The Democratic Caucus - U.S. House of the Representatives

10/22/2019 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 10/22/2019 11:09

CHAIRMAN JEFFRIES: “WHAT WE’VE SEEN OUT OF 1600 PENNSYLVANIA AVENUE IS A PETULANT CHILD”

October 22, 2019

WASHINGTON- This week, 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 outlined Democrats' signature health care bill, The Lower Drug Costs Now Act, which stops drug companies from ripping off everyday Americans while charging other countries less for the same drug.

CHAIRMAN JEFFRIES: We had a very active discussion earlier today about one of the top priorities in the House Democratic Caucus, H.R. 3, a bill to lower drug prices on behalf of the American people. We've consistently made clear to the president and to the Senate that one of the things that we must accomplish on behalf of those who we have come to Washington to represent is to deal with the outrageously high drug prices and prescription drug medication that we pay here in the United States of America.

There is no justification for the fact that the American people pay more for the same drug often manufactured in the same place as Canada, Australia, Japan, Great Britain, Germany and France. No justification whatsoever.

H.R. 3 will change that by giving the federal government and Medicare the ability to negotiate lower drug prices on behalf of the American people. It is a substantively significant step in the right direction and a fiscally sound piece of legislation. A preliminary score from the CBO is that the bill will save over a 10-year period of time $345 billion.

We look forward to our colleagues on the other side of the aisle and the president and others working with us because they claim to be the party of fiscal responsibility. Don't talk about it. Be about. And we're here to work with them to get something done on behalf of the American people.

We also continue to work toward developing a real infrastructure plan, not the fake one that was introduced in the last Congress by the president. A real one that will fix our crumbling bridges, roads, tunnels, airports and mass transportation system on behalf of the American people.

Infrastructure has traditionally been a bipartisan issue. What is the problem, Mr. President? We were sent here to get things done. We're willing to work with you on drug pricing, infrastructure, and we're trying to get to yes on the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Trade Agreement, but we need a partner. So far, what we've seen coming out of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue often is a petulant child. That's unfortunate. We hope that that changes.

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VICE CHAIR CLARK: This week, we have another opportunity for the Republicans to support a measure of protecting our elections. Unfortunately, back in February, when we passed H.R. 1, the Republicans voted no unanimously on that effort to get dark money out of politics and protect people's rights to vote. But they have another opportunity this week with the SHIELD Act, which is a package of common-sense solutions that can protect our elections from foreign interference. It requires campaigns to report illicit offers of assistance from foreign governments and their agents. It helps prevent foreign interference and deters disinformation in future elections by improving the transparency of online political advertisements. It closes loopholes that allow foreign nationals and governments to spend money and influence our elections and prohibits deceptive practices about voting procedures. We have heard from our intelligence community and from Robert Mueller when he came and testified before Congress in July that Russia's government interfered in the 2016 election and is working to do so every single day for the 2020 election. This is a chance to come together and protect that fundamental right to vote and to make sure that we are keeping our elections free from foreign interference.

And I'd also like to just pull our attention back to unfinished business. We passed over two hundred days ago two common sense provisions that can help reduce gun violence in this country, and they are still collecting dust at Mitch McConnell's door. We know that Americans across the political ideology are with us on these provisions. It is one of the many examples of how the House Democrats are legislating and being blocked by this administration and our Republican colleagues in the Senate.

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

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