June 19, 2019


WASHINGTON - House Democratic Caucus Chair Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) and Caucus Vice Chair Katherine Clark (D-MA) held the House Democratic leadership’s weekly press conference where they highlighted House Democrats’ health care weekend of action. From June 14 - 17, 140 Democratic Members of Congress held local events across the nation to demand the GOP-led Senate act on the 10 health care bills passed by the House and to bring attention to House Democrats’ continued fight for quality, affordable care for all Americans.

CHAIRMAN JEFFRIES: We're pleased to be back in Congress after spending the weekend focused on health care for everyday Americans. Speaker Pelosi had asked the Members of the House Democratic Caucus to go back home to talk to our constituents all across the country about the critical issue of lowering health care costs on behalf of the American people and our desire to protect people with pre-existing conditions. We know that there are more than one hundred million Americans who fall into the category of having a pre-existing condition or are at risk of their health care protections being stripped away by the president and his actions and his efforts to declare the Affordable Care Act unconstitutional. We of course want to continue to focus as well on lowering the high cost of life-saving prescription drugs. America is the wealthiest country in the history of the world. We believe that no single American should ever have to choose between putting food on the table, paying their mortgage or getting access to the lifesaving medication that they need. Far too many Americans find themselves caught up in that vexing situation. 

Throughout the weekend more than 140 Members held events in every region of the country. Every ideological caucus is represented in that number in terms of the events that took place, and it's the beginning of a conversation that we want to have with the American people as we prepare to further communicate with them over the next few weeks into the August recess. It's clear to House Democrats that health care costs remain the top priority of the American people. We were sent to Washington to work on that issue. We plan on getting something done. 

We also noticed that down in Orlando of course many different things were said, but even the president acknowledged, briefly, that he had a desire to work with House Democrats to try to get something done on lowering the high cost of prescription drugs. […] The president also mentioned that perhaps he's gotten over his temper tantrum that he held at the White House the last time he met with Speaker Pelosi and Leader Schumer and may be interested in revisiting doing something about our infrastructure situation in America. Our bridges, roads, tunnels, airports, water and sewage systems, mass transit systems are crumbling. That's not a Democratic problem or a Republican problem. It's an American problem, and we should be working together to fix it. Democrats have a plan. We think that if we spend at least a trillion dollars, we can create 16 million good paying jobs and we want to work with the other side of the aisle, the president and the Senate to get it done.


VICE CHAIR CLARK: As the chairman talked about, there were some reasons for optimism around the prescription drug comments that the president made. I also think that it is discouraging that after our health care weekend of action, the president's response is 'I will be putting together a new health care plan that I will roll out.' And Mitch McConnell saying that it would have to be one that perhaps couldn't be done in this Congress because we know what that means. We've seen what this president considers a health care plan for Americans and it entails rolling back pre-existing conditions. […] When this president's action is to join a lawsuit to repeal the ACA, I think we all should be very nervous when he talks about putting together another health care plan that he could support. […] We are eager to move forward with these bills and all the bills that are ending up in Mitch McConnell's graveyard because we have a different vision and we have a vision for the American people. It isn't just about process and bills. It's how we build a future that puts families in our districts back first in the priorities here in Congress.

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