September 22, 2020


WASHINGTON – This week, House Democratic Caucus Chairman Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) and Vice Chair Katherine Clark (D-MA) held a House Democratic Leadership press conference, where they paid tribute to Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s monumental legacy and denounced Republican refusal to help the millions of American families suffering from the COVID-19 pandemic.

CHAIRMAN JEFFRIES: Earlier today, we had a Caucus call, which began with a special tribute to the life and the legacy of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. A tragic loss for the country, a tragic loss for the Supreme Court, a tragic loss for the principles of liberty and justice for all as well as democracy. We heard from Dr. Jane De Hart, who is a biographer, having written the authoritative piece on Justice Ginsburg's life in 2018, as well as Linda Greenhouse, who, of course, is a Pulitzer Prize winning journalist who has covered the Supreme Court for over 30 years.

This has been a very difficult year for many throughout America in a time where leadership is desperately needed. We remain in the midst of a deadly pandemic. 200,000 or so Americans dead. More than six million Americans infected by the coronavirus. Over 100,000 small businesses have permanently closed. Tens of millions of Americans remain unemployed. And yet Donald Trump and the Senate continue to do nothing about it. It's cruel, callous and cold-hearted.

But what else have we come to expect from Trump, McConnell and the boys?

And in the midst of all of this, before the country has even had an opportunity to appropriately mourn Justice Ginsburg and send her off, they are already trying to jam a right wing conservative judge down the throats of the American people as part of a scheme to take away the health care of millions of Americans. That's what they want to do. We know it because they've been trying to do it for 10 years. They don't have an alternative to the Affordable Care Act.

They're in court right now trying to declare it unconstitutional and they want to put a justice on the Supreme Court who will strip away the protections that millions of Americans, over a hundred million Americans with preexisting conditions currently have under law, with millions more now having a number of preexisting conditions because of the coronavirus infection in part, because the president's response has been an unmitigated disaster.

And so this has been a challenging year. It continues to get more challenging. But House Democrats are prepared to rise to the occasion. At some point in the next day or two, we expect that there will be a Continuing Resolution on the floor that will continue the current spending agreement until December. It's my hope that that Continuing Resolution will be bipartisan in nature. That remains to be seen at the moment. 


VICE CHAIR CLARK: Justice Ginsburg faced and overcame discrimination and then made the fight to end inequality her life's work. Her distinguished twenty-seven-year career on the Supreme Court was defined by a simple intrinsic truth: women and men are equal. And with this as her North Star, she changed America and guided our progress to become a more perfect union. Generations of people have been liberated by her work and inspired by her tenacity and intellect. And she redefined workplace rights, reproductive rights, LGBTQ rights and health care access.

She understood that women's rights are not just a gender issue, but a civil rights issue that affects all of us. That equality for all Americans made our nation stronger and without this commitment to justice for all, we are not living up to our Constitution and our founding principles. So it's in her honor that we will, as the House Democrats, keep marching down the path of justice. She taught us the power of dissent and dissent we do to the continuing callous disregard for Americans who are afraid for their lives and their livelihoods during this pandemic.

The House did its job. We passed a comprehensive on time budget, and we will prevent a shutdown by passing a Continuing Resolution to keep the government open. House Democrats are going to continue to fight for a relief package that supports moms without childcare, families without food and workers without hope. And what is clearer than ever is what matters most to Donald Trump and Mitch McConnell and as our Chairman put it, the boys, is power, not saving lives or jobs, not preventing millions of Americans from spilling into homelessness, not defending our Constitution. So as we are facing two heartbreaks this week, losing 200,000 American lives to COVID-19 and the loss of Justice Ginsburg, our commitment to the American people is unwavering. We will continue this fight For The People.


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