March 06, 2024

Chairman Aguilar: House Democrats will deliver the votes to prevent a government shutdown

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, House Democratic Caucus Chair Pete Aguilar and Vice Chair Ted Lieu held a press conference alongside House Appropriations Committee Ranking Member Rosa DeLauro on how House Democrats are once again preventing a government shutdown by advancing funding bills to help everyday Americans.

CHAIRMAN AGUILAR: Good morning. Pleased to be joined with Vice Chair Ted Lieu and our Chairwoman of Appropriations – always my Chairwoman of Appropriations – Rosa DeLauro. 

This week, House Democrats will again deliver the votes to prevent a government shutdown. If there's one thing consistent within the 118th Congress, it's that Democrats are the only adults in the Chamber. And because of the leadership of Ranking Member DeLauro, Leader Jeffries and the leadership team, these funding bills protect so many key priorities that are important to our Caucus and are free of partisan amendments and riders that restrict abortion access. 

But it didn't have to be like this. The months of crisis, chaos and confusion are a direct result of a wholesale takeover of the Republican Party by Donald Trump and MAGA Extremists. That's not just an observation, those are his words. On Saturday, he said that the Republican Party now must be, “100 percent MAGA.” What that means in practice is more chaos, more crisis and more confusion. It means that the needs of everyday Americans, like lowering the costs of everyday goods and services, addressing gun violence and growing the middle class, remain on the backburner. 

The contrast could not be more clear. We are Team Normal. House Democrats are Team Normal and we want to fund important government priorities that raise the quality of life for every American and protect the freedoms that the American people rely on. House Republicans and Donald Trump are Team Extreme. They lurch from crisis to crisis because the only unifying principles motivating them are the whims and grievances of a man who has 91 felonies behind his name.

Next, Vice Chairman Ted Lieu.

VICE CHAIR LIEU: Thank you, Chairman Aguilar. 

I’m going to talk about two issues today. The first is in vitro fertilization, IVF. 125 members of the Republican Party signed the Life at Conception bill that would ban IVF. Now, some of them have now come out and said, “No, no, it really doesn't ban IVF.” That's a lie. How do we know that? Because the Alabama Supreme Court used basically the same language and IVF clinics across Alabama started shutting down. And here's a reason why. When you define life to start at fertilization, that essentially means every embryo is a child. The way IVF works as part of the process, a number of embryos get discarded. That means all of these IVF clinics are going to be guilty of murder, and that's why they had to shut down because they can't do this process anymore. It simply would subject them to massive liability just as part of a normal IVF process. 

Now, there may be some Republican Members that didn't exactly know how IVF worked and signed onto that Life at Conception bill, but there were Republican Members who either got pregnant because of IVF, had a spouse who went through IVF or had family members who went through IVF, knew exactly what this process was, and they signed onto that bill and they are shameful hypocrites. They knew exactly what they were doing. That bill bans IVF. But it gets worse than that. We looked through, the Pro-Choice Caucus looked through all their legislation and they saw that that same definition was used in a variety of other bills that Republicans signed onto. 184 Republicans have signed onto bills defining life at fertilization, all of which would ban IVF if that became law. And just to put a finer point on this, for approximately the first 38 hours, or actually, for approximately the first 30 hours after fertilization, the zygote is a single cell. Now, you have the right in America to believe that that single cell is a human child, but you don’t have the right to jam that particular belief down the throats of Americans and ban IVF, and that is what is at stake right now. 

Second issue I want to talk about is Ukraine. Speaker Johnson has said repeatedly he wants the House to, “work its will.” The only way the House works its will is through votes. All he has to do is put the national security supplemental, that the Senate passed on a bipartisan basis, on the House floor and take an up or down vote. And having served in the U.S. military and then having served in the reserves, it's very clear that this National Security Supplemental is critical to U.S. national security. 

And now, it's my honor to introduce the Ranking Member, past Chair and future Chair of Appropriations, the amazing Rosa DeLauro. 

RANKING MEMBER DELAURO: Thank you, and good morning to everyone as well. I am so delighted, and I want to say a thank you to Congressman Aguilar, Congressman Lieu and all of the House Democratic leadership for what has been, over the last several months, steady leadership, a united front throughout what we have experienced with a 2024 government funding saga. 

Later this afternoon, House Democrats will continue to lead by putting up the votes needed to keep the government open to fund the programs that help Americans with the cost of living, creating higher paying jobs, battling climate change, honoring America's veterans and protecting women's rights. This was undoubtedly, as I think you all know, an unprecedented year and an unprecedented process which got us here. The extreme House Republican majority repeatedly reneged on their word. They failed to even consider several of their harmful bills in Committee or on the Floor. But despite the chaos in the Majority, Democrats did what we always do. We did put People Over Politics, we followed the law, we reached a bipartisan compromise to grow the middle class and to deliver for the American people. 

The bill certainly doesn't have everything that we may have wanted, but I am very proud to say we successfully defeated the vast majority of the extreme cuts and hundreds of harmful policy riders proposed by the House Republicans. We rejected their attempts to defund critical agencies and programs and we rejected their culture war riders. We rejected their attacks on women's freedom. We protected access to reproductive health care. We ensured that WIC and SNAP nutrition assistance are fully funded, so that no family in need is put on a waitlist and no child goes hungry. The bill will help us combat climate change, it will create good-paying jobs and sustain those jobs in communities across this country, jobs that are in manufacturing, in infrastructure, jobs in green energy. 

So, I am so proud of how hard House Democrats fought to secure these wins for the American people. It's not just a process. It is what's contained in the Appropriations bill, the services to be delivered every single year. We're going to continue to fight for the next six bills, which as you know, are due on March 22nd. We will continue to fight to grow the middle class, to protect Americans’ freedoms and we'll protect women's rights and we are going to deliver for hardworking people in 2025. 

Thank you, and I yield back to my colleague, the Chair of the Caucus. 

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