The following is a transcript of a speech, as prepared for delivery, by Rep. Steny Hoyer, Parliamentarian of the 2012 Democratic National Convention, Democratic Whip and Member of the U.S. House of Representatives, Maryland, at the Democratic National Convention.
I'm proud to be here tonight to support President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden for a second term. President Obama has spent the last four years seeking the solutions we need to meet our challenges. He has spent his first term focused on building a strong economy and growing the middle class. Thanks to his leadership, America's auto workers are back on the job, and manufacturers are hiring at levels not seen since the 1990s. But we need to do more. That's why President Obama wants to revitalize the manufacturing sector that made our nation great. House Democrats share that vision, which is why we have a plan called "Make it in America" to invest in out-educating, out-innovating and out-building our competitors overseas. A strong America depends on a successful and growing middle class, and this election is a moment of truth for middle-class families.
The choice we have to make this fall is a critical one—but I don't believe it's a difficult one. Last week, Mr. Romney said he wished President Obama had succeeded when he took office. If so, he was alone in his party. Let's review the history. Senator Mitch McConnell, the Republican leader in the Senate, said that Republicans' number one priority was the defeat of President Obama. Not the defeat of terrorism, not the creation of jobs, not the reduction of our deficit and debt, not ensuring access to health care, not educating our children. But to simply defeat our president. As the Rev. Jesse Jackson describes it, they want to drown the captain, and they're prepared to sink the ship to do so. For four years, Republicans in Congress have pursued a strategy of confrontation, refusal to compromise and obstruction. That's why not a single House Republican voted for the law that brought our economy back from the brink. That's why President Obama's jobs plan was not even put to a vote in the House. Instead of trying to fix the problem, the Republicans unfortunately played politics.
But despite historic levels of obstruction, President Obama was able to bring the economy back from the verge of a second Great Depression. In January 2009, when the President took office, our economy lost more than 800,000 jobs. This July, the economy added 172,000 jobs, the 29th consecutive month of private sector job gains. We know that's not enough, but it's a turnaround of nearly one million jobs from when President Obama took office. We're better off.
These past four years, while President Obama was fighting for the middle class, Mitt Romney, Paul Ryan and their Tea Party allies cared more about tearing down the president than building up America. They're hoping that we will forget that. They're also hoping that we will forget their role in piling up a mountain of debt being left to our children and grandchildren. My friend Paul Ryan talks about fiscal responsibility, but voted to put two wars on a credit card. He voted to spend trillions of dollars on tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires. He voted for a prescription drug benefit with no plan to pay for it. He abandoned the bipartisan principle that we must pay for what we buy. And he voted against the balanced deficit reduction plan produced by a bipartisan commission—a fact he didn't tell you in his speech last week.
He also didn't tell you that Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan want to end the Medicare guarantee and turn it into a voucher, which would leave seniors with the increased costs. He also didn't tell you that President Obama has strengthened Medicare by taking away big subsidies to insurance companies and by tackling waste, fraud and abuse; that President Obama has saved seniors more than $4 billion on prescription drugs by closing the "donut hole"; and that President Obama added years to the life of Medicare. Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan promise hard truths. But they don't deliver hard answers or real solutions.
President Obama and Democrats are working tirelessly to move our country forward over the near unanimous opposition of Republican leaders and Republican members of Congress. The decision we have to make this November is simple: do we keep moving forward, or do we join the Romney-Ryan retreat and go back to the same failed policies of the past? Barack Obama and Joe Biden have been working hard to help middle-class families make it in America. Let's send them back to the White House with a Democratic House and Senate ready to get to work, ready to make tough choices, ready to meet our challenges head on. We must not flag or fail. We must keep moving forward, restoring faith in the American dream. Let's re-elect President Obama and Vice President Biden! Thank you.