October 29, 2019


WASHINGTON – This week, 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 outlined Democrats’ signature health care bill, The Lower Drug Costs Now Act, which will save American taxpayers roughly $345 billion dollars and drive down the skyrocketing prices of prescription drugs. Additionally, they emphasized holding the president accountable and ensuring that no one is above the law.

CHAIRMAN JEFFRIES: This week, House Democrats will continue our effort to lower health care costs on behalf of the American people with a focus on driving down the high cost of lifesaving prescription drugs. We continue to move forward with the effort around H.R. 3, which has been appropriately renamed in honor of Elijah Eugene Cummings. This was one of the issues that was of utmost importance to Chairman Cummings and the people that he was so privileged to represent and did in such a phenomenal way over twenty three years here in the United States House of Representatives, and we will advance that bill at the appropriate time to drive down the high cost of lifesaving prescription drugs. 

It's unacceptable and everyday Americans understand this, that they are paying sometimes five or six times as much for the same drug manufactured in the same location as people in other developed nations like Canada, Great Britain, France, Germany or Australia. Our legislation, in honor of Elijah Cummings, will drive down the high costs of medication by giving the federal government the power to negotiate lower drug prices on behalf of the American people by using its bulk price purchasing power. And we are as committed as ever to making sure we deal with that issue and protect people with pre-existing conditions, strengthen the Affordable Care Act and lower the costs of premiums, co-pays and deductibles. At the same time, we will continue our efforts to hold this president accountable for the conduct that has taken place in connection with the Trump-Ukraine scandal. We will follow the facts. We will apply the law. We'll be guided by the United States Constitution. We will present the truth to the American people operating under the principle that no one is above the law, not even the president of the United States of America.


VICE CHAIR CLARK: This week, the House will continue our work For The People. Today, we're going to vote to recognize the Armenian genocide. We are also going to vote on three bills to protect and conserve over 1.5 million acres of public lands, preserving cultural sites and protecting wildlife, wilderness and waterways from oil and gas development. As the Chairman said, we are going to be building on our commitment to lower prescription drug costs and we will vote on legislation to increase transparency in negotiations between pharmacy benefit managers and drug manufacturers, health insurers, pharmacies and consumers. Additionally, we will take steps to tackle the public health crisis facing many people, but especially young people in America by passing legislation to require in-person age verification upon the delivery of online purchases of e-cigarette and vapor products. The changes that we are voting on this week will ultimately make health care costs more affordable for American families, and we are legislating as well as investigating. The question remains, as we move forward with the impeachment inquiry, who do our colleagues on the other side of the aisle work for: Donald Trump or the American?


CHAIRMAN JEFFRIES: Corey Lewandowski showed up on Capitol Hill and embarrassed himself because his only mission was to perform for his puppet master sitting at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. We are now in the middle of a serious and solemn impeachment inquiry that strikes at the heart of our democracy because of the abuse of power that Donald Trump has engaged in. We will make sure that we keep the focus on the undermining of our national security, the integrity of our elections and the betrayal that Donald Trump engaged in, in terms of the Constitution, his oath and the American people.

Let me be clear. The timeline of events speaks for itself. Congress, on a bipartisan basis, allocated $391 million in military and economic aid to Ukraine. Ukraine is a friend. Russia is a foe. Ukraine is a democracy. Russia is a dictatorship. The United States is the only thing standing, perhaps, between Vladimir Putin and Russia completely overrunning Ukraine as part of his fantasy to recreate the golden era in his view of the Soviet Union. That is the stakes. That’s why Congress, in a bipartisan way, allocated $391 million to Ukraine because it is in the national security interest of the United States of America.

In February of this year, the administration wrote to Congress and said the aid is on the way, but it never arrived. And then in May, the Department of Defense wrote to Congress again and said the aid is on the way and all necessary preconditions had been met by the new Ukrainian government, including the implementation of anti-corruption protocols. That was the conclusion of the Trump Department of Defense, yet the aid never arrived.

Twice during the summer, Mitch McConnell called the administration and asked what happened to the $391 million allocated by Congress to Ukraine on a bipartisan basis. According to the information that is in the public domain, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell couldn’t get a good answer from the administration as to what happened to the aid.

Then, on July 25, Donald Trump pressures the president of Ukraine to target Joe Biden, an American citizen, for political gain and thereby solicits foreign interference in the 2020 election. We have a rough transcript and a readout of the call and Donald Trump’s own words, “Do us a favor, though,” five words that will live in infamy in the context of the constitutional crisis that we’re dealing with right now.

As a result of this pressure campaign, the president of Ukraine appears to relent and then all of the sudden, thereafter, the aid is finally released.

That is what happened here. That is why we are investigating. And no matter what effort my Republican colleagues try to engage in to create a circus-like atmosphere, they will not succeed.

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