CHAIRMAN JEFFRIES: “THE OTHER SIDE CONTINUES TO PLAY GAMES. WE’RE GOING TO CONTINUE TO PLOW FORWARD.”
WASHINGTON, DC – Today, House Democratic Caucus Chairman Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) held a leadership press conference to highlight the lifesaving impacts of the American Rescue Plan being felt by families across the country and how House Democrats are continuing to deliver for the American people. He was joined by DPCC Co-Chairs Rep. Joe Neguse (D-CO), Rep. Matt Cartwright (D-PA) and Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-MI).
CHAIRMAN JEFFRIES: President Joe Biden has made clear that America is dealing with four different crises at the same time. A public health crisis, of course, connected to the Covid-19 pandemic that has inflicted so much pain and suffering and death on the American people. The administration, House Democrats, Senate Democrats are acting decisively to address it, to make sure that there's testing, tracing, treatment and, of course, vaccinations in every arm throughout America.
An economic crisis, also connected to the Covid-19 pandemic. Tens of millions of Americans who at various points over the last year have been unemployed, confronting homelessness, housing insecurity, food insecurity and other troubling economic and dislocating conditions. We are acting decisively to address it. That is what the American Rescue Plan is all about.
We, of course, also have a racial justice crisis. We've come a long way as a country, we still have a long way to go. House Democrats have acted decisively with respect to the policing aspect of that crisis. That is why we passed, within our first 100 days, the George Floyd Justice and Policing Act and are actively negotiating with the Senate Democrats and Republicans to try to get something done.
Finally, a climate crisis that is an existential threat to our country and to the planet. We're so thankful for the leadership of Kathy Castor, the Chair of the Select Committee on the Climate Crisis, Speaker Pelosi, the entire House Democratic Caucus, working with tremendous partners in the White House and within the administration. Earlier today, we heard from two of the most extraordinary partners, former Secretary of State John Kerry and Administrator Gina McCarthy to brief us on the administration's plans as it relates to dealing with the climate crisis, both here at home and throughout the world. We're looking forward to partnering with them to deal with the situation that threatens our very well being and the future of our planet.
A lot of big issues for us to confront. We're serious about our work. The other side continues to play games even though the lives and the livelihood of the American people are at stake. Shame on them, but we're going to continue to plow forward.
CO-CHAIR NEGUSE: This last weekend, I had an opportunity to visit with folks in my district, as did many of my colleagues, and the message was unmistakable. Help is here. The American Rescue Plan is working. The American Rescue Plan that we passed is working to get shots in arms, money in pockets, people in jobs, children in schools and so much more.
The United States, as you all know, has administered more than 209 million vaccine doses and counting. More than 84 million Americans are fully vaccinated. Soon, half of the adults in the U.S. will have received at least one dose. Those numbers represent grandparents hugging their grandchildren for the first time in months, not years, parents going back to work and teachers safely back in the classrooms. More than 159 million Americans have received an economic impact payment of up to $1,400, so far, and they are pumping that money back into our communities and into our local economies, helping businesses open their doors and get paychecks in workers pockets. In fact, our economy added more than one million jobs just last month and that's just the beginning.
From the child care funding that President Biden announced last week, to a new program to support restaurant jobs at the SBA that began this week, to the child tax credit that will start putting money in hard working families pockets over the summer, The American Rescue Plan will continue making life better for the American people for months to come and House Democrats will continue spreading the message about all the ways in which we are here to help the American people.
CO-CHAIR CARTWRIGHT: Well you heard the numbers everybody, 1 million, 209 million, 159 million, these numbers don't lie. 1 million jobs added in March, 209 million vaccine doses given so far, 159 million economic impact payments going to regular people around this country. Every single number that Joe just cited represents a worker, a family, a business, business owners who's better today in their business than it was before we passed the American Rescue Plan. This is the American Rescue Plan working and it's working on an individual basis.
Joe is right. We were back in our districts last week and we were talking to people about how these things are working. I talked to people. I have Monroe County, Pennsylvania in my district. Patrick from Monroe County used his $1,400 check to pay down credit card debt. Ann Marie from Lackawanna County, where Scranton is, was able to buy prescription medications that were not covered by her insurance. John from Luzerne County, where Wilkes-Barre is, said it helped him make ends meet after being laid off. These are actual impacts of the American Rescue Plan.
I want to quote from a lady named Alicia from Pittston in Luzerne County. She wrote to me and she said this: "as a Northeastern Pennsylvania native growing up in Pittston, the one thing I loved about growing up here was learning the value of hard work. No matter what life has thrown at me it was instilled in me that hard work does pay off. As a Latina woman in the workforce, I worked hard as my life led me to become a single mom, then a stepmom with a blended multicultural family and raising children with special needs. I hold many facets of being a working parent. Although my personal working motherhood journey had many obstacles, at times, nothing could have prepared me and many other parents for the balancing act of raising your children and working from home while your children are trying to learn remotely. The American Rescue Plan ensured that relief reached working people and communities in Pennsylvania." That's what Alicia wrote to me. Ladies and gentlemen, the American Rescue Plan is working. We're looking at a bright future in this country because of that plan working.
CO-CHAIR DINGELL: I want to thank Matt for what he and Joe just said, that outlines help is here. But Democrats are just getting started in our work to create good-paying jobs and support the American worker.
As Vice President Harris said yesterday in North Carolina, The American Jobs Plan will create millions of jobs, good jobs for everyday working people everywhere. It will create jobs, rebuilding our roads and our bridges, upgrading our infrastructure to ensure kids have clean drinking water. It's going to take care of broadband so that people in urban and rural areas have access to it.
Being from Michigan, of course, I have to talk about how it will revitalize manufacturing. It will secure our U.S. supply chain. Don't you think PPE taught us about national security issues and having to depend on another country? We'll invest in R&D. We will create the jobs of the future. We will, as we build out the electric vehicle infrastructure, we will have new jobs so that people have good-paying jobs. It'll give moms and dads who work for a living the support that they need to build a better life for their families. Matt shared the story of Alicia. I'd like to see any hardworking mom like Alicia look them in the eye and have somebody tell them that child care isn't infrastructure or that long-term care isn't infrastructure. We are one of the only industrialized nations in the world that doesn't take care of its seniors. That's a moral issue. People who work for a living know that being able to care for your kids and your parents is absolutely essential to have the ability to work hard and build a better life for your family. And that's what the American Jobs Plan is about, Building Back Better For The People.
Video of the full press conference and Q&A can be viewed here.
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