April 29, 2021


WASHINGTON, DC – In case you missed it, Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (NY-08), Chairman of the House Democratic Caucus, appeared on MSNBC’S special coverage of President Biden’s joint address to Congress. As part of the discussion, Chairman Jeffries illustrated why Republican attacks on the President continue to fail, noting the overwhelming and bipartisan support from everyday Americans for his agenda.

RACHEL MADDOW: We've seen the response from Senator Tim Scott from South Carolina, his response to the President's address tonight. The President's address just over an hour, laying out his very ambitious agenda. What do you think is the most important thing people should take away from these speeches tonight? 

CHAIRMAN JEFFRIES: Joe Biden recognizes that we have big problems in America. It's a big moment for this country and it requires big solutions and Joe Biden is not running away from the big solutions that are necessary. He's running toward them and laying them out in a very clear and simple yet compelling fashion, both as it relates to what we have already done, the American Rescue Plan, as well as what is necessary in terms of how we are going to move forward, the American Jobs Plan, in terms of infrastructure, broadly defined, and of course the American Families Plan. 

RACHEL MADDOW: In terms of the relationship between the two parties, the chief critique that we saw from Senator Scott tonight and that, I think is the chief critique from the Republicans, although I wouldn't put words in their mouth, has been that they themselves do not support his legislative agenda. They themselves do not support Covid relief. They themselves do not support the things he's doing and therefore those things are not good because they are not bipartisan endeavors. What is your response to that? Because they believe that the American public wants to see both parties working together to pass things to improve conditions in the country.

CHAIRMAN JEFFRIES: I think the American people definitely would prefer to see Democrats and Republicans working together whenever and wherever possible and that's exactly what Joe Biden has been trying to do and will continue to try to do and he expressed that very clearly during his remarks tonight. 

But the Republican Party has lapsed into a very familiar playbook, which always occurs when they have a Democratic president—that's obstruction today, obstruction tomorrow, obstruction forever and try to prevent and deny the Democratic president from solving challenges on behalf of the American people. But with Joe Biden, it's just not working because the things that he has proposed are broadly supported by the American people.

I also think, Rachel, that the way that he laid things out today and then Tim Scott's response shows the differences between Democrats and Republicans. Republicans tried to convince the American people that we are competing against each other as part of the effort to divide us. Joe Biden made it clear that we're in this together. If we're competing with anyone, it's the rest of the world, particularly the autocrats who think that democracy is about to sunset. So he rallied the American people together, both in terms of the principles of American exceptionalism, but also by leaning into the challenges of working families, the middle class, those who aspire to be part of the middle class here in America.


Watch the full interview here.