CHAIRMAN JEFFRIES: “IT’S TIME FOR RIP VAN WINKLE AND THE SENATE REPUBLICANS TO WAKE UP AND DO THEIR JOB.”
WASHINGTON - 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. They were joined by Rep. Steven Horsford (D-NV) for a discussion on House Democrats’ work to drive down the high cost of life-saving prescription drugs.
CHAIRMAN JEFFRIES: Today we will continue our effort to move on an active agenda consistent with what House Democrats have promised the American people. We will pass the Dream and Promise Act on the House floor later on today and begin to address our broken immigration system in a manner consistent with where an overwhelming majority of the American people want the Congress to be. This is to make sure that we can create a robust pathway for citizenship for the Dreamers of this country who are Americans in every way with the exception of the papers that we intend to make sure they can work toward obtaining.
House Democrats have been legislating throughout the first several months of our majority on the issues that are important to the American people beginning with health care. Public sentiment is clear all across the country. In the inner city and suburban America and in rural America, health care costs are too high. Prescription drug prices, too high. Copays, too high. Premiums, too high. Deductibles, too high. The American people clearly want Congress to do something about it. We've already moved legislation out of the House to strengthen the Affordable Care Act, protect people with pre-existing conditions and begin to address the high price of lifesaving prescription drugs. And this month we will continue along that effort. […] We want to get things done. This is a divided government context. We need partners in this effort. We're prepared to find common ground. We hope that the Senate Republicans and the White House are prepared to do the same with that.
VICE CHAIR CLARK: […] So what have we been doing in the last six months in the House as a Democratic Caucus? We have been protecting equality. Protecting families. Today we are going to be protecting the dream by passing the Dream and Promise Act and we've been protecting our planet. These bills, the Equality Act and the Climate Action Now Act, the two common sense gun violence protection bills that we passed and today's Dream and Promise Act are all waiting for Senate action. We are waiting for the Senate to say they hear the American people, they see the American people and they want to work on providing their needs and bring their needs on the front burner in the Senate.
Unfortunately, we are not seeing any movement on these bills and with the Virginia Beach mass shooting, which we are heartbroken about, we passed another milestone. Virginia Beach was the hundredth mass shooting in 2019. Let that sink in. The hundredth mass shooting and since then, this weekend, 52 people were shot in the city of Chicago. 52 Americans. We have to do better than this. It is long past time. It is over a hundred days that those two gun violence bills have been waiting for Senate action. We can do something. This is not a problem that is unsolvable. It is not a problem that is out of our hands.
REP. HORSFORD: […] I am so proud to be part of the House Democratic Caucus fighting For The People and the agenda that we have set forth, which includes one of the major issues dealing with driving down the high cost of prescription medications.
Later today, the Chairman will be leading a roundtable on this topic with experts, with individuals who are directly impacted and those of us who have been working on legislation. I'm proud to have sponsored the SPIKE Act, which passed out of the Ways and Means Committee unanimously with Chairman Neal’s Prescription Drug STAR Act, which specifically holds drug manufacturers accountable for disclosing when they increase their cost, why they increase their cost and to make that process more transparent.
Last week I was in my district. We had a number of town halls, but one of them was with a group of seniors and those seniors are very concerned. They simply cannot keep up with the cost of living when their co-pays are increasing, premium costs are increasing, their costs for medications are increasing and yet they are living on the same wages from Social Security and their benefits from Medicare. And that's why they want us to protect Medicare and Social Security, but also pass legislation to address the high cost of drug medications. This was the number one issue in my district and it's an issue that I committed to address when I came to Congress.
CHAIRMAN JEFFRIES: […] The Ways and Means Committee is acting. The Energy and Commerce Committee is acting. The Oversight Committee is acting. The House Judiciary Committee, acting. House Democrats have acted on the issue of lowering health care costs, protecting people with pre-existing conditions and strengthening the Affordable Care Act on the floor of the House of Representatives. It is time for Rip Van Winkle and the Senate Republicans to wake up from their legislative slumber and do their job. That's a simple request that House Democrats are making. We will continue to make that case to the American people.
Video of the full press conference and Q&A can be viewed here.
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