July 26, 2023

Chairman Aguilar: Our economic agenda is working and the middle class is growing

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, House Democratic Caucus Chair Pete Aguilar and Vice Chair Ted Lieu held a press conference alongside DPCC Chair Joe Neguse and Appropriations Committee Vice Ranking Member Grace Meng on House Democrats’ accomplishments and commitment to putting People Over Politics ahead of the August district work period.

CHAIRMAN AGUILAR: Good morning. Pleased to be joined by colleagues here today, Vice Chair Ted Lieu, DPCC Chair Joe Neguse and the Appropriations Vice Ranking Member Grace Meng. 

We are seven months into the House Republican majority, and week after week, Speaker McCarthy and Extreme MAGA Republicans have offered the American people nothing but chaos, conflict and confusion. This is partly because they have surrendered to the most extreme members of their conference. House Republicans have put Seniors on notice that they are coming hard for the benefits that you have earned. House Republicans have put Veterans on notice that they are coming for your health care. House Republicans have put women on notice, all over this country, that they will not stop until they get a national abortion ban. 

The message from House Democrats could not be more different: our economic agenda is working and the middle class is growing. Here to talk about that today is DPCC Chair Joe Neguse. And we’re also going to hear from Vice Ranking Member Grace Meng, on the Appropriations bills that could potentially come on the floor today or this week. But first, we’ll hear from Vice Chair Ted Lieu.

VICE CHAIR TED LIEU: Thank you, Chairman Aguilar. Democrats put People Over Politics and passed a number of laws last term to grow the economy. As a result, Morgan Stanley, a few days ago, recently credited Democrats and Joe Biden for having them now revise their GDP projections upwards four times. In addition, 800,000 manufacturing jobs have been created, and consumer confidence is now at its highest point in over two years. 

What are Republicans focused on? Banning abortions. And this week, they’re going to put on the floor a number of radical Appropriations bills that are going to cause a government shutdown because it breaks the deal that Speaker McCarthy and Joe Biden negotiated. If we continue to see this level of extremism from the Republican Caucus, then I think the American people are going to hold them accountable next year. 

Now, I have the great pleasure of introducing my colleague, the fabulous Member of Congress from Colorado who is the Chair of the Democratic Policy and Communications Committee, Joe Neguse

DPPC CHAIR NEGUSE: Thank you, first and foremost, to Vice Chair Lieu and to Chairman Aguilar for their leadership. I don't know that I can say it any better than Chairman Aguilar did – 200 days, it's a long time. That's how long House Republicans have been in control here in the United States Congress. 200 days. And during those 200 days, what have they done for the American people to improve the lives of the people that we collectively represent? Absolutely nothing. No bills on lowering health care costs, on addressing inflation, on growing the middle class, on raising wages, on school safety. None.

Instead, we're left with three hearings on gas stoves. A bill this week on the long-eared bat. The House Republicans' priorities are completely distorted from the needs of the American people. And of course, it's no surprise because as Chairman Aguilar said, the extreme wing of the House Republican Caucus has taken control here in Washington, DC. It is a shame. They said that they would strengthen America's economy and instead, they threatened the full faith and credit of the United States of America, during the manufactured default crisis. They said they would protect communities, and instead, they're now undermining our national security with dangerous bills that challenge and attack the freedoms of so many Americans. 

The American people expect us to do the people's business, and that's precisely what House Democrats did when we had the majority in the last Congress, with the leadership of President Biden. It's the work that we continue to do today to put People Over Politics, to lower costs,   to grow the middle class, to build safer communities. And that's precisely what we will spend the month of August during this critical work period. Communicating with our constituents, the work that we did on the PACT Act, and the importance of ensuring that veterans in our communities sign up for those lifesaving benefits. The work that we've done to grow the middle class, to eliminate junk fees and so much more. We will remain focused on the people's business because we put People Over Politics. We implore our Republican colleagues to start doing the same. With that, it gives me great privilege and honor to introduce our colleague from the great state of New York, the Vice Ranking Member of the Appropriations Committee who has served with distinction in Congress and in our Caucus, Grace Meng. 

APPROPRIATIONS VICE RANKING MEMBER MENG: Thank you, Chairman Aguilar, Vice Chair Lieu and our DPCC Chair Joe Neguse, for your tremendous leadership. I’m Congresswoman Grace Meng, and I'm the Vice Ranking Member of the House Appropriations Committee. I have had a front-row seat to the extremism that is driving dysfunction in our Appropriations Committee process. The proposed spending bills House Republicans published cut the agreed upon funding levels that were codified in the Fiscal Responsibility Act and were agreed upon between the Speaker and President Biden. 

Promises made, promises failed. These shameful bills would take more than 224,000 teachers from classrooms, reduce Headstart services for more than 50,000 American children, and deny job training and employment services for hundreds of thousands of American workers. Despite claims that Republicans support our veterans, their bill worsens the quality of life for servicemembers and their families, and hurts military readiness by cutting $1.5 billion in military construction. This bill is so draconian, it cuts fresh fruit and vegetable vouchers in the Women Infants and Children WIC program,  in addition to cutting WIC by $800 million. Extreme MAGA Republicans are taking food out of the mouths of the 5 million women and children who are enrolled in WIC. 

House Democrats, on the other hand, are fighting to ensure American families have the resources they need to not just survive, but to thrive. House Democrats are not going to go back on our word and we are not willing to risk the future of America by playing political games. 200 days later, House Republicans are cementing their legacy, their legacy of hurting our farmers and vets, stealing food from kids, eliminating access to clean water and destroying broadband will be the legacy of House Republicans. I yield back to Chairman Aguilar

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