July 13, 2021


NEW YORK – In case you missed it, Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (NY-08), Chairman of the House Democratic Caucus, appeared on CNN New Day with John Berman, highlighting the transformational work House Democrats have delivered on thus far, including the historic Child Tax Credit payments, which will be disbursed monthly beginning July 15.

BERMAN: It's not just James Carville, it's Eric Adams, who is now the Democratic nominee for mayor here in New York City, who says Democrats can't be so idealistic that they're not realistic. What do you think of that? 

CHAIRMAN JEFFRIES: I think that the most important thing, and President Biden is doing this, I think that Eric as mayor will do this, is to solve problems for everyday Americans. I agree that the people that I represent in predominantly Black neighborhoods like Bedford-Stuyvesant and other parts of central Brooklyn don't talk like that. They don't use the language "woke." They're concerned about housing displacement, gentrification, educating their children, quality of life issues, a rise in gun violence. And so, I think, what's going to continue to be important, and we're seeing this leadership from Joe Biden, is for us to solve problems in these areas. If we do so, we'll continue to be successful politically. 

BERMAN: [...] How concerned do you have to be about how certain things are being used against Democrats, whether it was defund the police, which was last year […] or the argument over critical race theory, even if it is something that, frankly, is being created by the right?

CHAIRMAN JEFFRIES: This is an issue that is a result of the fact that the Republicans, really, aren't a functional party right now. In many ways, there's just a cult of personality relative to Donald Trump. They've got no views. These are people who are supporting the insurrection by and large and abandoning democracy, while at the same time, Democrats are fighting to crush the virus, to provide direct relief and assistance to everyday Americans. As you indicated, we're going to do so in a phenomenal way with respect to the Child Tax Credit payments that begin this Thursday, July 15. That's going to be transformational. We're going to revive the economy, Build Back Better, create opportunity in every single zip code. We've got issues that we are working on and the Republicans don't. So they're always going to manipulate, attack and try to confuse the American people. Our challenge will be to continue to do the work and to get our message out.

BERMAN: You talk about the Child Tax Credit. $3,600 for children under 6, $3,000 for children 6 to 17. This is phased out over time, the first payment, July 15th. This, at least as of now, is temporary. It's a one-year thing. So, you talk about it being transformational, how is it transformational if it's just for one year? 

CHAIRMAN JEFFRIES: Because people are struggling right now. And President Biden and the Democrats were very clear, when we emerge from this pandemic we're not going to go back to normal. There were challenges pre-pandemic. Almost half the American people reported that they couldn't afford a sudden, unexpected $400 expense. So we've got to create a better situation for middle class families, for working families, for low-income families. That's what the Child Tax Credit payments are going to do beginning this month and continuing through the end of the year and then certainly as we deal with the end of the year spending agreement, we're going to have to work to extend it.

BERMAN: You talked about the select committee investigating the January 6 insurrection. The former President has, I think even beyond whitewashing, which is the criticism before, has entered this new phase when he discusses the insurrection, listen.

AUDIO EXCERPT FROM FORMER PRESIDENT TRUMP: You had over a million people there, which the press doesn't like to report at all because it shows too much, too much activity, too much, too much spirit and faith and love. There was such love at that rally. The crowd was unbelievable, and I mentioned the word love, the love, the love in the air. I've never seen anything like it.

BERMAN: First of all, he's just wrong about the crowd size, as usual. But love in the air. Is that how you see it? 

CHAIRMAN JEFFRIES: You know, I was there on January 6. I was on the floor of the House and there were individuals who were there to assassinate Speaker Pelosi, hang Mike Pence, hunt down Members of Congress. More than 140 Capitol Police officers and Metropolitan D.C. police officers were seriously injured, some have lost their lives as a result of the events of January 6. There was an attack on the Congress, the Capitol, the Constitution and it's shameful that the former twice-impeached President continues to perpetrate the big lie. What's even worse is that House Republican leadership, Kevin McCarthy and others, continue to provide aid and comfort to the big lie. That should frighten the American people because they are working overtime to try to take back the House of Representatives and move this country in a different direction. 


Watch the full interview here.