Washington, DC – Congressman Steny H. Hoyer [MD-District 5] and Senator Ben Cardin [D-MD] released the following statements Friday, Feb 9 after the House and Senate passed a budget agreement and ended this year’s second government shutdown:

Hoyer statement
“Over the past several hours, America saw once more the utter dysfunction of Congressional Republicans, their inability to govern, and their failure to provide the kind of steady leadership this country needs. Republicans control all levers of our government and are responsible for keeping it funded, yet they shut it down twice in one month. Today’s shutdown was the result of a Republican feud in the Senate; I was deeply disappointed that Republicans refused to pass a Democratic bill to keep the government open an extra day so that Congress could complete its work without a funding lapse.
“Now that the threats of shutdown and default are gone, Congress must turn immediately to legislation allowing DREAMers to remain here with a pathway to citizenship. Congress should have addressed this issue months ago. We must provide these young people with peace of mind and the chance to continue contributing to the strength, security, and prosperity of our nation. Democrats will not give up the fight to ensure that DREAMers can remain part of the fabric of America.”

Cardin statement
“There is no such thing as a ‘good shutdown,’ which is why it was imperative that we found a reasonable, bipartisan path forward that should keep the federal government working on behalf of the American people. Senators have come together on this budget and are moving in the right direction, including a renewed commitment to our Dreamers and immigration reform. I supported this bill because – more than four months into the fiscal year – it was urgent that we fund key national and regional priorities. We needed to provide certainty and resources for our dedicated federal workers. I’ve spoken with many federal workers recently and can see how much they just want to be able to do their jobs and carry out their agencies’ missions. This bill is far from perfect, but many of the pieces of this agreement cover issues on which I have been working with colleagues across the aisle for years, including Medicare’s therapy caps, water infrastructure, and support for the National Institutes of Health, the Social Security Administration, IRS and others. 

“In a return to fiscal parity, this important, two-year budget agreement increases both national security and domestic spending at comparable levels, and funds important priorities that were in desperate need for stability and steady resources. The investment levels in non-defense discretionary funding will be $117 billion higher than those that President Trump proposed for fiscal year 2018. Important to Maryland and our entire country, the agreement fully eliminates the non-defense discretionary and defense discretionary sequestration cuts for the next two fiscal years.

“Because of good-faith negotiations, we will be investing $6 billion to fight back against the scourge of opioid addiction and bolster mental health programs; adding $2 billion for research at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda and major investments in Community Health Centers; and finally achieving a full repeal of the existing, arbitrary caps on physical therapy, occupational therapy and speech-language pathology services through Medicare – a 20-year fight. We also add $4 billion to make college more affordable to more students. We are investing in our surface transportation, rural broadband and energy infrastructure, expanding energy efficiency initiatives and improving wastewater and drinking water infrastructure. We provide more affordable child care for working families; boost telemedicine and home health programs; and rebuild our VA hospitals and clinics. We’ve set aside funds to help communities recover from extreme weather disasters, including hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria, and made sure that Americans citizens in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands are not being treated as second-class citizens.

“As the budget negotiations have continued, so have bipartisan talks on immigration reform. The president may have created this mess and placed an expiration date on the lives of Dreamers and those who hold Temporary Protected Status (TPS), but Congress must find a pathway forward that allows these individuals to continue their lives here in America, which they have made their home. We cannot let these families be ripped apart and we must continue to support family reunification.  I am pleased that the Senate will turn to immigration reform after this budget is passed and urge Congress to roll up its sleeves and finally get the job done, with or without help from the president.”