September 11, 2019


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 called on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to finally bring commonsense gun safety reform to a floor vote.

CHAIRMAN JEFFRIES: On a day like this, September 11th, of course we remember the great tragedy of that day. Many of us will always remember where we were when the news broke that the towers had been struck and then, of course, it became clear that it was a terrorist attack and seeing the image of that first tower falling is indelibly burned into my memory, as I'm sure it is every single American who witnessed that. And so we remain committed to protecting the homeland. 


As we're back here in Washington D.C., we are committed to getting things done. We want to drive down the high costs of lifesaving prescription drugs for everyday Americans. We want to enact a real infrastructure plan that fixes our crumbling bridges, roads, tunnels, airports, public housing developments, mass transportation systems. And we want to deal with the gun violence epidemic in America.

Every day innocent Americans are being massacred. They are dying on our streets. Not in Kabul. Not in Baghdad. But in Dayton, in El Paso, in Brooklyn, in Chicago, in South Central Los Angeles. At the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh. At a church in Charleston, South Carolina.


It's time for Mitch McConnell and Senate Republicans to act. We've done our job in the House of Representatives to get things started. Passed universal criminal background check legislation in a bipartisan way. Sent it over to the Senate in February. And the Senate Republicans can't see fit to move on legislation that 90 percent of the American people support, when innocent Americans are being massacred on our streets?


VICE CHAIR KATHERINE CLARK: Thank you for your eloquent comments as always on 9/11, this solemn day that we commemorated this morning with a moment of silence on the Capitol steps. And as we think about 9/11 and those first responders, as the Chairman mentioned, and our gratitude towards them, it does make me think of the recess that we just had where we lost 53 American lives in mass shootings just over the month of August.


It has been almost 200 days since we passed universal background checks and closing the loophole that allowed the shooter to get a gun in Charleston and carry out those massacres during a time of worship. 200 days and Mitch McConnell, instead of coming back in August and holding a vote, continues to stonewall – to make sure that he is hiding behind a president who is hiding behind the NRA. We can do better and the American people are demanding it. We are not going to let up the pressure that we have a public health crisis that has an answer.


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