CHAIRMAN JEFFRIES: “THE BUILD BACK BETTER AGENDA IS WILDLY POPULAR WITH THE AMERICAN PEOPLE”

November 2, 2021
In The News

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 House Democrats' work to bring President Biden's historic Build Back Better Agenda over the finish line. They were joined by DPCC Co-Chairs Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-MI), Rep. Ted Lieu (D-CA), Rep. Matt Cartwright (D-PA) and Rep. Joe Neguse (D-CO).

CHAIRMAN JEFFRIES: We had a very productive and positive meeting earlier today day as we continue to press forward in enacting historic, bold, transformational legislation and Building Back Better For The People. We're going to hear today from our Vice Chair as well as the Democratic Policy and Communications Committee so I'm going to be very brief in my opening observation.

The Build Back Better Agenda is wildly popular with the American people. During a point in time in our history where we're divided evenly on almost every other issue, the American people support the Build Back Better Agenda because they know it will invest, in a meaningful way, in creating millions of good-paying jobs, cutting taxes for working families, middle-class families and low-income families, and lower costs of health care and child care and education and in housing and, at the same time, decisively confront the climate crisis. That is why we're going to get this done and we're going to get it done very soon.

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VICE CHAIR AGUILAR: As the Chairman said, we're moving closer and closer to advancing the two cornerstones of President Biden's agenda. The Build Back Better Act, which is a direct investment in working Americans and their families and will have an immediate and profound effect the on communities like ours.

Expanding child care access will allow more parents to get back into the workforce and empower families to successfully get through their own family structure. Universal access to preschool will ensure that every child has the same chance to gain high-quality education, no matter their background, no matter where they come from. And expanded health care coverage to lower costs will lead to better health outcomes for families and alleviate the financial burdens that far too many Americans face.

In addition to this transformative investment in the American people, the House is preparing to pass an infrastructure plan that was agreed to by the Senate. This legislation would create thousands of good-paying jobs, the Chairman and I have talked about this before, modernize our infrastructure system, expand broadband and help us lower emissions to fight the climate crisis. And let's be clear that the American public supports these priorities, and we intend to act on them.

This has been a lengthy process, and sometimes it should be. Legislating takes time and it takes compromise but I'm proud of the progress that we've made and I'm proud of the Democratic Caucus for sticking together to get these bills done.

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DPCC CO-CHAIR DINGELL: Jobs, tax cuts and lower costs, paid for by making the super-wealthy and corporations pay their fair share. That's what Build Back Better is all about, and that's why we're here today, to talk about what it's going to do.

I want to talk about jobs. Together, with President Biden, we have already created nearly five million jobs this year. Growth is up, wages are up and unemployment is down to below 5%. Together with Build Back Better, the Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill will create millions more jobs, good-paying jobs, American jobs, union jobs, jobs that cannot be outsourced. We're going to bring our supply chain back to this country.

This infrastructure package makes the largest public investment, federal investment in public transit ever, the largest federal investment in passenger rail since the creation of Amtrak, the single largest dedicated bridge investment since the construction of the interstate highway system. […]

Build Back Better with the infrastructure package will make even more investments in electric vehicles and other clean energy technology to combat climate change while making our economy more competitive. Rebuilding our infrastructure means rebuilding the middle class in America and it means jobs, jobs, jobs.

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DPCC CO-CHAIR LIEU: President Biden's agenda and that of congressional Democrats has three parts: the American Rescue Plan, the Infrastructure Bill and the Build Back Better Act. And three of the goals were to recover from the pandemic, create jobs and lower taxes. As Co-Chair Dingell said, we've created nearly five million jobs since January 20. We've also cut taxes. We have increased, dramatically, the tax cut for American families with children, and then we sent those payments on a recurring monthly basis in the middle of each month. […]

We hope Republicans will join us in supporting this tax cut. We also know that the contrast is clear. When Republicans were in control, they raised taxes on middle-class families with their SALT provision and they decreased taxes for billionaires and wealthy corporations. When Democrats gained control, one of the first things we did in the American Rescue Plan was cut taxes for working families with children.

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DPCC CO-CHAIR CARTWRIGHT: You know, it's not just about creating jobs and cutting taxes, it's also about cutting costs. The kinds of costs that keep ordinary Americans up at night, worrying if they can cover them. We're lowering costs with these bills for caring for seniors at home, for covering health care in its entirety and for taking care of little kids. Take taking care of seniors-people are tied up at home either watching their parents or paying somebody to do it for them. It's an incredibly expensive endeavor. The Build Back Better Act helps pay for that. […]

When I talk to employers back in my district in Northeastern Pennsylvania, the biggest lament is that they can't fill entry-level jobs, retail and restaurant jobs. They can't fill them. Our local Chamber of Commerce did a survey and they found that 54% of the people who have not returned to those kinds of jobs since the pandemic have not done so because of the scarcity of options for child care. They have to stay home and watch little kids at home. Taking care of this problem fills those gaps, energizes our economy, and the Nobel Prize-winning list of economists all agree that this will reduce inflationary pressures. So we're proud of the Build Back Better Act and all of the things that we're doing this week.

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DPCC CO-CHAIR NEGUSE:It is clear that the House Democratic Caucus is united around the Build Back Better Agenda, which really has three core pillars. One, as you heard so astutely from my colleague from Michigan, creating American jobs, rebuilding our infrastructure and building clean energy technology to combat climate change. Two, as you heard from my colleague from California, Mr. Lieu, rewarding work by cutting taxes for working families. The vast majority of Americans watching this press conference received a tax cut this year as a result of President Biden's leadership and the leadership of House Democrats and Senate Democrats and, as Chairman Jeffries and Representative Lieu both articulated, not a single Republican voted for it.

We are lowering costs, the third core pillar of the Build Back Better Agenda, as Representative Cartwright explained. Ultimately, making sure the costs that keep American families up at night, like health care and child care and home care for aging relatives, are decreased. And we are doing all of this by paying for the investment to make sure that the ultra-wealthy and corporations pay their fair share.

Now, this is important. No one making less than $400,000 a year will pay a penny more in taxes. […]The President often says this, he said when he spoke to the Caucus last week, that for far too long, this economy has worked great for those at the top while ultimately, hardworking Americans who built this country get cut out of the deal. We are dealing working people back in by building an economy that gives them a fair shot. And we're going to make sure that it's paid for by asking the ultra-wealthy to pay their fair share.

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