Democratic Caucus Chairman Xavier Becerra (CA-34) delivered a press conference following today's Democratic Caucus meeting. A transcript of Chairman Becerra's remarks follows and video is available here.
"We are in the final week of the fiscal year before a government shutdown. Congress must appropriate monies to keep our federal government operating. It comes as no surprise that we are four days away from watching our government shutdown because Republicans in Congress have made this a habit. Unfortunately, we are waiting on the edge of the cliff to find out if the agencies of our federal government will be on duty, come October 1st. The Senate looks like it's getting prepared to vote on a short-term resolution to keep our government functioning, but it looks like it will be dead on arrival and we will have one more day before we know all the facts of where we are headed.
"The solution is pretty simple. We agreed a year ago, back in December, on how we should move forward with a budget for this fiscal year. We reached an agreement on how much we would allocate in funding. But earlier this year, House Republicans chose not to abide by that agreement, which is why we are in this crisis. The Republican majority in the House and Senate has the votes, but they have been unable to [move forward with a budget].
"While Republicans are busy playing this crazy game of fiscal chicken, 2,100 United States citizen women who are pregnant and have shown evidence of possible Zika virus infection, are now in danger of giving birth to a child that will have abnormalities that will last a lifetime. We have been told that that's the case. So, when someone says to you that delayed action in Congress has no consequences, talk to those pregnant women with the Zika virus.
"Republicans are refusing to allow a measure in the Senate that would provide support to the residents of Flint who have seen their water contaminated with lead due to the actions of state officials and a Republican refusal in Congress to allow funding that would clean up lead contamination in their communities. Again, that's another battle that Republicans are fighting amongst themselves -- what to do for the 100,000 residents and 10,000 children in Flint who are waiting for the opportunity to be able to drink safe water out of their own taps.
"I could talk about the fact that we've been allowed no votes in this House of Representatives or in Congress on gun safety measures to prevent people who shouldn't be allowed to buy firearms from buying them. I can talk about the need to cover wildfire damages in the West, we could talk about a lot of things that haven't been done, but most of all we need the federal government to properly funded. We need a budget. Republicans need to stop their internal feuding and come together."