October 24, 2023

Chairman Aguilar: House Republicans must end the chaos and dysfunction so we can get back to work

WASHINGTON, DC - Today, House Democratic Caucus Chair Pete Aguilar and Vice Chair Ted Lieu held a press conference alongside Congresswoman Jahana Hayes and Congresswoman Nikki Budzinski to urge a bipartisan path forward out of the Republican-manufactured chaos.

CHAIRMAN AGUILAR: Good morning. It's a pleasure to be joined, as always, by Democratic Caucus Vice Chair Ted Lieu, and two amazing Members of the Democratic Caucus, Jahana Hayes and Nikki Budzinski. 

Chaos and dysfunction continue to be the order of the day in the House Republican Majority. Today is Day 21 without a Speaker, and the other side is back to square one. After the failure of MAGA extremist Jim Jordan, multiple candidates have emerged now to see if they can be the ones to get 217, if any of them, at all, can get that done. 

The American people and our allies abroad can't afford any more delays. Every day of this MAGA madness is another day of not sending aid to Israel and Ukraine, not taking meaningful steps to fund our government and not making sure that we're looking out for working families across this country. It's another day of being away from our districts and talking to folks in our communities who elected us to work on their business, the People's business, not to be here and to babysit House Republicans as their party infighting further cripples the integrity of this institution. 

House Republicans can continue down the path of destruction, or they can work with House Democrats in a bipartisan path forward to get back to doing the People's business. 

The clock is ticking. End the chaos and the dysfunction and let's get back to work. Now, I'd like to turn it over to Vice Chair Ted Lieu.

VICE CHAIR LIEU: Thank you, Chairman Aguilar, and so honored to be joined today by two fabulous Members, Jahana Hayes and Nikki Budzinski. 

This entire year has been a stark contrast between how Democrats govern and how Republicans govern. Democrats put People Over Politics, and when we were in control, we passed the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to rebuild your roads and bridges and highways, put internet broadband everywhere and to take lead out of water. And we created a lot of good jobs with that law. We then passed the CHIPS and Science Act, bipartisan, that also created a lot of good jobs. And we passed Inflation Reduction Act to lower the costs of everyday items such as prescription drugs. We lowered insulin to $35 a month. We now have our government negotiating with the big drug companies and lowering the cost of ten additional drugs. And Democrats, when we’re in control, we're focused on putting the American people first. 

Republicans this year brought us to the brink of a default on our nation's debts that would have been catastrophic for our economy. They then brought us on the brink of a government shutdown. And then they took out their own Speaker, and we're 21 days without a Speaker. It is time to reopen the House. And we ask Republicans to join Democrats on a bipartisan path forward. And now it is my great honor to introduce the terrific Jahana Hayes. 

Thank you, Ted. 

As you've heard, and you all know because you've been here, we've been without a Speaker going into three weeks. I represent a district that values bipartisanship and compromise. A bipartisan agreement must be our path forward. I'm willing to come to the table and do the hard work of compromising and I invite my colleagues across the aisle to do the same. 

The people in my district want me to protect the Farm Bill. They want me to protect our national security and to keep the government funded. We need a Speaker that can simultaneously support the farmers and the hungry children in my district. We need a Speaker who can respond to the global security crisis and support our allies. We need a Speaker who will understand that working with Democrats is necessary for governance.

I'm ready to do that work, and I know that it requires for me to work with Republicans. I hope that they can appreciate the same. The House of Representatives cannot remain paralyzed. We cannot remain in the state of chaos and closure. We have to come together and work on behalf of the American people. 

House Democrats stand united behind Hakeem Jeffries and support his efforts to pursue a bipartisan path forward. I would encourage my colleagues on the other side of the aisle to do the same. Thank you. With that, I give you Nikki Budzinski.

REP. BUDZINSKI: Thank you. 

Hello everyone. My name is Nikki Budzinski and I represent Central and Southern Illinois. As a frontliner and someone who flipped a seat last cycle from red to blue, I know that my constituents sent me to Congress to find solutions, not be a part of the political noise and dysfunction in Washington. Where I come from, compromise is not a dirty word, and the people I represent deserve results. 

As we face terrorism in Israel, humanitarian needs in Gaza, a war in Ukraine, a crisis on the southern border and another government shutdown possibility, we cannot afford a House majority that is not up to this job. I know I have colleagues across the aisle who are in the same boat, who came here to get real things done for their constituents. But in just my 10 months in Congress, there has been nonstop chaos. I've now voted 18 times for a Speaker of the House, all while some of our nation's most significant challenges remain unaddressed by the House majority. And now we've gone 20 days unable to do the job we were sent here to do. 

Our friends across the aisle spent years and millions of dollars trying to win back the gavel, and now they have it. They are failing the American people every single day that they refuse to put the American people over petty infighting, and that's why I'm standing here with my colleagues united behind a bipartisan path forward. And I hope that my colleagues in the majority will come to the table and work with us. There is too much at stake not to have someone in the Speaker's chair and I urge my Republican colleagues, many of whom I know are serious legislators, to finally come to the table to figure out a workable solution. Thank you.

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