September 18, 2019


House Democratic Caucus Chair Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) and Caucus Vice Chair Katherine Clark (D-MA) held the House Democratic leadership’s weekly press conference, where they called on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) to pass commonsense background check legislation for the American people.

CHAIRMAN JEFFRIES: We as House Democrats remain committed to our For The People agenda. We're very clear in terms of our sense of purpose as to why we are here to fight For The People, for working families, middle-class folks, senior citizens, the poor, the sick and the afflicted, the least, the lost and the left behind.

We're going to continue to focus on lowering health care costs with a focus on protecting people with pre-existing conditions, driving down the high cost of lifesaving prescription drugs. It is outrageous that America pays more for medication and for prescription drugs than any other developed nation in the world. No justification that has any rational basis for that other than the greed of some in this nation.


We also continue to demand that the Senate act to protect the American people from the gun violence epidemic that is ravaging our nation. More than 200 days have passed since H.R. 8 was voted on, on a bipartisan basis in the House of Representatives. Universal criminal background check legislation has overwhelming support amongst the American people including Republicans, Independents and gun owners. What is the problem Mitch? Do your job. Americans are dying. […] We are not going to let the do-nothing Senate off the hook.


VICE CHAIR KATHERINE CLARK: This week, House Democrats are continuing to work for consumers, for workers and for the people of this country by passing the FAIR Act. The FAIR Act is something simple, yet very critical to leveling the playing field in this country. It prevents companies from forcing individuals to give up their right to pursue legal action by forcing them into arbitration. 

At its core, forced arbitration is designed to protect big business and corporate leaders from accountability. Banks, credit card companies, payday lenders, you name it. They shouldn't have the upper hand over American workers.


And while we continue to proactively work and fight for American families, House Democrats and Americans, as the Chairman pointed out, are waiting for the Senate to act. We have passed over 250 bills. 50 of those major pieces of substantive legislation. But there is none more important right now than those bills pertaining to gun violence. 203 days without any action in the Senate. The American people are behind the universal background checks. We know it can save lives. And there is no excuse for Mitch McConnell and his enablers not to take up this legislation. 

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