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Hoyer Remarks at Press Conference on Need for a Balanced and Responsible Budget Deal

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Published on Dec 5, 2013

Mr. HOYER: "First of all, let me say, we don't know what the budget parameters and any agreement are going to be. We have heard rumors. You have written about them. We don't know their substance. What we do know, however, is that we are for a balanced addressing of the budget, of the economic issues that confront our country, and of putting our country on a fiscally sustainable path.

"I am, as you know, for a big deal in which all of the options are put on the table, which is what President Obama did. President Obama did not do small-bore, as is being discussed, as I understand it now, and being urged by Mr. Ryan. The reason he did not discuss small-bore is because he wanted to give confidence to the economy. And he wanted to get off this government-by-crisis. He wanted to get to a sustainable path as we move forward.

"I am very hopeful that, before the budget conference reports out something, that they reach such an agreement. Not a small-bore agreement, but a big agreement, which deals with the issues that Chris Van Hollen talked about -- investing in our economy, investing in education, investing in our infrastructure, growing our economy, making sure that unemployment insurance does not expire. I agree with Leader Pelosi: that doesn't necessarily have to be within the budget agreement itself, but it must be a part of addressing the economic challenges that confront our country and our people. I could say more, but enough said now, and unfortunately I'm going to have to leave because my staff is saying I am very late to another event. But I thank Leader Pelosi."

REPORTER: "I know Mr. Van Hollen said you do not know what the agreement is, but what are the parameters to have you go to members and start to whip this? What has to be in there? They talk about maybe doing a CR. You said the other day you're not going to do something on $967 [funding level], reintroducing the sequester. But there hasn't been any communication at all about next week?"

Mr. HOYER: "I tried to get Mr. Cantor to be more specific today on the Floor. If you were watching, that did not happen. Maybe it is because he does not know. He may not know what the specifics are. However, you are correct. And Mr. Van Hollen mentioned it. One of our principal objectives is eliminating the sequester.

"Why? Because, in a bipartisan fashion, not only did Mr. Rogers say the sequester is unworkable and unrealistic, but his twelve Republican chairmen of the Appropriations subcommittees said it was unworkable and unrealistic. So one of the first objectives needs to be to get rid of the sequester. The sequester was never intended to go into effect. Everybody believed that the 'supercommittee,' so-called, would come up with a big, balanced deal. Unfortunately, that did not happen. And they presume that, over the next thirteen months, after failure, that we would come up with an alternate to sequester. We did not.

"But Mr. Cantor today on the Floor, in our colloquy, he said the sequester was not the way to reduce government spending. He is absolutely right. I've been saying that. Mr. Cantor has been saying that. The Ranking Member on the Appropriations Committee knows, probably more than the rest of us, that is not the way to do it. Leader Pelosi has been saying the same thing. We think that is a threshold issue that needs to be dealt with.

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