December 17, 2019


WASHINGTON – This week, Caucus Chairman Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) and Vice Chair Katherine Clark (D-MA) held the House Democratic leadership’s weekly press conference, where they recapped a successful year that included the passage of nearly 400 bills and a continued commitment to hold the president accountable.

CHAIRMAN JEFFRIES: The House Democratic majority this year has passed approximately 400 bills and sent them to the Senate. Approximately 275 of those bills are bipartisan in nature. 100 bills have made it to the president's desk and been signed into law. We have passed legislation to lower health care costs, to drive down the high price of life-saving prescription drugs, to protect people with pre-existing conditions, to increase pay for everyday Americans by raising the minimum wage to $15 per hour, to address more than a million Dreamers who are Americans and contributing to their communities and deserve to remain. We've passed legislation to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act, to provide equal pay for equal work in terms of paycheck fairness, regardless of gender.

This week, we will pass legislation to fully fund the government and to invest in domestic program, after domestic program, after domestic program to benefit working families, middle-class folks and senior citizens. We will also pass the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement consistent with our commitment to the American worker and to organized labor and to do it in a way that has the overwhelming support of the labor movement in this country for the first time in history. We've kept our promise to the American people that we would fight for everyday Americans consistent with our For The People agenda.

This week alone shows the difference between the Democratic majority in the House and a Republican majority, which we had in December of 2018. In the prior Congress, their signature legislative accomplishment was to pass the GOP tax scam where 83 percent of the benefits went to the wealthiest one percent in America. It was a sham, a scam and a shakedown of everyday Americans.

This week, we will move legislation on the Floor that restores some fairness to everyday Americans, to middle-class folks, to those who aspire to be part of the middle class by beginning the process of restoring the state and local tax deduction, which was stripped away to give a tax cut to the wealthy, the well-off and the well-connected. That was unconscionable. But a House Democratic majority will begin to reverse the damage that was done by House Republicans in the last Congress.

Last year at this time, we were beginning the process of heading into a reckless 35-day government shutdown because Donald Trump wanted to hold the American taxpayer hostage in order to get billions of dollars for a medieval border war to satisfy a political promise that he had made on the campaign trail and we stopped him from doing it. This year under a Democratic majority, we are fully funding the government.


VICE CHAIR CLARK: One of the areas that we were able to make great progress for the American people were in the 12 appropriation bills that came out of the House Committee on Appropriations back in June that represented tremendous progress. Areas of research, investment in child care and education and apprenticeships, making sure that we are building resiliency for climate change in our communities, that we are investing in clean air and water and the EPA.

[…] And we waited. We have waited for the Senate to take up these bills. It caused a C.R. back in the fall. And today, we stand here with an agreement, with many of the priorities of the House captured, but there's still work to do.

Some of the highlights are, for the first time, the House has been able to secure $425 million to help states protect their elections. As we are working on multiple tracks this week, we know the threat to our 2020 elections from this president and the way that he has corruptly invited foreign interference into our elections. This funding will be critical in helping states keep the ballot box between the American voters and their decision and their decision alone on who to vote for. There is also $25 million for gun research, which is again the first time in decades that we are going to be able to research how we can prevent gun violence in this country. […] We've also included over $7.5 billion for the census, which is going to be critical as we go forward to make sure that everyone is counted. […] And there is a $9 billion, which is over $200 million increase for the EPA to try and protect our clean air and clean water.


These were difficult negotiations with the administration and with the Republican-led Senate. But our commitment to the American people was to keep the government open and to make every bit of progress that we could.

As we have the impeachment vote weighing on this Congress very heavily that we're going to be taking up tomorrow, we will continue to move forward with the For The People agenda. And we will continue to be clear that we came here to uphold an oath of office that includes upholding the Constitution. And that we're going to continue, as we did from the beginning of this impeachment inquiry to follow the facts, to let the truth be our guide. And it is not an easy vote. I greatly admired the unity that we have seen out of this Caucus. It may not be politically expedient. It may not be easy. We don't know how this may or may not affect the 2020 elections, but we know this: We have this opportunity in the history of our country to stand up, defend our Constitution and send a clear message, not only to this president, but to every president in the future. That we are a co-equal branch of government that is going to insist that no one is above the law.


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