May 15, 2024

Chairman Aguilar: House Democrats are focused on the most pressing challenges that working families face

WASHINGTON, D.C.— Today, House Democratic Caucus Chair Pete Aguilar and Vice Chair Ted Lieu were joined by Representatives Andrea Salinas (OR-06) and Emilia Sykes (OH-13) at a press conference highlighting the need to turn the page from the chaos of Extreme MAGA Republicans and focus on the needs of everyday Americans. 

CHAIRMAN AGUILAR: Good morning. I'm so pleased to be joined by the Vice Chair and some of our colleagues in the Democratic Caucus this morning. 

This morning, House Democrats were again— last week, I should say. House Democrats were again the adults in the room when it came to turning the page on another MAGA sideshow. I said, “sideshow,” by the way, just so we know. 

We want to govern, and we want to make life better for Americans. It's imperative that we do that and it's imperative that we move forward from the reckless agenda that Marjorie Taylor Greene continues to advance. It's time to put People Over Politics and to focus on the most pressing challenges that working families face in this country. 

The Vice Chair and I are pleased to be joined by two members of our Caucus, Representative Andrea Salinas from Oregon and Emilia Sykes from Ohio, who were elected by their constituents to put People Over Politics and to deliver real results for their communities. Our legislative accomplishments have laid the foundation for a strong economic recovery, and these members will tell you that there is much more we can do to lower costs, grow the middle class and defend freedom. 

We continue to partner with the Administration, which launched Infrastructure Week by highlighting our Invest In America agenda, creating more than 15 million good-paying jobs, bringing back domestic manufacturing from overseas and strengthening supply chains. That's going to be the focus of the remainder of our Congress, working across the aisle whenever we can, wherever we can, to raise the quality of life for working families. And that means building safer communities, as we also honor our brave law enforcement officers this week here in the nation's capital.

Next, I’ll turn it over to the Vice Chair of the Democratic Caucus, Ted Lieu.

VICE CHAIR LIEU: Thank you, Chairman Aguilar. 

As Chairman Aguilar noted, we celebrate two weeks this week. We've got National Police Week as well as Infrastructure Week. In terms of Police Week, I honor all those who choose a profession where they could be called upon to risk their lives. Having served on active duty in the U.S. military, I respect all those who wear a uniform and choose to protect and serve, including our police officers and all those in law enforcement. 

And then in terms of Infrastructure Week, let me start off by saying that we've got a good economic report today showing that inflation has cooled slightly. It went downwards in April. At the same time, prices are too high. And that's why when Democrats were in control, we passed laws such as the Infrastructure Law that's going to help ease supply chain shortages. It’s going to make transporting goods easier and faster and more efficient— that's going to help reduce prices. 

We also passed the CHIPS and Science Act, which is going to bring back high-tech chip manufacturing to the United States. Chips are in lots of consumer products. That's going to help reduce prices. 

The Biden Administration has been working on reducing junk fees. We also passed a law, when Democrats were in control, to reduce medical costs. And so, Democrats are focused on lowering prices and lowering costs. 

And with that, it is my great honor to introduce the amazing freshman representative from Oregon, Representative Salinas.

REP. SALINAS: Good morning and thank you, Chairman Aguilar, Vice Chair Lieu and all my colleagues here today for hosting this press conference on our continued fight to put People Over Politics. 

Some of you might know this, but before I got elected, I actually served as a staff for several members of Congress, including former Congresswoman Darlene Hooley from the Willamette Valley of Oregon. She represented parts of my current district. And I mention this because even just a few years ago, there was still that feeling that we could work together across the aisle to actually get things done. Bipartisanship didn't seem to feel as difficult as it does today. But now as a Member of myself, it's hard to reconcile what we're seeing from the other side of the aisle. Extremists like Donald Trump and Marjorie Taylor Greene have a chokehold on today's Republican Party, and their only goal is to wreak havoc on democracy and take away some of our most fundamental rights. 

Meanwhile, my Democratic colleagues and I stand here today as a united front. We stand together in our efforts to push back against extremism and to protect democracy and the rule of law. And we fight any and all attempts to take away your rights as Americans, including the right to choose whether and when to start or grow a family. Extreme Republicans have made clear that they won't stop until abortion is banned nationwide, including in my home state of Oregon, where we have some of the greatest protections. They want to make IVF, contraception and other life saving medical procedures illegal, and criminalize women who seek care and the doctors who provide it. 

But it's just not women that they're targeting. We've seen attempts to make drastic cuts to SNAP and take food out of the mouths of my veterans, seniors and hungry children. And they want to send us backwards in the fight against climate change, doing away with climate-smart investments from the inflation Reduction Act that are incredibly popular to the farmers in my district, and will help them stay resilient and profitable in the long term. 

Extreme politics have become the norm in Congress, but they don't have to be. Oregonians sent me here to get things done, and I continue to do just that, focusing on sensible bipartisan policies. And I'll continue to urge my Republican colleagues to meet me in the middle and help pass a truly bipartisan Farm Bill that levels the playing field for families and rural communities. And I will keep working across the aisle whenever possible. Despite all the noise, there are still sensible Republicans in Congress who want to make progress for their constituents. 

I am always ready to put People Over Politics and forge solutions together. With that, I'll pass it over to my friend and colleague from Ohio, Congresswoman Emilia Sykes.

REP. SYKES: Good morning, everyone. Good to see you. My name is Emilia Sykes, and I am honored to serve Ohio's 13th Congressional District as a Member of Congress. 

As a first time Member of Congress, I was ready and excited to get to work on the real issues that my constituents care about: lowering costs, improving public safety, expanding opportunity and protecting our fundamental freedoms. Unfortunately, extreme politicians and Republicans have focused more on political games and antics, political infighting, like last week's motion to vacate, and that's taken the priority over governing. 

These political games distract from the real issues that our constituents face every single day. It's truly shameful. The American people deserve so much better. But I won't let the chaos of the House Majority distract me from the reason that I'm here, and it's the people of Ohio's 13th district. My constituents sent me to Congress to focus on the challenges they face like the high cost of living, so that's exactly what I'm going to do and will continue to do. It's why I introduced the common sense legislation, the Lower Your Taxes Act, which would enhance the Earned Income Tax Credit and Child Tax Credit, all while ensuring greedy corporations pay their fair share. By expanding the Earned Income Tax Credit and Child Tax Credit, we're investing in working people and putting more money in the pockets of people, their hard earned money, at a time when families need a little bit more breathing room. 

My constituents want and need real solutions like the Lower Your Taxes Act, something that will improve their everyday lives, not more divisive rhetoric. In a recent radio interview, I was asked whether or not the Lower Your Taxes Act had a realistic chance of passing. And it was disappointing that I couldn't share a resounding, “yes.” Because this is a good idea that each of these provisions of the deal would help ease the pain of inflation, that it would lift families out of poverty and provide needed tax relief all while ensuring greedy corporations are paying their fair share. But the reason this bill is not going to get a fair hearing is because Republicans want to play games, partisan games, rather than address the needs and concerns of the American people. 

I know that bipartisanship can be accomplished. I served as a Minority Leader in the State House in a superminority and we were able to get things done, real things done, including expanding the Earned Income Tax Credit. And it could be accomplished here in Congress, but my colleagues have to make the decision. It is their desire or will to not, or to, put People Over Politics. They can join me and my Democratic colleagues in leading and putting People Over Politics, and we invite them every single day to join on the bandwagon in order to help the American people. So, to my colleagues in the Majority, we say enough is enough. Let's stop playing games, and let's get to work. 

Thank you and I turn the program back over to Chair Aguilar.

Video of the full press conference and Q&A can be viewed here.