Washington, D.C. – Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi joined House Democratic Caucus Chairman Xavier Becerra, House Democratic Caucus Vice Chairman Joe Crowley and House Democratic Leader’s at a press stakeout following a meeting of the House Democratic Caucus this morning. Below is a transcript of the Leaders comments at the press stakeout:
“I thank the Chairman and the Vice Chair of the Caucus, Mr. Crowley, for bringing us together this morning to hear a report from the White House about the impact of sequester on our economy, and on jobs, and how it affects individuals in our country.
“We’ve just come back from – what – a ten day break. We’ve listened to Members as to what they heard from the public, and what our constituents are telling us is to get the job done. We are doing just that with a proposal under the leadership of Chris Van Hollen, our ranking Democrat on the Budget Committee. He’ll talk about our proposal, which we have had on the table for a while. Our Chairman talked about jobs. Month after month after month of private sector job increases, remarkable, that can, that can be reversed if we have this sequester; which is harmful to growth and harmful to job creation, in addition to being harmful – for example, Members told me about psychiatric nurses who deal with PTSD of our returning vets, who will be furloughed. Is that what the American people want? I don’t think so.
“We’re practically – when you talk about jobs, that’s one thing. We talk about time, we’ve been gone for ten days, we come back, we’ll be gone by Thursday at three o’clock when we have a deadline facing us. We’re practically becoming a drive-by Congress, a drive-by Congress, when we have important work to do. The Republican leadership says: ‘Well, we passed bills last year.’ I remind them that was a different Congress, that doesn’t count in this Congress. The Republican leadership says: ‘Let the Senate begin.’ I remind them that the Constitution says that appropriations and revenue bills must begin in the House.
“So, we have important work to do, the American people want us to work together, we want something big, bold, balanced and bipartisan that can take us – Republicans say: ‘they’re kicking the can down the road,’ it’s not kick – I don’t think they’re even kicking the can down the road, I think they are nudging the potato across the table with their nose. There’s not much that is being accomplished by what they are doing. This is just completely irresponsible, it’s mindless, most people don’t even know what the word sequester means; sequestration equals unemployment. Sequestration – we don’t want it, and we can work here to make sure we get the job done.
“So again, I salute the President in taking the message to the American people. I believe what the Republicans are doing with their sequestration, one deadline after another, little deadline after another is a subterfuge. Not getting the work done. We want to pass immigration reform, we want to pass gun safety legislation, we want to create jobs. We have important work to do here. We really do have a day job, instead of just this job of avoidance behavior that the Republicans are putting forth. So again, let’s be positive, let’s take the lead of Mr. Van Hollen or [Senator] Patty Murray in the Senate, with proposals that cut spending, increase revenue, create growth with jobs.
“[I] yield back.”