Democrats to offer four bills to reopen much of government
- By Chase Gunter
- Jan 08, 2019
Now in the third week of the partial government shutdown, Majority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) unveiled House Democrats' plan to reopen government, calling the need to end the shutdown a top priority.
"Before we do anything else, we need to get government reopened," Hoyer said during a press briefing.
He said that Democrats will offer four bills this week to reopen the government: the Financial Services bill Wednesday, the Agriculture and Interior bills Thursday, and the Housing and Urban Development bill Friday.
Hoyer noted the bills the Democrats will bring to the floor this week will be the same as the ones approved by a wide margin of both sides of the Senate at the end of the last Congress.
"We're bringing a lot of legislation to the floor to open up the government, which should never have been shut down," he said. "Whatever problems confront us, they are exacerbated, not relieved, by shutting down the government."
Hoyer also endorsed Senate Democrats' plan to block any bills unrelated to reopening the federal government as long as it remains shut down, adding that the point of disagreement between the two parties exists in just one of the bills -- for the Department of Homeland Security.
"I am convinced that if Sen. McConnell brings to the floor the four bills we will pass this week, that they will pass the Senate," he said. "We are going to daily urge and take efforts to open up the government."
He said that if Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) agreed to hold a vote on the bills, government would be reopened "very, very quickly," but added that Democrats "are not going to negotiate comprehensive immigration reform in terms of getting the government opened."
Hoyer also pointed to the "devastating" effects the shutdown has on the federal workforce.
"Federal employees are being deeply damaged by this continuing, long-term shutdown," he said. "This is devastating to morale and devastating to efficiency."
Hoyer also said that when it comes to the House Democratic agenda, the shutdown will not "undermine" any of the House Democrats' plans to conduct investigations or carry out any other priorities.
"We're early in the session and committees are still being formulated," he said. "None of our agenda gets set aside."
Chase Gunter is a former FCW staff writer.