April 30, 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 outlined the Democratic agenda to drive down the cost of sky-high prescription drugs and hatch a national infrastructure plan that would create 16 million good-paying jobs.

CHAIRMAN JEFFRIES: […] This week we're going to continue to advance the issues that we know are important to the American people with a focus on driving down the high cost of lifesaving prescription drugs.

Later on today at the Judiciary Committee, there will be three bills that will be marked up, all focused on making sure that we can reduce the high price of the medicine that millions of Americans rely upon in order to live with the decency and the dignity that they deserve. This is the wealthiest country in the history of the world. No American should ever have to choose between putting food on the table, paying the rent or mortgage or getting access to the lifesaving prescription drugs that they need. Period. Full stop. And that's what we're going to continue to work on. 

Later today, the House Judiciary Committee will move the CREATES Act, which relates to facilitating the opportunity for generic drugs at lower costs with the same medicinal impact being brought to the market. We're going to move the Stop Stalling Act, which addresses one of the anti-competitive practices of Big Pharma as it relates to citizen petition abuse before the FDA, and we're going to move legislation designed to address "pay-for-delay" where prescription drug companies actually will pay generic companies so that the brand name drug can continue to be the only one on the market. It's an outrageous practice that many Americans are unaware of, but they are aware of the fact that we pay more for lifesaving prescription drugs here in America than any other developed country in the world including the country immediately to our north, Canada. No basis for that that makes any rational sense, but we're going to continue to advance our For The People agenda. And as you know, that involves lowering health care costs. That involves bringing our democracy to life - we passed H.R.1. That also involves infrastructure. 


VICE CHAIR CLARK:  This week, in addition to tackling prescription drug costs, we are going to be advancing our bold infrastructure package. We know that infrastructure is the foundation of our economy. It is also one of the pillars of our For The People agenda, which is all about putting those needs of families at home back on the front burner here in Congress.

It will be a huge source of jobs. 16 million good-paying jobs is our goal, and it will be a source of investment in our communities. […] We are here to be bold, to have an infrastructure package that will be a game changer for the American people. And that's why our vision goes beyond roads and bridges and includes broadband, water infrastructure, energy, schools, housing and climate resiliency. […] And the package, first and foremost, needs to include substantial, new and real revenue. This is what the speaker put in her letter to the president.

[…] Secondly, we're going to advance a package that includes American workers, whether it's Buy America, supporting our friends in labor, making sure that women, veterans and minority-owned businesses are at the table. And that this bill is bipartisan. […] We are looking forward to working across the aisle and to putting Americans and our workers into action. 

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