September 21, 2021


WASHINGTON, DC – Today, House Democratic Caucus Chairman Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) and Vice Chair Pete Aguilar (D-CA) held a leadership press conference where they highlighted House Democrats’ commitment to Building Back Better by creating millions of good-paying jobs, cutting taxes and lowering costs for working families across the country. 

CHAIRMAN JEFFRIES: It was a very active Caucus meeting, as you can imagine, with a lot of priorities that are in front of us to undertake on behalf of the American people. We are, of course, committed to getting over the finish line President Biden's Build Back Better agenda, which involves both a bipartisan infrastructure agreement so we can fix our crumbling bridges, roads, tunnels, airports, mass transportation system and also invest in making sure that every single American has access to high-speed internet, particularly as we've seen during COVID, because of the need to be able to work online or be educated online, receive health care online, communicate with your families and loved ones online.

We have the bipartisan infrastructure agreement moving on a parallel track with the Build Back Better Act which we are committed to getting done in the next few weeks. Why? Because President Biden promised that we were not going back to pre-pandemic normal, we were going to Build Back Better. Because prior to the pandemic, so many everyday Americans were struggling. Half the American people reported that they couldn't afford a sudden, unexpected $400 expense. In America? The wealthiest country in the history of the world?

So, the President laid out a clear agenda related to the Jobs Plan, the Families Plan, that's coming together in the context of the Build Back Better Act. Creating millions of good-paying jobs, cutting taxes for working families and middle-class families through the Child Tax Credit and making historic investments in home care, in health care, in child care, in elder care, in the caring economy so we can lower health care costs for everyday Americans, lower child care costs for everyday Americans and lower the cost of housing for everyday Americans by making historic investments at the federal level and the creation and preservation of affordable housing. 

We also, of course, will pass the National Defense Authorization Act to make sure that we fully fund the men and women who are serving in our military and can keep America safe in an increasingly dangerous world. Later on this week, we will pass legislation sponsored by Judy Chu, the Women's Health Protection Act, to make it clear that women across America should have the freedom to make their own reproductive health care decisions. They shouldn't be determined by a bunch of yahoos in Texas and a negligent Supreme Court.

Then finally, we will move forward with legislation being carried by Chairwoman Rosa DeLauro to make sure that we fully fund the government, avoid a reckless shutdown, provide for the health, the safety and the well-being of the American people by providing for public education, public health, public transportation, public housing and public works projects, all of which are funded by the Congress.

In that legislation, we will also address the emergency needs that have resulted from the extreme weather events that we have seen all across the country, most recently as a result of the devastation brought by Hurricane Ida, and we will make sure that the full faith and credit of the United States of America is protected and preserved. The House will not allow the United States government to default on its obligations for the first time in American history. It is our hope that Senate Republicans will also do the right thing and stop playing politics around the debt limit.


VICE CHAIR AGUILAR: As we talked about in our Caucus meeting, this last work period, House Democrats were busy spending time at home talking about the importance of the President's Build Back Better agenda. It's when we have those conversations that we're reminded of the importance of the middle class and the middle-class tax cut that Democrats passed this year and the positive changes that it made to communities back home.

This week, as the Chairman mentioned, we're going to be taking up the Women's Health Protection Act so women can have the freedom to access the care that they need. As we've also said, the NDAA will take critical steps under Chairman Smith's leadership to reduce domestic extremism, to address sexual assault in the military and those are key priorities of the Caucus and key priorities that we're discussing within the committee.

I'm proud of the way that our colleagues continue to work to craft these bills as we take them to the House floor, to address the key priorities that we face within the Caucus and within the country.


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