November 29, 2023

Chairman Aguilar: Welcome back to the least productive Congress in more than 90 years

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 Co-Chairs Veronica Escobar, Lori Trahan and Lauren Underwood on Extreme MAGA Republicans’ historic, unproductive Congress.

CHAIRMAN AGUILAR: Good morning. Before we begin, the Democratic Caucus had a successful election for the position of Co-Chair of the Democratic Policy and Communications Committee, and we’re excited to be joined today by Representative Lori Trahan and the full complement of the DPCC today. 

Welcome back. Just a reminder, these visuals are, again, a reminder of the least productive Congress in more than 90 years. Don’t take our word for it. One Republican said on the House Floor that he couldn’t name, “One meaningful, significant thing the Republican Majority has done.” This is a historic amount of dysfunction, and this is what happens when Extreme MAGA Republicans dictate the agenda.

Republicans have tried to criminalize abortion and slash Social Security and Medicare at every turn. And now Donald Trump, the leader of their party, is gearing up for yet another attempt to repeal the Affordable Care Act. We’re talking about kicking 40 million Americans off of their health care and denying coverage for 135 million Americans with pre-existing conditions. 

When the House Democrats held the majority, we strengthened the Affordable Care Act. We passed the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, the Bipartisan Chips and Science Act and the Inflation Reduction Act. These laws are creating good-paying jobs, lowering energy costs and making schools safer in our communities across the country. 

It’s not too late for Republicans, as we have said time and time again, to extend an arm and to work in a bipartisan way with Democrats to help everyday Americans. Vice Chair Ted Lieu.

VICE CHAIR LIEU: Thank you, Chairman Aguilar. When we come back next week in December, there's only going to be two legislative weeks left, and then we go on holiday break, and then in January, we face a government shutdown. 

So, what are Republicans having us do this week? Are we voting on any appropriations bills? No. 

They’ve seemed to have largely given up on trying to pass appropriations bills with their own votes. Instead, they’re focused on impeachment. While Democrats put People Over Politics, and we're trying to lower costs, create safer communities and create more jobs, Republicans are focused on impeachment. How does that help the American family? It doesn’t. 

As Chairman Aguilar said, we do have some good news, though, on the Democratic Caucus side. We are thrilled that our Caucus elected Lori Trahan to the DPCC. I served for two terms on the DPCC, and she is going to be an amazing member. She came from a working-class family. Her grandparents immigrated to America to seek the American Dream. Her dad worked as a union ironworker, long hours. Her mom worked part-time jobs, cared for three sisters. And now Lori is the first Portuguese American female in Congress and a member of House leadership. That is what Democrats are, and that's what we do. We try to help the American people. We try to help people achieve the American Dream. With that, it’s my honor to introduce our fabulous Chair of the DPCC, Joe Neguse. 

CHAIR NEGUSE: Thank you, Vice Chairman Lieu and Chairman Aguilar. As the Vice Chair noted, sadly, another week of Republican dysfunction here in Washington, DC. But on a brighter note, as he also noted, we are so excited to welcome our friend and colleague and my classmate, Congresswoman Lori Trahan as the newest Co-Chair of the DPCC. 

As you all know, the DPCC is here to deliver a unified message for House Democrats to demonstrate our commitment to putting People Over Politics and lowering costs for working families. And Lori knows exactly what it means to fight for working families. As the Vice Chair mentioned, she is the daughter of a union ironworker. Her mother juggled part-time jobs while raising her and her siblings. She waited tables at a diner in her hometown and delivered papers. She was the first person in her family to graduate from college, and she has had such an impressive career across the public and private sectors. From the neighborhoods of Lowell to the Halls of Congress, Massachusetts has a champion in Congresswoman Lori Trahan, and so do we, as the House Democratic Caucus and the DPCC. So, we're excited to welcome her to our cause. 

While we stand here united as always and ready to deliver for the American people, Extreme MAGA Republicans continue to waste time with petty political games. They simply cannot govern responsibly or in the best interests of everyday Americans. And that difference that contrast, certainly couldn't be any clearer. And it is why it is, as I’ve communicated to Lori, that certainly makes our job a whole lot easier, but nonetheless, we’ll continue to underscore that contrast, which is so important to the American people, and our work will continue. So, with that, it gives me great pleasure to introduce our newest DPCC Co-Chair, Congresswoman Trahan. 

CO-CHAIR TRAHAN: Good morning, and thank you, Joe Neguse. It's such an honor to be here with Chair Aguilar, Vice Chair Lieu and my colleagues on the DPCC. I’d just like to start by commending Congressman Crow on running a very strong campaign. Our Caucus benefits mightily from his incredible contributions and his experience, and we're better off because of him. I’m fortunate to call him a friend and a classmate, and I plan to lean on his expertise in this new role. 

More than anything, I'm humbled by the trust that my colleagues have placed in me to help lead the House Policy Communications Committee. You know, I ran for this position because I want to do everything in my power to defeat Republican extremism, retake the House and return the American people to the center of everything that we do. We have a remarkable story to tell in between now and the next election, and we have a Caucus full of incredible messengers already working to make sure that hardworking families across the nation hear it. So, I look forward to working with Chairman Neguse, Co-Chairs Escobar and Underwood, as well as the entire Democratic leadership team to support our Members as we continue to march to the majority. 

CO-CHAIR ESCOBAR: Good morning, everyone. Buenos dias. I want to congratulate our wonderful colleague, Lori Trahan, for her victory and thank her and express my gratitude for her willingness to step up and help lead House Democrats. 

As both our Caucus Chairman and our DPCC Chair have mentioned, Republicans are doing a great job of doing our work for us on the DPCC. They have articulated over and over again to the American people that they cannot govern, they don't have winning issues, and they don't know how to lead. And our job as members of the Democratic Policy and Communications Committee is to ensure that the American public understands just how dangerous and reckless the MAGA Extremists in our House of Representatives are. And the fact that, while we seek to improve the lives of everyday Americans, make sure that we uplift our families and expand the middle class, they are focused on infighting and on attacking our very institutions. And we will, with Lori's help, continue to point that out every step of the way so that the American people are well aware of the risks that continue when MAGA Extremists are in charge. 

CO-CHAIR UNDERWOOD: Good morning. I'd like to begin by offering my congratulations to my colleague and friend Congresswoman Lori Trahan for her election to the Democratic Policy and Communications Committee. Lori’s a friend and she has a proven track record of excellence when it comes to clearly communicating our values. So happy to have her on board. 

And it couldn't come at a better time. As this Extreme MAGA Republican Majority continues to hold our important work hostage with their chaos and dysfunction, it’s never been more important for House Democrats to be clear in our conversations with the American people about our work to improve everyday lives for working families. We remain focused on lowering the cost of living, on expanding the middle class and on protecting our freedoms. You will see this on display once again as we work to fully fund our government ahead of the deadline in January. House Democrats will not stand for cuts to critical services that our communities are counting on. We will continue fighting to protect access to abortion and to protect LGBTQ+ people from discrimination. 

We will also keep working to protect and expand access to health care. I'll pause there to emphasize, for anyone that happens to be watching, that we have defeated 60 attempts to repeal and undercut the Affordable Care Act. More than 40 million Americans have coverage thanks to the ACA. So, let me tell Republicans in Congress, you are not taking away our health care. And that's to President Trump too. 

And one more thing, we will not allow the cuts of Social Security and Medicare that this extreme MAGA Majority is pushing for. Our values are clear, and we remain focused on delivering for working families. Congratulations again to Congresswoman Lori Trahan and we are excited to get to work. Thank you. And happy to yield back to the Chairman. Thank you. 

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