October 18, 2023

Chairman Aguilar: Leader Jeffries has the support to be the Speaker this country needs

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, House Democratic Caucus Chair Pete Aguilar delivered remarks on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives nominating Democratic Leader Hakeem Jeffries for Speaker. Below is a full transcript of his remarks.

CHAIRMAN AGUILAR: Mr. Speaker Pro [Tempore], I rise today at the direction of the House Democratic Caucus to place into nomination for the position of Speaker of the House of Representatives, the Honorable Hakeem Jeffries of New York.


Here we are again, Mr. Speaker, and I promise to make these speeches shorter if we get closer to a compromise, but I'm not certain that that's going to happen at this moment. While the Republican candidate for Speaker is making late night backroom deals to secure the gavel, Leader Jeffries has once again extended the hand of bipartisanship for a path forward.

One thing was very clear yesterday, the vote total: 220, 212 to 200. The People's House has spoken, and Leader Jeffries has the support to be Speaker that this country needs.


Mr. Speaker, 212 to 200. No amount of election denying is going to take away from those vote totals.


We shouldn’t, Mr. Speaker Pro [Tempore], we shouldn't be surprised at the vote count. I noted yesterday the legislative acumen of the gentleman from Ohio. Would it surprise anyone that in addition to not passing a single piece of legislation, he's never put a piece of legislation that has made it to a committee. The Speaker of the House must be a legislator, and the gentleman from Ohio falls short in that regard. 

He supports an extreme agenda and is hell bent on banning abortion nationwide, gutting Medicare, gutting Social Security and giving cover to January 6th attackers. Those aren't the values that we share. If we don't see a Speaker elected in this round, there's going to be another candidate, and another internal Republican Conference vote, and a secret ballot and the country can't afford more delays and more chaos. 15 days should be enough.


House Democrats are united on this path forward, we're united behind Hakeem Jeffries, united to put people over politics and united to lower costs, create better paying jobs, build safer communities and defend democracy. And once again, we're coming together to achieve this common goal, and that is to make Hakeem Jeffries Speaker of the House of Representatives.


Almost, almost, Mr. Speaker Pro [Tempore].

Hakeem Jeffries has done what we haven't seen from the other side of the aisle, and that is to keep a caucus united. When extreme MAGA Republicans vowed to send our country into a devastating default, it was Leader Jeffries who led House Democrats to reject the extremism and keep the government open.

Mr. Speaker Pro [Tempore], we have the vote totals to back that up. It has been Leader Jeffries and House Democrats who have shown a willingness and a conviction to keep our promise to deliver for American families, and it will be Hakeem Jeffries who will move our body and our country forward on a bipartisan path. Who on the other side of the aisle, Mr. Speaker Pro [Tempore] will take yes for an answer and work with us to achieve three common goals?

And my colleague and good friend, the gentleman from Oklahoma, mentioned one of them, supporting assistance to Israel, but what he left out was assistance to Ukraine and our national security objectives.


Second, above all else, we must commit to keep this government open and functioning.


And finally, Mr. Speaker Pro [Tempore], we need to put this body on a bipartisan path to achieve real results for the American public. That is what we were sent to do. That is what we need to do. That is why Hakeem Jeffries is the leader we need at this time to lead this Chamber. I'd like to nominate Hakeem Jeffries as Speaker of the House.

I yield back.

Video of the full floor speech can be viewed here.