January 14, 2020


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 outlined the next steps on impeachment as well as the more than 400 bills House Democrats passed in 2019 that continue to sit on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s desk. They were joined by DPCC Chair Rep. David Cicilline (D-RI) and Co-Chairs Rep. Matt Cartwright (D-PA) and Rep. Ted Lieu (D-CA) to highlight House Democratic accomplishments thus far.

CHAIRMAN JEFFRIES: We had a very robust discussion at the Caucus this morning on a few different topics. There will be a resolution of disapproval related to a rule that has been proffered by the Department of Education and Secretary Betsy DeVos that would restrict the ability of individual Americans who have been defrauded as it relates to their pursuit for higher education. There's $1.5 trillion of student debt that exists in this nation. It is an anchor around the aspirations, the hopes, the dreams and the ability of younger Americans to be entrepreneurial, start a family, purchase a home and to live the American dream. And so we want to take action this week as it relates to that proposed rule by Secretary DeVos.

We also had a discussion about what was taking place in Puerto Rico in terms of the malpractice of the administration. People of Puerto Rico, American citizens, who have died in war after war on behalf of our great country, but right now have suffered through the intensity of the devastating hurricane and now earthquakes and aftershocks. Children are unable to go to school. Hospitals are not necessarily receiving patients. The people of Puerto Rico are in distress. Yet the administration refuses to spend a dime in congressionally allocated money to help out American citizens from Puerto Rico. Shame on this administration. It's an absolute disgrace and we will continue to escalate pressure on them to do the right thing. 

We, of course, had a discussion that was led by Speaker Pelosi, along with Chairman Nadler and Chairman Schiff, about the next steps in the impeachment proceeding. The Speaker indicated that the full consent of the Caucus, that those articles of impeachment, one, abuse of power, two obstruction of Congress, will be transmitted to the Senate at some point tomorrow. The Speaker indicated that at some point within the moment that we are in right now and the resolution being debated on the floor, that individual impeachment managers will be named.

We're going to keep the focus on the stunning corrupt abuse of power engaged in by Donald Trump to pressure a foreign government to target an American citizen for political gain and at the same time, withheld, without justification, $391 million in military aid to a vulnerable Ukraine as part of a geopolitical shakedown scheme. That is why Donald Trump has been impeached. Because he abused his power and obstructed a constitutionally inspired impeachment inquiry. In America, no one is above the law, not even the president of the United States of America.

The next step is simple. The Senate should conduct a fair trial. A fair trial involves witnesses and documents. What is the president hiding from the American people? Donald Trump said it was a perfect call. If it was in fact a perfect call, we should hear from Mick Mulvaney about that call and the actions that preceded it and followed. We should hear from John Bolton about that July 25th phone call and the geopolitical shakedown scheme that the president was engaged in to advance his own personal and political gain. The American people deserve a fair trial in the Senate.

At the same time, we are going to continue our relentless focus to get things done on behalf of everyday Americans. Our relentless focus to drive down the high costs of life-saving prescription drugs. Our relentless focus to protect more than 100 million Americans with pre-existing conditions against the president's efforts, notwithstanding his lies about health care. We're going to continue our relentless focus to strengthen the Affordable Care Act, to enact the real infrastructure plan and defend our democracy.


VICE CHAIR CLARK: The articles of impeachment boil down to this president putting his own political gain over that of the interests of the American people. And what we see in the bills that are sitting on Mitch McConnell's desk is an extension of that. These are not talking points. They are policies that directly impact American families and could save American lives. Every day that Mitch McConnell holds up background check legislation, we lose 100 Americans to gun violence. Every day that Mitch McConnell holds up expanding health care and pursues a court case to undo the ACA, 82 million Americans with pre-existing conditions worry about their ability to protect their families. Every day that Mitch McConnell stonewalls the Dream and Promise Act, 700,000 Dreamers are left with their future in limbo. Every day, Mitch McConnell delays the raise the wage act, 33 million Americans, including 20 million women, are denied a raise. Every minute Mitch McConnell obstructs VAWA, the Violence Against Women Act, nearly 20 people are physically abused by an intimate partner. With every denial, delay and obstruction, his allegiance to Donald Trump and special interests becomes clearer and clearer.

This week, House Democrats will once again stand with the American people, passing legislation to protect older Americans from discrimination and to stop our students from being defrauded. Our message to the American people is that we will never stop working for you. Our message to Mitch McConnell is no one is fooled about where your allegiances lie.


DPCC CO-CHAIR REP. CARTWRIGHT: The current House majority was won because we promised to work For The People, for the regular, working ordinary American people. That's who we promised to stick up for and this is a promise that we've been keeping. We promised to clean up government. H.R. 1 takes full steps in that direction. We promised to bring down the skyrocketing costs of pharmaceutical medications. We've done that. We promised to fight the current administration's efforts to dismantle health care for people with pre-existing conditions. […] But the Justice Department is pushing to take their protections away. It's astonishing. With no plan to replace it. 

We've done these things and we have worked for the kitchen table, pocketbook issues for ordinary Americans. We have passed for the first time in 10 years a raise in the minimum wage. And we can talk all day about the unemployment rate, but what you really want to know about is whether people can clothe and feed and shelter themselves and their families on what they make. And what we know is that they have to do it on more than one job unless we raise the minimum wage. We've done that.


And we passed the USMCA after a whole year of Richie Neal's tireless efforts to meet with the Mexicans, to meet with the Canadians and strengthen what was given to us by the administration. 


So I'm here to say, ladies and gentlemen, we've done these things. These are just examples of the 275 plus bipartisan bills that we have passed out of the House that sit unattended on the desk of Senator Mitch McConnell, who has vowed not even to look at these things, let alone pass them or take them up or negotiate them. It's a sin what he's doing and he's doing it all with a view toward forwarding this false narrative that this is a do-nothing House. It's a do-nothing Senate majority leader. That's what we have. And he's proud of it.


DPCC CO-CHAIR REP. LIEU: Like millions of Americans, I now also have a pre-existing condition. And I also get my health care through Obamacare and the Trump administration is suing to eliminate health coverage for Americans with pre-existing conditions and as Congressman Cartwright said, if that lawsuit succeeds, they have no plan. That means millions of Americans will lose their health care coverage.


So in addition to the ACA, Republicans are also holding up bills that would help lower prescription drug prices and generic drug prices. Last year, the House of Representatives passed on a bipartisan basis a large number of bills to lower generic drug prices. And then we passed H.R. 3, which would lower prescription drug prices. They're all sitting on Senator McConnell's desk.

And I want to conclude now about veterans bills. In addition to health care, we've also passed at least 25 bipartisan budget bills. Those are to help veterans combat suicide. Those would help veterans get jobs and transition easier. Those are common sense. Some of them have Republican sponsors. Some of them are Republican bills. Many of them have Republican counterparts in the Senate. They're all sitting on Mitch McConnell's desk. So we're simply asking the U.S. Senate to do their job, put these bills up for a vote and then move the American family forward.


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