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McHenry on Committee Democrats’ Hearing on Pelosi’s Partisan Wish List: This is a Waste of Time

McHenry on Committee Democrats’ Hearing on Pelosi’s Partisan Wish List: This is a Waste of Time

July 23, 2020 

Today, the Financial Services Committee is holding a hearing on the so-called “HEROES” Act, Speaker Pelosi’s progressive wish list that stands no chance of becoming law. Instead of focusing on bipartisan solutions to help American families, workers, and small businesses impacted by COVID-19, Democrats are wasting valuable committee time holding a hearing on legislation that passed the House with bipartisan opposition over two months ago.

Last week, Ranking Member Patrick McHenry (NC-10) wrote to Chairwoman Maxine Waters (CA-43) urging her “to reconsider the decision to hold a hearing on the HEROES Act and instead use that time to hear from witnesses who can inform our effort to develop a bill that will return the economy to full strength.” After the Chairwoman rejected the Ranking Member’s request to work in a bipartisan manner, Ranking Member McHenry responded, “we are strongest when we work together. I wish we were taking the same approach to the next phase of CARES, and I stand ready to do exactly that after we finish today’s discussion about a bill that has no chance of becoming law.”

Watch Ranking Member Patrick McHenry’s (NC-10) opening remarks here.

Ranking Member McHenry’s Opening Remarks as prepared for delivery:

Thank you, Madam Chair. I would like to thank our witnesses for taking the time to be here today.

“Look, there’s no way to sugarcoat this, so I am just going to say it:

“This hearing is a waste of time.

“People are losing their jobs. People are worried about keeping their homes. And in less than 48 hours, many American families are facing a fiscal cliff as their benefits come to an end.

“So, remember this day.

“It’s the day that—in the middle of a crisis and as we speed toward another disaster—House Democrats chose to have a hearing on a bill…that already passed the House months ago.

“And not just any bill mind you, but an extreme, partisan bill that has no chance—indeed never had a chance—of being enacted into law.

“But don’t take my word for it. 

“Many Democrats, some from this very committee, recognized this bill for what it was from the start: a dead-end, partisan stunt.

“In their words, not mine, they said regarding this bill that it’s ‘not a good look in a time of national crisis to act in [this] strictly partisan way.’ 

“Many of them voted against this bill because, again quoting them, it’s a ‘political waste.’  A ‘partisan, dead-end measure loaded with political ‘wish-list’ items unrelated to the public health and economic crisis facing the country.’

“Again, those are the words of my friends on the other side of the aisle.

“I wholeheartedly agree with them.

“Americans don’t want gamesmanship. They don’t want petty partisanship.

“Instead, we should be spending every minute in action, working together in a bipartisan way, helping Americans get through this.

“We’ve experienced more as a nation in the last four months than many have seen in a lifetime. The global health pandemic continues to wreak havoc in our communities. We know that 18 million Americans are unemployed today. More than 30 million continue to receive worker assistance. Our schools are closed. Our hospitals are nearly overextended.

“At the beginning of the crisis, we came together and passed the bipartisan CARES Act. It was the right response at the right time.

“My view is simple: Let’s do that again with the added benefit of real data and facts to guide us in driving better policy outcomes.

“For many workers, the enhanced unemployment benefits package equals 150 percent or 200 percent of their usual earnings.

“As cash-strapped small businesses struggle to survive, they cannot compete with what many workers are receiving in enhanced unemployment benefits. 

“We can’t lose sight of the fact that, if businesses don’t survive there will be no jobs for workers to come back to.

“Why is that? And how should that bit of data drive our decision making for this next stimulus package?

“In my opinion, it shows that Americans want to get back to work. They want to be a part of our nation’s recovery. How can we help them do it?

“We need to focus on building better technology, driving more innovation, and job training to ensure the strength and success of this recovery. We will need to support new ideas, cutting-edge research, and entrepreneurship.

“But the point is this: Why not spend our time, and what little of it that we have left, asking these types of questions and seeking these types of solutions to help more Americans?

“So I ask House Democrats: is it worth it to continue pushing for things you know you will never get, and delay passage of what will become law, knowing that by doing stunts like this today, it is another minute, another hour, another day wasted not serving the American people? 

“Because the truth is: we cannot move fast enough. Come Sunday morning, too many American families will be in dire straits.

“So, I will end where I started.

“Committee Republicans stand ready to work across the aisle to protect employees, small businesses, families and communities as we all continue to find a new normal in this environment.

“I want to thank the witnesses again for their time and I yield back.” 

Witness List

  • The Honorable Shaun Donovan, former Secretary, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, and former Director, U.S. Office of Management and Budget
  • The Honorable Robert Reich, Carmel P. Friesen’s Professor of Public Policy, Goldman School of Public Policy, University of California, Berkeley, and former Secretary, U.S. Department of Labor
  • Mr. John W. Rogers, Jr., Chairman, Co-CEO & Chief Investment Officer, Ariel Investments
  • Dr. Steven Davis, Labor Economist, William H. Abbot Professor of International Business and Economics, The University of Chicago Booth School of Business

Watch the virtual hearing here.

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