CHAIRMAN JEFFRIES ON MORNING JOE: “HOUSE DEMOCRATS' FOCUS WILL CONTINUE TO BE ON JOBS, THE ECONOMY AND INFLATION”
WASHINGTON, DC – In case you missed it, Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (NY-08), Chairman of the House Democratic Caucus, appeared on MSNBC’s Morning Joe to outline President Biden's historic accomplishments thus far and illustrate how House Democrats plan to communicate them to everyday Americans over the next year.
SCARBOROUGH: So, Congressman, you'll get all those polls. You put together the economy, which, you know, for Americans, that's just, you know, kitchen-table issues and inflation, and they're the runaway number one concern of every American. What can your party do to specifically address those concerns?
CHAIRMAN JEFFRIES: Our focus will continue to be on jobs, the economy and inflation. We've worked to create millions of good-paying jobs. We've made progress in that regard with respect to the bipartisan infrastructure agreement led by President Biden, fixing our crumbling bridges, roads, tunnels, airports, our mass transit system, laying fiber across the country to get universal access to broadband and high-speed internet. Those are good-paying American jobs that cannot be exported. That's important. As you know, you can use the tax code in one of two ways: either to help the wealthy, the well-off or the well-connected—on the one hand, that's what Republicans did in 2017, when they passed the GOP Tax Scam where 83% of the benefits went to the wealthiest 1%—or you can use the tax code to help working families, middle-class families and everyday Americans. That's what we've done with the Child Tax Credit.
When we get the Build Back Better Act over the finish line, we'll do more in terms of extending out the Child Tax Credit and lowering costs in a wide variety of areas, lowering the high cost of life-saving prescription drugs, particularly as it relates to insulin, which would be extraordinary. The average senior right now in Medicare pays about $6,000 in costs. We're going to lower that to no more than $2,000. We're going to lower child care costs, lower health care costs and create good-paying clean energy jobs. We have to do it, but we have to talk about it, and we have to talk about it relentlessly. Jobs, the economy and we're dealing with inflation.
SCARBOROUGH: All of those passed in a bipartisan way. Like, if you read this list, it was really fascinating, you just sit back and go, oh my God, there really, there actually have been a good number… of bipartisan bills that have passed this last year.
CHAIRMAN JEFFRIES: Democrats have continued to deliver. As President Biden had indicated, he wants to bring the Congress together whenever and wherever possible. Democrats and Republicans. From the very beginning, the President said, "I'm going to be the President for everybody, not just Democrats, and isolate Republicans and Independents. I'm going to be the President for everyone" and he's actually led in that regard.
I do believe that as the facts on the ground change, as the jobs continue to come online and millions of good-paying jobs have already been created during the first 10 or so months of the Biden presidency and the Build Back Better Act in terms of its focus on lowering costs that the American people experience, high cost of life-saving prescription drugs, home care, child care, universal pre-K, $150 billion investment in the creation and preservation of affordable housing—this is going to have a real impact.
We'll focus on governing right now, but you know, Speaker Pelosi and Sean Patrick Maloney are going to make sure that we're in a strong position to defend and grow our majority.
SCARBOROUGH: Do you feel like you can do that?
CHAIRMAN JEFFRIES: I believe we will.
SCARBOROUGH: How do you do it?
CHAIRMAN JEFFRIES: We have to govern. We have to message. Then we have to campaign aggressively like the livelihood of the American people depends on it because it absolutely does. And you can't hand the keys of the majority over to folks like Matt Gaetz, Marjorie Taylor Greene and Lauren Boebert. They will be running the House of Representatives, and they will not have the best interests of everyday Americans at heart.
Walt Disney also once made the reference, "All of my best movies have my best villains." And you know what? We got some serious villains here. This is not made up stuff. These are people who don't fundamentally believe in American democracy and in the same way that you have Peter Pan, right? Great movie. But one of the reasons why it was such a good story is that you had Captain Hook. I think, at the end of the day, we've got to tell the story of the protagonist, those who are fighting for everyday Americans, President Joe Biden and the Democrats. And you know, we've got some, some pretty rough folks who I don't believe have the best interests of everyday Americans at heart if we were to lose the majority.
ALCINDOR: Are you worried that in telling the story of villains, that your own accomplishments get wrapped up in that? Once you start talking about sort of what they're saying, it gets lost that you actually have all of these bipartisan accomplishments.
CHAIRMAN JEFFRIES: I don't think we need to overemphasize the villain dynamic here, but we do have to be clear: we're not talking about the Republican Party of Joe Scarborough, of Bob Dole, of John McCain, even of Mitt Romney and Ronald Reagan. That's not what we're dealing with. We're dealing with a very different, dangerous situation. So that story has to be told, that party of Michael Steele. We're not dealing with that Republican Party. However, I think we are focused on delivering, on getting things done, on creating jobs, which has occurred, on lowering costs, which continues to occur and certainly on dealing with inflation and gas prices.
Now we're going to have to message with simplicity and repetition as we get through the governing process and lock in on these things that we're working on. We can't articulate a laundry list. That's important, right? But we're going to have to lead with simplicity and repetition, and I believe we will do that.
Watch the full interview here.
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