CHAIRMAN JEFFRIES: “A SHREDDER WASN’T AVAILABLE AND SO SHE DID WHAT SHE NEEDED TO DO”
WASHINGTON – This week, Caucus Chairman Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) and Vice Chair Katherine Clark (D-MA) held the House Democratic leadership’s weekly press conference, where they called on President Trump to demand Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell hold a vote on the 400 bills, 275 of which are bipartisan, passed by House Democrats, including the Lower Drug Costs Now Act.
CHAIRMAN JEFFRIES: We had a very lively discussion within the Caucus about continuing House Democratic Caucus priorities this week on the floor. There will be legislation to advance the issue of helping out our fellow citizens in Puerto Rico with supplemental assistance, given the continuing trauma that they are experiencing, both in the aftermath of the hurricanes and most recently, the earthquakes that have afflicted the island. We expect that that legislation will be on the floor on Friday, led by Chairwoman Nita Lowey, and we greatly appreciate the advocacy of Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez.
We will also have legislation on the floor connected to promoting the right to organize that will be put forth by Chairman Bobby Scott and the Education and Labor Committee. We know that organized labor, working families, hardworking Americans, middle class folks, have been under assault in this country led by Donald Trump. He is not a blue-collar president. He is doing all that he can to undermine blue-collar America and we're going to do all that we can to make sure that everyday Americans, that working Americans and organized labor, which is a pathway into the middle class, can thrive in America, not notwithstanding the efforts by this president to decimate them.
We also are going to continue to work hard on our top priority, which is to lower health care costs for everyday Americans. The president suggested that he has an interest in trying to drive down the high price of life-saving prescription drugs. The House has already acted with respect to this issue. We passed legislation to bring down the high price of lifesaving prescription drugs; passed legislation that would give federal government the power to negotiate lower drug prices on behalf of everyday Americans; passed legislation so that the price that the American people pay is more in line with the low prices that people in other developed countries throughout the world pay, including Canada, and Australia, and Germany, and France and Great Britain, to name just a few countries.
So we've had more than 400 bills that have been sent over to the Senate over the last year and change. 275 of those bills have been bipartisan in nature. We're going to continue to advance our For The People agenda, make life better for working families, middle-class folks, senior citizens, the poor, the sick, the afflicted, the least, the lost and the left behind. That has been our top priority. That is our top priority. That will continue to be our top priority.
VICE CHAIR CLARK: Thank you and good morning, everyone. I want to begin by thanking Chairman Jeffries and all of our impeachment managers for their exceptional work in the Senate these past few weeks. Their role in defending our democracy and honoring the truth and their oath of office has made the American people and certainly the entire Caucus very proud. History will honor you, Hakeem, will honor the managers and will honor the truth that you have put forth.
Speaking of the truth, last night we heard a lot from the president and most of it was fiction. So, let's begin to set the record straight. If Donald Trump cares about protecting people with pre-existing conditions, why is he in court trying to take away their health care coverage? If Donald Trump cares about the environment and planting trees, why is he taking a sledgehammer to the EPA and failing to address climate change with the urgency it requires? If Donald Trump cares about lowering the cost of prescription drug prices, why isn't he calling on Mitch McConnell to pass H.R. 3, legislation that would do just that, that the House has already sent to the Senate?
He says he will protect Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security. Yet in his 2020 budget, he cut those very programs, broke his promise he made in the campaign and revealed his statements last night as a lie. If Donald Trump cares about our economy, I suggest he take up the Paycheck Fairness Act to close the gender pay gap currently holding back women and an economy that is inclusive of everyone. If Donald Trump cares about public education, why is he gutting civil right protections for students?
Last night I heard hypocrisy, not solutions, not even reality. We know Donald Trump's record. He has run from the gun violence epidemic and hid behind the NRA. He has dismissed climate change and threatened global allegiances. He has demonized and demoralized hard-working immigrant families. He doesn't welcome law abiding refugees, as he said last night. He puts children in cages and he's solicited foreign interference into our elections for his own personal gain. The state of the White House and this administration is in chaos. House Democrats are proud to stand up for the American people and for the truth in the face of the misinformation and lies that were told to them last night.
REPORTER: Wanted to get your reaction to the Speaker tearing up her speech last night and whether you guys thought that was out of character for her?
CHAIRMAN JEFFRIES: As far as I'm concerned, a shredder wasn't available, and so she did what she needed to do.
Video of the full press conference and Q&A can be viewed here.