March 01, 2023

Chairman Aguilar: The unity of purpose, the unity of strength that is the House Democratic Caucus will be on display

BALTIMORE, MD – Today, House Democratic Caucus Chair Pete Aguilar, Vice Chair Ted Lieu, Leader Hakeem Jeffries, Assistant Leader James E. Clyburn, DCCC Chair Suzan DelBene, DPCC Chair Joe Neguse and Congressman Kweisi Mfume held a press conference to open the House Democrats 2023 Issues Conference.

CHAIRMAN AGUILAR: Thank you, folks. Thank you so much for being here. I appreciate being joined by the members of the Democratic leadership team. Special thanks to Vice Chair Lieu, Leader Jeffries, Whip Clark and their teams for all of the work that they have done in helping get us here today. We appreciate the hospitality of Congressman Mfume, our host here in Charm City. We look forward to our time here in Baltimore. We have been in this beautiful city before and House Democrats look forward to talking about our agenda and talking about our focus moving forward here in Charm City. All of us share the same goal, and that is to safeguard the progress that we have made for the last two years and to make sure the Democrats take the House again in 2024. Our conference is going to be devoted to policy topics and an agenda that guides us in that direction. We look forward to hearing from the President, the Vice President, Senior Administration officials and Cabinet members who will be presenting to us about how we make continued progress and represent our communities. We look forward to working toward a shared progress of ensuring that Hakeem Jeffries is the next Speaker of the House, over these next few days, and more importantly, we're going to spend time with each other. The unity of purpose, the unity of strength, that is the House Democratic Caucus will be on display. We look forward to sharing time with our colleagues. And with that, I'll yield the Vice Chair Ted Lieu.

VICE CHAIR LIEU: Let me start by, first of all, thanking Chairman Pete Aguilar and the entire caucus staff for their tremendous hard work they put into this Issues Conference. The theme of this year's conference is People Over Politics, and that's exactly what Democrats did last term when we passed a number of laws to help the American family. We're going to be hearing from, as Pete said, the President, Vice President and a number of Administration officials, and how we implement and execute those laws. And we're very excited to hear from the Administration on how they're going to do that in coordination with House Democrats. At the same time, we'll be drawing a contrast with Republicans. So, where Republicans gain control, what's one of the first things they did they use? They used significant resources of their committee staff and the attention time of their Members to hold a congressional hearing about Twitter. So, that's a contrast we'll be drawing. And we'll also be making sure we can come together on an agenda that can continue moving the American family forward, and to stop stupid stuff from Republicans and make sure that we stop the national abortion ban from passing and make sure that we increase the debt limit so that our economy does not experience a significant negative shock. And the person who's gonna be leading us in all these efforts is the person we're going to hear from next the amazing Democratic Leader, Hakeem Jeffries. 

LEADER JEFFRIES: Good afternoon, everyone, and thank you to Chairman Pete Aguilar, Vice Chair Ted Lieu for your extraordinary leadership in bringing us all together, putting together a phenomenal Issues Conference. Democrats in the House are unified, focused, fired up and ready to go in terms of continuing to put People Over Politics. Over the last Congress, we were able to deliver significant victories for the American people, from rescuing the economy through the American Rescue Plan from a deep recession, to investing in our nation's crumbling infrastructure and creating millions of good-paying jobs, passing gun safety legislation for the first time in 30 years that will save lives, bringing domestic manufacturing jobs back home to the United States of America through the historic CHIPS and Science Act and by passing the Inflation Reduction Act to strike a dramatic blow against the climate crisis, stand up a clean energy economy, set our planet on a sustainable trajectory forward and strengthen the Affordable Care Act, lower health care costs and drive down the high price of lifesaving prescription drugs for millions of Americans. That's an agenda that put People Over Politics through tremendous leadership from President Biden, Speaker Pelosi, Leader Hoyer, Jim Clyburn, Democrats in the House and the Senate in partnership with Leader Schumer and Senate Democrats. It's an agenda that we will stand behind, continue to bring to life as we move it forward this year and throughout the balance of this Congress and also defend our democracy, fight for reproductive freedom and push back against the extreme MAGA Republican effort to devastate Social Security and Medicare. We're focused, we're unified, we're fired up and we're ready to go in putting People Over Politics. It's now my great honor to yield to the highly distinguished Democratic Whip Emeritus, as well as our Assistant Leader of the House Democratic Caucus, Jim Clyburn.

ASSISTANT SPEAKER CLYBURN: Thank you very much, Mr. Leader, Mr. Chair, Mr. Vice Chair of the senior leaders of our Caucus. I had breakfast this morning with a group of Rule Electric Cooperative people from across the country. And I was really amazed to hear some of the reaction from them and the anxieties they're feeling about the future of this great country. Most of us are aware of our nation's motto, E pluribus unum, out of many one. And that's what this retreat or conference or whatever we may be calling it today is all about -- it's gathering together, looking at this magnificent agenda that the Leader just told you about and what we can do to connect that agenda to the American people. I often say to my caucus, our main job is to explain to people exactly what our proposals will do for them, what they will do for their families and what they will do for the communities within which they live. And that's what this is all about. We had unexpected results last November because we put People Over Politics and explained time and time again exactly what we're doing. We're going to further that. And I am looking forward to saying “Mr. Speaker” and I'm looking forward to doing that after the next election. And with that, I'm pleased to yield to the Chair that's going to make all of that happen, Miss DelBene.

DCCC CHAIR DELBENE: No pressure. Thank you. It's great to be here. And it is so clear why we are united because we do put People Over Politics and Democrats are united in standing up for the American people. And we know to make sure that we can continue to not just talk about the future of our country, but actually implement the policies that make a difference that we need to take back that gavel. We made progress here recently with the historic election of Jennifer McClellan, our Congresswoman-elect. We're at 213, So five more to be in the majority and we are working hard to do that. The American people are with us. We have incredible momentum. We came off of the last election incredibly strong with momentum. And we are working hard to continue to make sure our message is heard by the American people, and that we hold Republicans accountable for their extreme agenda. We have 18 seats that Republicans are in that President Biden won in 2020, and so we have an incredible opportunity right there. We want to make sure that people see what the Republicans’ message is, which is extreme. It is not focused on the needs of the American people. So, we're going to hold them accountable. We're recruiting great candidates across the country. We're going to defend our incredible members and take back the majority so that we have Speaker Hakeem Jeffries. And with that, I want to thank our host for welcoming all of us here and turn over to Congressman Mfume. 

CONGRESSMAN MFUME: Thank you very much. There's an old adage that says that everything that can be said has been said it's just that everybody has not said it. So, bear with me for a few minutes of deliberate redundancy. I can't thank enough our Leader Hakeem Jeffries, for the vision and the leadership and the unity that he has forged in our party. He along with Chair Aguilar, Vice Chair Lieu, Assistant Leader Clyburn and Susan, and everybody else that's a part of this team have worked so hard to make sure that it is in fact a team. And so our job is to make sure now that we take a very basic and simple message back out to the American people. Whether economic, social, institutional or systemic, the Democratic Party has plans, we have objectives and we have things that are in plain English designed to help everyday hardworking Americans better their lives. It's a party of patriotism, a party of patriots and a party with purpose. And unlike some of our colleagues on the other side, that are content on holding one hearing after another to deal with issues that are four, five or 10 years of age, we are moving to get things done. Which is why as you heard earlier, there was such a move toward the end of the election to this party from people who predicted our demise and said we were gonna lose 30 and 40 seats that didn't happen, and it won't happen two years from now, because of this wonderful team. I can't tell you how much I'm happy that this is taking place here in Baltimore. We welcome all of you here. We're delighted to have you here. I know the Mayor and the Governor will echo those remarks later. But like was said earlier, I just cannot wait for the day, not long from now, when all of us utter the words Speaker Hakeem Jeffries. So thank you, ladies and gentlemen. I'm done. But I do want to bring back our distinguished Chair Pete Aguilar, who has a few more things to say himself. Thank you.