side of the aisle that we put into that bill that would give anybody on either side heartache.

But it was not a bill that we should have to have voted on, on this floor. We did 12 appropriations bills. We should not be voting for continuing resolutions. That is not why we are elected.

So let's do this. As we make our travel plans back, knowing that we will be back next week, let's make a commitment to one another, let's make a commitment to this country, that we will get our work done, that we will find the common ground, that we will not whip against a bill just to try to shut a government down, but will find the very best that this body could come to conclusion with, and that means funding our troops, and I look forward to working with all of you in the coming weeks.

Mr. HOYER. Mr. Speaker, reclaiming my time, my presumption is that the chairman of the Armed Services Committee, who voted against the CR in September, did not do it because he wasn't for funding the troops; did not do it because he didn't want to protect the security of our country; did not do it because he wanted to shut down the government, I presume. None of us did either.

We did it because we are very concerned about the fact that 90 days ago we voted for a CR that was noncontroversial, notwithstanding the fact that 90 on your side voted against it. It was noncontroversial, however. The President agreed to it. You agreed to it. I agreed to it. We had an agreement.

But the fact of the matter is that we have not used those 90 days productively in a bipartisan way to get to constructive resolutions of these issues. I agree with the gentleman, we ought to do that.

I will pledge to the gentleman that I and my leadership here and our Members will come at least 50 percent of the way. You are in charge. You have the responsibility. We understand that. But, as we have in the past, almost every time, whether it was Speaker [[Page H9745]] Boehner or Speaker Ryan, it was this side of the aisle that kept the government open. It was this side of the aisle that made sure we didn't default on our debts.

So I want to be constructive. There is no point in further argument on this. It is to say, however, to all of us, I have talked to some of your Members privately. They are shaking their heads.

Why are we in this position?

We ought not to be in this position. Every one of us who sits in this body--every one of us ought to be saying to ourselves: we need to act constructively. Confrontation is not constructive; the failure to reach agreement.

You say you passed SCHIP. I pleaded with the gentleman not to put a partisan bill on the floor. We had agreed on the authorizing side. Unfortunately, we couldn't agree on the funding side because you wanted to cut things we thought ought not to be cut. Clearly, we could have gotten to an agreement.

In fact, you passed a bill on IPAB, $17.6 billion unpaid for that would have paid for all of that. So, Mr. Leader, I will yield to you, if you want to; but I just plead with every one of the Members of this body: This is not good for the American people. You say you don't want a CR. You had 90 days to come to an agreement with us or with yourselves. You have 218 votes. You just showed us.

Mr. McCARTHY. Will the gentleman yield?

Mr. HOYER. I yield to the gentleman from California.

Mr. McCARTHY. Mr. Speaker, not to continue a debate, because I know people have places to go, but you said we needed 218 to show it. We just showed 221. But the one thing I will tell you, when you talk about bipartisan, when you talked about that CR, 133 on this side voted for it; more than the majority of the majority. That is where bipartisanship comes.

I can sit back and we can rehash how many times we met about SCHIP. We can rehash coming to you and saying: Tell me where you want to go with that at the end of the day.

We can rehash where your ranking member asked us to pull back on the markup, and we did. But they still never came. I don't need to rewrite history and I don't need to walk away from where we tried to get to.

I am proud of the fact that we were able to pass it, with or without you. But we wanted you with us. You made the decision not to be with us, and that is okay. That is your decision. But, today, when you talked and bragged about all of the other times you were there, my only question is: What is different today?

Let's not make today continue for the future. Let's find the way that we work together. But at the end of the day, when they look back in history, there will be 221 on this side and there will be 175 on the other side that said government should shut down; and I don't think that is right.

I hope you have a good weekend.

Mr. HOYER. Reclaiming my time, Mr. Speaker, I didn't hear my friend saying that when John Boehner, Eric Cantor, and the whip asked for votes to keep the government open.

They got 84 of their colleagues on your side of the aisle to join them, making a total of 87, and the majority of your Members voted against your own leadership on the bill that they were proposing. So don't lecture me about voting “no.”

I voted “no” because I think we should not have had a CR. I voted “no” because I think there are too many things left undone. I voted “no” because the American people expect us to get our work done, not to twiddle our thumbs while Rome is burning.

Mr. Speaker, I yield back the balance of my time.

The SPEAKER pro tempore. The Chair will remind all Members to direct their remarks to the Chair and not to each other in the second person. ____________________

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