Washington, D.C. – Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi delivered remarks on the House floor today calling on House Republicans to honor their responsibilities to the American people and find a solution to the “fiscal cliff.” Below are the Leader’s remarks:
“Thank you Madam Speaker, as we come to the floor this afternoon to talk about this sequester issue. The clock is ticking. And every moment we delay in dealing with the budget issue is a moment of time that does not increase confidence in our economy, does not bring more certainty to our economic situation and does not reduce the deficit. I heard the previous speaker say that this legislation that is on the floor would end sequestration, it does not. And that is one of the major differences between it and the Democratic proposal put forth by Mr. Van Hollen.
“Unfortunately, afraid of debate on the floor, the Rules Committee, the Republicans did not allow Mr. Van Hollen’s proposal to come to the floor today so that we could have a vote on it. But even with that, we can have a debate on it. And the debate is about fairness. It’s about balance. It’s about living up to our responsibilities. It’s about saying, yes we all have to comprise, there will be cuts, we need revenue, we want growth. That’s what Mr. Van Hollen’s proposal does, it does indeed replace the sequestration. It is a better plan. It actually does end sequestration through a mix of cuts in revenues as I mentioned.
“The reason we have a problem here is because our Republican colleagues have refused to have one red cent from the wealthiest people in our country contribute to resolving this fiscal crisis, this budget crisis, not one red cent. If they cared as much about defense as they say, one year ago they would have agreed to a balanced plan with fairness and balance where we would have growth on the table and make decisions about revenue and about cuts to produce growth. And not go to a situation that called for across the board cuts in defense and in our domestic budget. This is really silly. It’s really silly. It’s not serious. It’s a charade, this bill that they have on the floor today. It just keeps making matters worse as the clock keeps ticking.
“So I urge my colleagues to reject this mirage of a bill that poses as a suggestion and support instead the ideas that are being advanced by Mr. Van Hollen. I don’t like everything about it, I think we have cut over a trillion dollars, that’s how we got through last year, all cuts, no revenue.
“But if you need only to see how we differ, just look at the Ryan-Romney-Republican budget. Their blueprint says we’re going to end Medicare, we’re going to make seniors pay $6,000 more as we end Medicare and we’re going to give tax cuts to the wealthiest people in our country. That’s not fair. That’s not balanced. But that is what would happen if the Republican bill were to become law, it would enact the Ryan bill.
“So, I urge my colleagues to think very seriously about this because people sent us here to find solutions. We must resolve this. When the Speaker of the House says ‘I’m not confident we’re going to do this’ – we are confident we can do anything we set our minds to. And we certainly have to be confident that we can honor our responsibilities to the American people. So we all have to go to the table willing to yield, willing to compromise, we’ve had to do it with President Bush Senior, with President Bush on his recovery package for our country, Democrats cooperated with both those President’s when we were in the majority, why is it that the Republicans in the House see no reason to comprise, even at the risk of the full faith and credit of the United States of America? Even at the expense of the health of our economy? Even at the expense of jobs for the American people? Vote ‘no’ on this mirage, support what Mr. Van Hollen is putting forth. Let’s get moving because the clock is ticking.
“Thank you Madam Speaker, I yield back the balance of my time.”