September 25, 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 House Democrats preconditions for agreeing to the USMCA, our mission to reduce the price of prescription drugs through the Lower Drug Costs Now Act and upcoming Democratic bills that address the humanitarian crisis at our border.

CHAIRMAN JEFFRIES: We had a very robust discussion today in the Caucus. The center of the meeting focused on the United States-Mexico-Canada trade Agreement. Speaker Pelosi and Richie Neal, the Chairman of the Ways and Means Committee, along with the Democratic Working Group have been very clear that our goal is to get to yes and to reach an agreement with the administration that improves upon in a meaningful way the NAFTA agreement that is currently in place. That NAFTA agreement has resulted in the outsourcing of good paying American jobs hurting working families and Americans all across the country, including, but not limited to, in the heartland of America.

[…] Our perspective is that the agreement must be meaningful if it's going to replace what is currently there. In order for that agreement to be meaningful, House Democrats have laid out four different issues which we discussed in the Caucus today. One, improve the labor standards. Two, improve environmental standards. Three, we want to deal with the pharmaceutical issue and biologics in a responsible fashion that doesn't undermine the best interests of the American people. Four, we want to make sure that there is enforceability.


Perhaps the top priority of House Democrats, as articulated to the American people last year and as implemented through our agenda this year, is to lower health care costs and drive down the high price of lifesaving prescription drugs.


The Democratic bill that we would like to secure Republican support in connection with, because they claim they want to do something about this issue, will give the federal government the ability to negotiate lower drug prices on behalf of Medicare recipients and the American people. It would be a substantial game changing step in the right direction. The president has claimed he wants to get that done and so we look forward to being able to have a discussion about our bill and finding common ground on this issue on behalf of everyday Americans.


VICE CHAIR CLARK: Our Caucus is focused on the very real threats to national security. We're focused not only on those coming from the White House, but on those that are coming from the border and the approach this administration has taken to immigration. While he has stolen $3.6 billion from our military families, from the quality of their life and for military readiness to build a wall, we have not forgotten about the immigration policy and the impact on children and migrants that threatens our security, doesn’t build it.

And we're passing two important bills this week. One by Congresswoman Veronica Escobar (D-TX) and one by Congresswoman Lauren Underwood (D-IL) that specifically increases our ability to have objective appointments made that can make sure that we are really acting in the interest of national security and our policies at the border and that we are getting medical screenings for the children who are coming across our borders seeking refuge here. These are two critical pieces to making sure that our immigration policy not only provides for national security, but is humane and represents those values of a country that has always been a place where people can come and seek a better life.

The other issue that we continue to focus on today will be a large rally starting about 1:00 p.m. for gun safety and we are going to keep the pressure on the Senate to take these bills up for a vote. As we've said before, this is an issue that is really tearing at the security of our communities. We are not going to continue to let the answer be one of silence from the U.S. Senate. We're going to be there loudly today saying do your job. Stand up for the American people and make our communities safe again.


CHAIRMAN JEFFRIES: I haven’t had the opportunity to review the transcript yet, but it does confirm several things. President Donald Trump clearly pressured the Ukrainian president to commence an investigation of the Biden family to dig up political dirt in order to bolster the president's electoral prospects in 2020. That is textbook abuse of power and the transcripts have become exhibit A in that regard. 

President Trump apparently said to the Ukrainian president "I need you to do me a favor about an issue related to Joe Biden's alleged involvement with the Ukrainian government and the prior prosecutor."

That's a phony scandal. But the fact that the president brought it up and said multiple times according to this transcript "I need you to talk to Rudolph Giuliani." What role does Rudolph Giuliani have in this government? Is he in the Department of Justice? Is he the secretary of state? Is he an ambassador to Ukraine or the European Union? Rudolph Giuliani is the president's political hit man. And in an official conversation with the president of Ukraine, he directed the Ukrainian president to have a follow up conversation with Giuliani as part of the effort to dig up dirt on Joe Biden. Period. Full stop. That is lawless. That undermines our national security. That is an abuse of power. That is unpatriotic. That undermines the electoral process and our democracy and the American people will not stand for it.

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