October 20, 2021


WASHINGTON, DC – Today, House Democratic Caucus Chairman Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY), Vice Chair Pete Aguilar (D-CA) and Assistant Speaker Katherine Clark (D-MA) held a leadership press conference where they highlighted House Democrats’ work to enact President Biden’s transformative Build Back Better agenda, which will lower costs for working families and create opportunity in every single zip code. 

CHAIRMAN JEFFRIES: It's good to be back in Washington, D.C. for a full week. We had a tremendous meeting earlier today, the House Democratic Caucus, and everyone was in good spirits.

We were briefed by Dr. Mark Zandi, one of the nation's leading economists. He talked to us about three different issues. The short-term inflation dynamics that we're dealing with, he unpacked those short-term dynamics for us and indicated that all facts and data point to the reality that the inflation that we're experiencing is impacting everyday Americans across the country and is connected, of course, to the COVID-19 pandemic, to the supply chain issues largely connected to the pandemic, to the shutdown to some extent that took place as a result of the pandemic, and of course, most recently, the rise of the Delta variant. But all projections suggest that these inflationary concerns are short-term in nature, and we'll continue to try to do everything possible to address those dynamics.

He also talked to us about the connection between the Build Back Better agenda and the economic growth that would result when we get the Build Back agenda over the finish line, as we will do. Certainly, significant progress has been made in that area over the last few days and we're all feeling very positive about the coming together that is clearly occurring as we land these planes.

Lastly, Dr. Zandi talked to us about the importance of a fully inclusive economy and how a fully inclusive economy will lead to greater economic growth and prosperity for the American people. He's done some work in this area. A central part of the Build Back agenda is going to be to make sure that a significant amount of the resources that we spend, 40% threshold has been the number that has been championed by the Biden administration, is spent in traditionally underserved and under-resourced communities. In African American communities, Latino communities, Indian Country, immigrant communities, as well as Appalachia, rural America and small-town America. A fully inclusive economy leads to significant economic growth.

Our mission, which we have chosen to accept, is to Build Back Better For The People. And that is what we are working to get done and we will. We will crush the virus. We will create millions of good-paying jobs. We will fix our crumbling infrastructure. We will cut taxes for working families, low-income families and middle-class families, largely but not exclusively through the enhanced and expanded Child Tax Credit. We will lower costs in child care and health care and education for everyday Americans. And we will confront the climate crisis with the fierce urgency of now because there is no planet B.

Every single one of those issues unites Democrats in the House, in the Senate and, of course, President Biden and Vice President Harris. And together, we will Build Back Better For The People.


VICE CHAIR AGUILAR: A lot going on this week, as all of you know. Under the leadership of Chairman Bennie Thompson, the January 6 Committee last night reported out a contempt recommendation to the full House floor that we will vote on tomorrow. The next step is to hold a vote of the whole House to allow the Speaker to certify the criminal contempt referral to the U.S. Attorney in the District of Columbia and we fully expect the U.S. Attorney to honor their duty and to bring this matter before a grand jury.

Let me be clear that this is not done to be punitive. This is done to uphold the law. And for four years, we saw the prior President and his allies act outside of the law, ignore the Constitution and degrade our democracy. Democrats and Republicans feel that it is the duty of every member of this body to stand by our oath and to uphold the Constitution. I'm proud that my colleagues in the Democratic Caucus are prepared to take the appropriate steps to honor our oath and I hope that our Republican colleagues are prepared to do the same. 


ASSISTANT SPEAKER CLARK: It is such a pleasure to be back in our Caucus press conference and I am so grateful to Chairman Jeffries and Vice Chair Aguilar, not only for the invitation, but moreover for their leadership in this critical time for our country and for our Caucus that continues to lead with the American people as our inspiration and our focus to Build Back Better and build back more inclusive.

Yesterday, I was proud to go to the White House with Democratic colleagues to discuss with the President and the Vice President and Secretary Yellen how we Build Back Better, and I am excited about the progress that is being made towards the Democrats' shared goal of President Biden's Build Back Better package. We are making progress and we are recovering. As was emphasized in our Caucus today, job growth is up, wages are up and our unemployment rate is down below 5%, 18 months faster than forecasters predicted earlier this year.

But central to our work, our through-line in this, is putting equity and inclusiveness into our economy and we have to look no further than the September job reports to see the work we need to do. All of the net job gains in September went to men, while 300,000 more women exited the workforce. The work ahead of us, as the Chairman just explained, remains leaving no one behind and Building Back Better, not only because it's the morally right thing to do, it is the economically sound thing to do. The heart of this agenda is a recognition that when families succeed, America succeeds. And we need to build a foundation of support for families so they can work, feed and care for their own families and live with dignity. This is what the Build Back Better agenda brings to life.


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