December 22, 2021


NEW YORK – In case you missed it, Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (NY-08), Chairman of the House Democratic Caucus, appeared on CNN’s The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer to outline the critical need to get President Biden's Build Back Better Act across the finish line and deliver on behalf of everyday Americans.

BLITZER: As you heard, President Biden says he and Senator Manchin can get something done. If that's actually the case, things wouldn't be where they are right now, would they?

CHAIRMAN JEFFRIES: President Biden has been very successful legislatively to date. He began his tenure getting the American Rescue Plan over the finish line—that was incredibly important—helped to save our economy, stand up our public health infrastructure, which we'll continue to need to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic. Then he led the effort to pass the Bipartisan Infrastructure Agreement, bringing Democrats and Republicans together. We're going to create millions of good-paying jobs, fix our crumbling bridges, roads, tunnels, airports, our mass transit system. And now we've got to get the Build Back Better Act over the finish line. But given that track record of success in less than a year, my confidence is still with President Biden.

BLITZER: As you know, Senator Manchin made this $1.8 trillion counteroffer to the White House last week. His proposal did not include the Child Tax Credit, but it did include universal pre-K, an expansion of the Affordable Care Act, some climate provisions—hundreds of billions of dollars to deal with climate. Why not accept that offer and then pass the Child Tax Credit through some other means? In other words, take what you can get right now. It's so important.

CHAIRMAN JEFFRIES: Ultimately, we are going to have to find common ground with all 50 senators and Senator Manchin's counterproposal does include some important aspects of the Build Back Better Act, as you mentioned, strengthening the Affordable Care Act, expanding child care so that it becomes affordable for everyday Americans all across the country, making sure we have universal access to pre-K for three- and four-year olds all throughout America. These are all incredibly important things, including dealing with some of the climate provisions. But the Child Tax Credit has been so important for working families, middle-class families and low-income families, and providing them with some additional money in their pocket each and every month so they can pay for groceries, food, housing, child care, medicine and other expenses that everyday American families experience, and so I think we've got to find a way to come together on the Child Tax Credit as part of the Build Back Better Act.

BLITZER: Yesterday, I interviewed here in the Situation Room, Democratic Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal, the Chair of the Progressive Caucus. She told me last night that Democrats can't trust Senator Manchin's word. First of all, do you agree with her on that and the other proposal, I've been thinking about, tell me what you think about this, accept his $1.8 trillion plan, she says, do the rest, do whatever you can with executive orders. Why not do the Child Tax Credit through executive order and get the $1.8 trillion Manchin proposal into law?

CHAIRMAN JEFFRIES: It's not clear to me that the Child Tax Credit extension can be done by executive order, but it is something that I would encourage the administration to explore if Joe Manchin refuses to go along with extending it, which I can't imagine why he would ultimately do that, given that it benefits so many of his constituents in West Virginia. But I do think that whether one trusts Joe Manchin or not, I do trust Joe Biden and no president, perhaps since Lyndon Johnson knows the Senate as well as Joe Biden does, given his experience there and his effectiveness in dealing with the Senate, even as vice president. The issues that the Build Back Better Act will address are so critical, creating millions of good-paying jobs, cutting taxes for working and middle-class families, lowering child care costs, health care costs, energy costs, housing costs on behalf of everyday Americans—that we've got to find a way to get the 50 votes necessary in the Senate, and we cannot give up.


Watch the full interview here.