November 17, 2020


WASHINGTON – Today, House Democratic Caucus Chairman Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) and Vice Chair Katherine Clark (D-MA) held a House Democratic Leadership press conference, where they welcomed newly-elected Members to our vibrant Democratic majority and outlined our commitment to working with President-elect Biden.

CHAIRMAN JEFFRIES: […] We had our first Caucus meeting this morning. We did it virtually, subsequent to the November elections. Everyone was in good spirits. We welcomed our new Members. We're excited about them and the opportunity to serve with people from throughout the north, the south, the east and the west, another incredibly diverse class that will add to the most diverse Congress in the history of the Republic. More women serving in Congress than ever before. More African Americans, more Latinos, more Asian Americans, more Members of the LGBTQ community, two Muslim American women, two Native American women, both serving in Congress for the first time in history. And our diversity will be strengthened by the new class upon its arrival.

We are also buoyed by the fact that our long national nightmare is about to come to an end on January 20th at noon because the most existential threat to our democracy, our values, our American way of life has been defeated decisively. 

He lost the popular vote decisively. He lost the Electoral College vote decisively. Joe Biden has secured more votes than any other presidential candidate in the history of the Republic. And when you look at first-term presidents who have been defeated, it has been difficult to do. Joe Biden has done it, and he has done it with one of the most decisive margins ever.

The president will remain in office for 64 days or so. We're hopeful that he'll demonstrate some leadership in that interim time period because the COVID-19 pandemic has not gone away. Wasn't it the president who said, "All we hear about is COVID, COVID, COVID." That was the president. But then he said it was going to go away on November 4th. What is wrong with this guy? It has not gone away. It's gotten much worse. The pain, the suffering, the debt has increased exponentially over the last several days, the last several weeks. And Donald Trump is in the witness protection program. No one can find him. 

And that nightmare is coming to an end on January 20th. And we're thankful for Joe Biden because he's going to bring confidence. He's going to bring integrity. He's going to bring in leadership. He's going to bring unity to the Oval Office because we don't have Democratic problems or Republican problems. We don't have progressive problems, moderate problems, centrist problems or conservative problems. We have American problems and Joe Biden is committed to solving them. The House Democratic majority is committed to working with President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris to Build Back Better For The People. 


VICE CHAIR CLARK: If I may just take a moment of personal privilege, not only were we able to greet our new Members and come together in this conference call, but it was my last official Caucus call as Vice Chair of the Caucus, and I want to thank my colleagues that have just been a pleasure to serve. But a special thanks to you, Mr. Chairman, for all your partnership, your friendship and for always taking the hard questions at this press conference first. So I'm deeply, deeply grateful. And I think that Hakeem has put it well: we are back in session after a historical election where President Trump has lost an Electoral College landslide and has lost the popular vote. And one of the most heartening things about this, is that it is a return to truth and to science. President-elect Biden has already put his task force together. 

We heard today on our call from Dr. Murthy, and the numbers are not good when we have over 11 million cases of COVID-19 in this country. We are approaching a quarter of a million Americans who have lost their lives and the untold number who then lost their livelihoods. But with President-elect Biden and the House Democratic Caucus, we know that we will have the tools and the powerful ally in the White House to be able to reduce these numbers.


And we have stood since May for making sure that we are reaching out, that we are helping, providing the relief we need through the Heroes Act. And now as we move into the final month of the 116th Caucus, we are concerned not only that we have not seen a relief package from Mitch McConnell and a willingness to come to the table, but that relief is going to expire for unemployment, for pandemic unemployment assistance for gig workers, the eviction moratorium, student loan forbearance, small business, debt relief. Never mind that in the Heroes Act, we had a vaccine distribution plan that remains unpassed by the Senate, unsigned by this president.

So our work is before us, but we have a new president that is going to join with the House Democrats to be able to lead us forward to get through this pandemic, to restore quality and truth and justice and to be able to not only rebuild our economy, but make it more inclusive. And we are eager to get to work for the American people.