QUOTES: Whitehouse, Hoyer, Schakowsky, Ross Join Budget Advocates, Impacted Americans to Denounce House GOP’s Poison Pills, Proposed Spending Cuts

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse and Reps. Steny Hoyer, Jan Schakowsky, and Deborah Ross today joined leading budget advocates and everyday people likely to be harmed by the House GOP’s proposed spending cuts and poison pill riders for a press conference at the House Triangle.

Speakers at the event denounced House Republicans’ continued efforts to push for massive cuts to critical programs and the 560+ harmful poison pill riders still present in the House GOP’s draft spending bills. Some highlights:

U.S. Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), chair, U.S. Senate Budget Committee

“The 500 or so riders that have been mentioned are things that they almost certainly could not pass even through the House. And for sure, they couldn’t pass them through the Senate. So instead, [House Republicans] are making threats – threatening shutdowns, threatening to close down the United States government in order to get things that America doesn’t want, and that they can’t deliver through regular order.”

U.S. Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-Md.)

“This is a difficult Congress in which we serve. We have agreement on a lot of things. But we are immobilized by the fact that there are some people who will not agree on anything other than that which they want. That’s not democracy.”

U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.)

“The Republicans are offering things that are not supported by the majority of Americans and yet they persist […] in deciding not to stick with their agreement. […] It is chaos. It is not working. It is a dysfunctional government right now, under the Republicans, and we’re not going to just stand by and watch. We are going to fight for the kinds of changes that we need and the care that Americans deserve.”

U.S. Rep. Deborah Ross (D-N.C.)

“Over the past year […], Republicans have proven time and time again that their allegiance is to their extreme agenda, not the American people. And we’re approaching yet another government shutdown caused by House Republicans’ refusal to work across the aisle to pass bipartisan appropriations bills through our very divided Congress.”

“Now more than ever, clean spending bills represent a fast path forward to keep the federal government open and help Congress address the real issues that we were sent to Washington to solve. It’s time for Republicans to stop pushing dangerous policies that are at odds with the needs and priorities of the American people. We must put people over policy instead of drama and dysfunction in Congress. The American people deserve smart, steady, dependable leadership.”

Lisa Gilbert, executive vice president, Public Citizen and co-chair, Clean Budget Coalition

“Americans deserve a budget that has adequate funding for programs and policies that we depend on – from education to health care to protecting the environment, and so much more. […] However, extreme MAGA House Republicans have had a field day with riders this Congress, putting over 560 poison pill policy provisions in the bills that they have drafted.

Many of these policies are culture war provisions that attack women, immigrants, people of color, LGBTQ+ Americans and more. They’ve also inserted poison pills that would attack our environment, double down on the lies behind the January 6 insurrection, and fuel gun violence.”

Jenny Reese, president, AFSCME Local 539 and nurse at Springfield Hospital Center in Sykesville, Md.

“Throughout my career, I’ve witnessed how stigmatizing mental health and substance use can have wide ranging implications for individuals, communities, and society. […] We cannot let Congress delay action on the budget. Failing to pass a budget would mean cuts to key federal investments in health care, housing, education, childcare, workplace training, and so much more. As a union that delivers a range of public services we believe that such investments enhance the health, safety and overall well being of our communities.”

Stephanie Yost, counsel & deputy director of government relations, Reproductive Freedom for All 

“Despite the fact that the vast majority of Americans support the legal right to abortion, extremist House Republicans are once again doing everything in their power to roll back our fundamental rights – inserting dangerous restrictions on reproductive health care, including abortion care, into government funding bills. If a budget is a statement of values, these extremists have again shown us who they are and just how out-of-step their agenda really is. Everybody should have the freedom to make their own decisions about their lives, bodies, and futures.”

Elizabeth Brandt, climate advocate and member, Moms Clean Air Force

“Families like mine depend on Congress and the EPA to keep our kids safe from air pollution and climate change. Budgets reflect values, and by pushing the government to the brink of a completely avoidable shutdown, extremist Republicans have made clear that children’s health isn’t a priority. We can’t let them hold our environment and our well being hostage.”

Mark Wolfe, executive director, National Energy Assistance Directors’ Association 

“Congress needs to move forward with the funding framework confirmed over the weekend and discussed by Senator Whitehouse and Representatives Hoyer, Ross, and Schakowsky. Congress needs to get to work to secure funds for urgent domestic priorities so people don’t lose access to heat, food, housing, and health care.”