On Monday, Democratic Leader Hakeem Jeffries, Democratic Whip Katherine Clark and Democratic Caucus Chair Pete Aguilar held a press conference where they highlighted that House Democrats once again put People Over Politics to avoid an extreme MAGA Republican government shutdown and to protect the American people from the extreme right-wing policies.
LEADER JEFFRIES: In a matter of 24 hours, we went from extreme MAGA Republicans breaking their agreement with President Joe Biden and the American people to putting a bill on the House floor with devastating cuts that would have undermined the health, the safety and the economic well-being of the American people, including, in many categories, 30% or more cut from incredibly important programs like public education, providing food to women, infants and children, ensuring that Social Security recipients could address any interruptions with the checks that they need. We went from devastating cuts that would have impacted the health, the safety and the economic well-being of the American people in 24 hours to a spending agreement that meets the needs of the American people across the board. Entirely consistent with what Democrats have said from the very beginning is the only path forward—a bipartisan spending agreement that keeps government open, avoids a catastrophic government shutdown and meets the needs of the American people in every possible way.
We’ve said from the beginning that we were going to protect Social Security, protect Medicare, protect Medicaid, protect public education, protect public safety, protect those individuals who secure us all across the land, protect veterans, protect our ability to continue to combat the climate crisis, protect the economy and protect the ability of our government to provide for the health, the safety and the economic well-being of the American people. And that is what the spending agreement that Democrats overwhelmingly supported on the floor of the House of Representatives accomplished today.
We’re on a path to avoid a catastrophic, extreme MAGA Republican shutdown and to continue to meet the needs of the American people. The American people have won. The extreme MAGA Republicans have lost. It was a victory for the American people and a complete and total surrender by right-wing extremists who throughout the year have tried to hijack the Congress. Moving forward, we will continue to work in a bipartisan way to discuss a year-end spending agreement consistent with our values, meeting the needs of the American people, solving problems on their behalf and putting people over politics. That is what the spending agreement that passed the House floor today has accomplished and moving forward, that will be our guiding principle in getting things done for the American people. It’s now my honor to yield to Katherine Clark, the distinguished House Democratic Whip.
WHIP CLARK: Thank you so much, Mr. Leader, for those comments and for leading our Caucus and putting the American people’s voice into this process. And of course, for your hour today setting out the vision that Democrats have and the contrast with the MAGA extremists. Today, Democrats have ensured that those interests, the American people, have won out over the demands of MAGA extremists, but only after months of Speaker McCarthy and the MAGA majority playing chicken with the lives and livelihoods of the American people. They have brought us to the edge of a needless shutdown, trying to blackmail the country into accepting their extreme right-wing agenda, and today, Democrats came to the rescue. Speaker McCarthy admitted defeat and asked Democrats to put out the fire that he and his party had started.
We proved today that Democrats will continue to unify around our shared values, we will continue to put the concerns of the American people first and we will not allow the twisted priorities of the MAGA Republicans to become law. As we move forward, as the Leader said, we will continue to try and build a budget in a bipartisan way that will meet the needs of the American people and live up to the spending agreement that Kevin McCarthy has already agreed to back in June. And I call on Speaker McCarthy not to let the pro-Putin part of his Conference win the day, and bring a vote to the floor on assistance to Ukraine so we can continue to defend their democracy and our own. And with that, I yield to our amazing champion for our Caucus, our Caucus Chair, Pete Aguilar.
CHAIR AGUILAR: Thank you, Whip Clark. I want to start by thanking Whip Clark and the Floor team who helped guide our efforts and guide our success, what you saw here today. And to Leader Jeffries, who spoke so eloquently on the House Floor about our shared values, but also about our path ahead and how difficult it has been that the MAGA extremism has permeated the Republican Conference for so long. And when the Democratic Caucus, when I convened them with Vice Chair Lieu, and we needed more time to read the text and to read the document, it was Whip Clark and Leader Jeffries who wanted to ensure that Members had the time and the space to understand what this— what was in this package.
Because for the Democratic Caucus, and this isn’t the same for the Republican Conference, the details matter. Helping people is why we come here. We want to make a difference in our communities. We want to help our communities. And in order to do that, we wanted to make sure that we got it right. And because of our actions and the unity of the Democratic Caucus that you saw on full display here today, we were able to do just that. We were able to put the needs of the American public first. We were able to keep government open, protect our communities, ensure that servicemembers were not asked to go to work without getting a paycheck. Those are the types of things that we can do because of our Democratic unity. So privileged to be part of this team and to be a member of the the Democratic Caucus who helped deliver and put people over politics.
LEADER JEFFRIES: Me again. I thank Whip Clark and Chairman Aguilar for their tremendous leadership in holding the Caucus together throughout this entire process, as we’ve been battling extreme MAGA Republicans and their reckless effort to try to dramatically cut services for everyday Americans or shut down the government. We were able to stop that from happening, and House Democrats stood together in that regard. And I thank Katherine and Pete for their tremendous leadership.
Full press conference can be watched here.