WASHINGTON—House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) spoke on the House floor regarding the action Senate Democrats took last night to force a government shutdown. Below are his remarks:
“My colleagues, at this hour, the federal government is needlessly shutdown because of Senate Democrats.
“One party in one house of this Congress is deliberately holding our government hostage.
“This did not need to happen. But it is important for people to understand why this is happening.
“Mr. Speaker, let me understand why this happened. On Thursday, this House responsibly passed a bill to keep the government open and extend the Children’s Health Insurance Program, which covers nearly 9 million children from low-income families.
“No games, no strings attached. A straightforward bill. We did our job. But Senate Democrats simply refused to do theirs.
“Last night, they used the filibuster to block our bill and shut down this government.
“But why? What exactly is in this bill was it that the Senate Democrats oppose? Why would they do such a thing?
“What do they find so objectionable that it is worth holding the whole government hostage?
“Was it funding for our military? Was it the Children’s Health Insurance Program? Is it funding for the Veterans Administration? Is it funding for our National Parks?
“What is it? The answer is, they have no problem with any of it! And yet they are blocking it anyway.
“That’s right, Senate Democrats shut down the government over a bill they have no issues with!
“They opposed a bill they don’t even oppose. We do some crazy things in Washington, but this is utter madness.
“Here is the simple truth: Senate Democrats refuse to fund the government unless we agree to their demands on something entirely unrelated.
“They want a deal on immigration, and then they’ll think about reopening the government. It is a shakedown strategy that Senate Democrats have been talked into by their base.
“Now I could go on and on about how cynical I think their ploy is. And I do.
“But let me read to you something Senator Schumer himself said in 2013, the last time we found ourselves in this position. Here is what he said: ‘No matter how strongly one feels about an issue, you shouldn’t hold millions of people hostage. That’s what the other side is doing. That’s wrong and we can’t give in to that.’
“Let me repeat that first line: ‘No matter how strongly one feels about an issue, you shouldn’t hold millions of people hostage.’
“He was right! You shouldn’t. But that’s exactly what he and his party are doing now.
“Here is something else Senator Schumer said in 2013: ‘I believe in immigration reform. What if I persuaded my caucus to say, ‘I’m going to shut the government down, I am going to not pay our bills unless I get my way?’ It's a politics of idiocy, of confrontation, of paralysis.’
“‘Politics of idiocy.’ His words, not mine.
“Here is one more quote from Senator Schumer in 2013: ‘We believe strongly in immigration reform. We could say, ‘we’re shutting down the government … until you pass immigration reform.’ It would be governmental chaos.’
“Sadly, he had that right too. As we speak, furlough notices are going out to federal workers across the country.
“Half of the Defense Department’s civilian workforce has to be furloughed.
“Training for the Reserves has to stop. Guardsmen have to be sent home.
“A number of states will soon run out of money for children’s health insurance.
“And all of it this is just completely unnecessary.
“But Senate Democrats believe none of it is too high a price to pay for appeasing their political base.
“There is no reason for a shutdown. We have been, and continue to be, willing to work together in good faith on immigration. But that deadline is weeks away.
“There is no good reason for Senate Democrats to keep willfully forcing a shutdown on this country.
“Now I want to take a moment to address the men and women who work here in the Capitol and around the country in this government, whether it’s the military, the Reserves, law enforcement, medical researchers, National Parks, wherever you are and whatever is that you’re doing for the taxpayers.
“Thank you for your service. Thank you for the sacrifices that you and your families make. We could not be more grateful.
“You should not have to go through this uncertainty. You deserve much better than this needless shutdown. And we hope that it will end very soon.
“My colleagues, Senate Democrats shut this down this government and now they need to open it back up.
“Stop holding our troops and children’s health insurance hostage. End this reckless shutdown that is inflicting needless uncertainty on our country.
“Let common sense and cooler heads prevail. Come to your senses. Do the right thing. Open this government back up.”
In 2013—the last time we found ourselves in this position—here is what Senator Schumer said: "No matter how strongly one feels about an issue, you shouldn't hold millions of people hostage." He was right! You shouldn't. But that's exactly what he and his party are doing now. pic.twitter.com/nXfIzPGY1s— Paul Ryan (@SpeakerRyan) January 20, 2018