May 18, 2021


WASHINGTON, DC – Today, House Democratic Caucus Chairman Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) and Vice Chair Pete Aguilar (D-CA) held a leadership press conference where they highlighted the actions that House Democrats are taking to address the alarming spike in violence against the AAPI community.

CHAIRMAN JEFFRIES: Today, the House Democratic Caucus met virtually for the 90th time since the beginning of the pandemic. I'm thankful for the Members for making the adjustments that were necessary to continue the business of the people as we endeavored to work to crush the virus, to provide direct relief to everyday Americans who are struggling and, of course, to revive our economy. Thankfully, due to the public health guidance and the vastly improving fortunes of the public health environment, both here at the Capitol and, most importantly, across the country, I was able to announce to Members of the Caucus that we will have our first in-person hybrid meeting when we return on Tuesday, June 15.

This week, we will consider several important pieces of legislation. On the floor today, of course, will be Congresswoman Grace Meng's Covid-19 Hate Crimes Act legislation. The violence that we've seen directed against our Asian American brothers and sisters shocks the conscience in New York City and throughout the country and we must act decisively to stamp out anti-Asian violence whenever and wherever it is found. An attack on any of us, of course, is an attack on all of us. Dr. King made clear, injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. I'm hopeful that, as was the case with the bill in the Senate, we will see strong bipartisan support in support of the efforts led by Congresswoman Grace Meng and Chairperson Judy Chu to deal with the dramatic rise in anti-Asian violence that we've seen all across the country.

I'm also thankful that Chairman Bennie Thompson has been able to negotiate, with Ranking Member John Katko, a bipartisan agreement with respect to the January 6 commission, which can proceed, through bipartisan appointments, to try to ascertain what happened on that fateful day, January 6, why it happened and how do we prevent a violent attack and insurrection that we saw from ever happening again, an existential threat to our way of life in our democratic republic. I'm hopeful, of course, that we will see bipartisan support on the floor tomorrow, that remains to be seen at what level.

Lastly, as we move forward toward reopening the Capitol, it is of course important that we do so in a safe and secure fashion. I'm thankful for the leadership of Chairwoman Rosa DeLauro in that regard, with respect to the supplemental security legislation that we will vote on at the end of the week. This is a citadel of our democracy, it's an enduring institution. We want to make sure it is reopened but, of course, it needs to be reopened in a safe and secure fashion for the American people who come to visit and petition the Congress, and for the staff that worked so hard to make sure that the business of the people can be done and yes, of course, the Members of the House and the Senate, as well as the fourth estate as well. Hopefully we'll see strong bipartisan support in connection with this effort when we move it forward on Thursday.


VICE CHAIR AGUILAR: This week we also received news that direct payments of $300 per child — up to $300 per child — will go out to 39 million American families starting July 15. These payments are a result of the expanded child tax credit featured in the American Rescue Plan and is another tangible example of congressional Democrats and the Biden administration delivering for the American people.

This week, as the Chairman mentioned, we'll be addressing the rise of anti-Asian hate crimes. This epidemic of hate, driven by racist and irresponsible rhetoric, must come to an end. We look forward to sending a bipartisan and resounding message as we stand with our colleagues here in Congress as well as all Asian Americans across the country against violence.

And finally, we will take up the supplemental appropriations bill to improve Capitol security, protect members, employees and visitors from the attacks that we saw — from attacks like the one we saw on January 6 — as a result of recommendations from General Honoré and senior security experts. 

House Democrats are also committed to protecting the American people here at the Capitol complex from insurrectionists and domestic terrorists who have been inspired by the big lie that House Republicans continue to elevate. While I hope, as the Chairman noted, that this is a bipartisan bill, I would encourage my colleagues to step forward and to stop Members of their own party from continuing to spread the deadly lie. 


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