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tv   House Democratic Leader Holds News Conference  CSPAN  February 2, 2023 4:40pm-5:07pm EST

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mr. jeffries: good morning, everyone. a wonderful, bipartisan prayer breakfast today. thankful that the president and vice president were with us. thankful for the bipartisan spirit in which the prayer breakfast was conducted and hopefully as we move forward in this 118th congress we can continue to adopt that spirit of
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collegiality and cooperation and try to find common ground whenever and wherever possible. house democrats remain committeed to that very thing. we of course will also consistently push back against the extreme maga republican agenda. whenever and wherever it rears its ugly head. as it is doing once again today. on the floor of the house of representatives. extreme maga republicans in the house have no real agenda when it comes to making life better for everyday americans. their agenda is to cut social security, cut medicare, hold the united states economy hostage and try and impose a 30% national sales tax on everyday americans. which will dramatically increase
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costs on 90% of the american people. that is the extreme maga republican agenda. they have no plan, they have no vision, they have no ideas when it comes to making life better for everyday americans. and that is what today's circus on the floor of the house of representatives will once again reveal. we're still waiting for them to put forward a spending plan so we can debate it. show us your plan. instead, they bring to the floor of the house of representatives today a resolution on socialism. to condemn some dictators that we all condemn. but understand, the goal of this phony, fake and fraudulent resolution is just to somehow provide cover for treedges maga republicans -- for extreme maga
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republicans to try to undermine an agenda that is designed to lift up the health, safety and well-being of the american people. why do we know this? because, going all the way back to the days of f.d.r., through harry truman, into president kennedy, through president johnson, all the way up until president clinton and president obama and president biden, they've called things like social security socialism. medicare, socialism. extreme maga republicans have called public education socialism. medicaid, socialism. the affordable care act, socialism. the american rescue plan, socialism. so the american people should not be fooled by anything that takes place on the floor today
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with respect to this so-called resolution on socialism. the other thing that's going to occur today relates to this effort to remove in a partisan fashion representative ilhan omar from the foreign affairs committee. after house democrats unanimously voted for ilhan to continue her service on the foreign affairs committee. a refugee elected to the united states congress, duly sent back to the house by her constituents in minnesota. now representative omar certainly has made mistakes.
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she has used anti-semitic tropes that were clearly and unequivocally condemned by house democrats. when it took place four years ago. so i just want to briefly explore that timeline. on february 10, 2019, representative omar tweeted, it's all about the benjamins, baby. a reference, apparently, to a pack of pro-israel lobbying group that i and many others have worked closely with and will continue to do so in support of the special relationship between the united states and israel. a relationship that i strongly support, i'll support that special -- i support that special relationship today, i'll
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support that special relationship tomorrow, next week, next month, next year and into the future. because the special relationship between the united states and israel is rooted in shared values, shared strategic interests and my heartfelt belief that israel has a right to exist as a jewish and democratic state. a homeland for the jewish people who have suffered 2,000-plus years of pain, persecution and pogroms. but what's going to take place on the floor today is not a public policy debate. it's not about accountability. it's about political revenge. that is what it's about. ilhan omar on february 10 put out a statement that was immediately, on february 11, condemned unequivocally by the
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entire house democratic leadership. the speaker, the majority leader, the majority whip, the house democratic caucus chair, the vice chair and the assistant speaker. and i'm not going to read the entire statement, but i'll just read the end of it. congresswoman omar's use of anti-semitic tropes and prejudicial accusations about israel's supporters is deeply offensive. we condemn these remarks and we call upon congresswoman omar to immediately apologize for these hurtful comments. as democrats and as americans the entire congress must be fully engaged in denouncing and rejecting all forms of hatred, racism, prejudice and discrimination whenever they are encountered. that's exactly what we did. and a few days later, the entire house unanimously, with representative ilhan omar voting in the affirmative, condemned
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anti-semitism across the world. there has been accountability. ilhan omar has apologized. she has indicated that she'll learn from her mistakes. it's working to build bridges because we believe in building bridges, not walls. building bridges with the jewish community, including leaders right here in the united states congress. is ilhan omar perfect? no, none of us are. we've all fallen short in the eyes of the lord. right here in this capitol, a toeser to said, we all -- a pastor said, we all need grace and in ersy. ilhan omar -- mercy. ilhan omar has been held accountable. this isn't about accountability. it's about political eventing. questions? reporter: thank you, mr. leader. i just want to talk about police
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reform. when do democrats intend to put forward a bill on police reform? since you're in the minority, how confident are you that it will actually get passed in this claim ber? mr. jeffries: i had an opportunity to sit down and talk with leaders within the congressional black caucus last evening, including chairman horsford. some members of the united states senate. some of the leadership within the c.b.c. here in the house, in preparation for the white house meeting that will take place today. i'm not going to get out ahead of that meeting. but i think, as congressman horsford has indicated, we do need to have a real genuine, authentic and bipartisan conversation about dealing with police reform in america and figuring out how do we strengthen the relationship between the police and the community? i believe it's going to be a productive meeting, where president biden -- i won't be a part of that meeting, it will be led by the congressional black
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caucus, but i will fully support their efforts. reporter: talk about some of the remarks from ilhan omar. do you have constituents -- [indiscernible] -- who were directly affected by 9/11 -- [indiscernible] -- how do you talk to them -- [indiscernible] -- mr. jeffries: i said what i had to say about representative omar. but what's interesting is, why am i not being asked questions -- why haven't house republican leaders denounced any of the things that have been said by their members? in fact, their members have been rewarded with committee assignments. the same house republican leaders who are bringing a resolution to the floor today to throw ilhan omar off of foreign affairs, when there's been no accountability for their
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members. by the way, these are just the highlights. i didn't have enough time to come here and display for the american people every single thing that has been said by the extreme maga republicans that is objectable because i'd be here -- objectionable because i'd be here through the entire 118th congress. it would be a marathon. but let me just highlight one at this moment. thomas massie tweets out in september of 2021, directly referencing aipac, which is the organization that was the genesis of the reason why ilhan omar is purportedly being thrown off the committee today. if they can muster the votes. and what does he say in response
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to criticism of the gentleman from kentucky? this is thomas massie saying this. how is this not foreign interference in our elections? that's not an anti-centrallic trope? -- anti-semitic trope? that's not playing into dangerous stereotypes about the jewish community here in america? suggesting that they have dual loyalty, aipac is engaging in foreign interference? aipac is an american-based organization. to this day not a single house republican leader has said a word, a word about thomas massie. not a word. but he's been rewarded. with a seat on the powerful house judiciary committee. and the powerful transportation and infrastructure committee.
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reporter: what conversation, if any, did you have with speaker mccarthy in relation to congresswoman omar? and secondly, just a follow-up on police reform, do you believe that the president could take more executive action? it doesn't appear there's enough votes in the senate to get the george floyd justice in policing act passed. mr. jeffries: well, with respect to speaker mccarthy, you know, our conversations have been generally productive. we agree to disagree at times without being disagreeable. we strongly disagree with each other on the approach that has been taken by house republicans with respect to adam schiff, eric swalwell and ilhan omar. it's a double, triple, quadruple and beyond standard when you think about all of the members, these are just three, who have engaged in highly offensive, at
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times anti-semitic behavior, rhetoric, hate, including making reference, the gentlewoman from georgia, to hitler and nazis and drawing an incredibly dangerous and false equivalentance between hitler, nazis and president joe biden. and marjorie taylor greene has been rewarded with a seat on the homeland security committee. you can't make this up. so, speaker mccarthy knows i strongly disagree with him and them on this issue. and this type of poisonous, toxic double standard is going to complicate the relationship moving forward between house democrats and house republicans. reporter: police reform -- executive action.
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mr. jeffries: i'm not going to get out ahead of the meeting with president biden and members of the c.b.c. reporter: what do you say to people who look at the -- [indiscernible] -- tweets that people have sent out, they're trying to take people off committees, you had arguments in committees yesterday about the pledge of allegiance, about people taking guns to committees. do you look at this stuff and say, this congress is not serious? what do you say to people who say, this is ridiculous. mr. jeffries: this is ridiculous but we don't have the gavel. this is a do-nothing, dangerous, dysfunctional, extreme maga republican majority. what did we do when we had the gavel? american rescue plan, shots in arms, money in pockets, kids back in school. saved the economy from a deep recession. infrastructure investment and jobs act. creating millions of good paying jobs. fixing our crumbling bridges, roads, tunnel, airport, ow sewer, our water systems, our mass transportation systems, high speed internet access in every single zip code.
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what did we do when we had the gavels? gun safety legislation for the first time in 30 years, more needs to be done, it will save lives. what did we do when we had the gavel? the chips and science act. to bring domestic manufacturing jobs back home to the united states of america. and what did we do, these are just the highlights, when we had the gavel? inflation reduction act. strike a dramatic, historic blow against the climate crisis. set our planet on a sustainable trajectory forward. lower energy costs. stand up for clean energy economy. strengthen the affordable care act. lower health care costs. and drive down the high price of life-saving prescription drugs for millions of americans. that's our answer. we lean in to getting things done for the american people and we want to continue to do that. but the extreme maga republican majority is playing political games. this is not about
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accountability, this is not about concerns related to socialism. this is about political revenge and gamesmanship. that's why the majority of the american people know that this majority, led by the extremists in the house, care nothing about making their lives better. back row. reporter: can you talk a little bit about your pick for the weaponization committee, why -- what qualities those members bring to this committee and why you picked delegate plaskett to be the ranking member? mr. jeffries: stacey plaskett is a former federal prosecutor, worked closely with the f.b.i., the department of justice, to make the american people safe. she's distinguished herself as a member of congress, including during the second impeachment trial of president donald trump.
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she halls the leadership, the int detect -- she has the leadership, the intellect and the professional experience to do the job that's necessary to push back against the extremists who will be temporarily running the show in the context of so-called weaponization subcommittee on judiciary. and so does every other member that we've chosen to represent house democrats. reporter: [indiscernible] -- productive or house republicans bring the vote up on representative omar. if that's the case, in your eye, what was more productive in the last congress to -- [indiscernible] -- marjorie taylor greene off committees? is there a big difference between the two in your eyes? mr. jeffries: yeah. the distinction and many of our members have said this and many will publicly on the floor, is that the line should be drawn when there are members of congress who are actively threatening violence against
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colleagues, against speaker emeritus nancy pelosi, against president biden and others. violence. that we should actually take seriously in the aftermath of the january 6 violent insurrection. where the capitol was overrun by people violently intent on halting the peaceful transfer of power. they wanted to assassinate speaker pelosi, hang mike pence, hunt down members of congress, approximately 140 hero police officers were violently beaten, seriously injured, and then the majority of house republicans come back on that same day in the aftermath of a violent insurrection and vote to sustain
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the big lie perpetrated by the twice impeached president of the united states of america. so, yeah, we take violent threats seriously because we've lived them. now, it's interesting that you got a representative -- again, these are just the highlights. cory mills. this is his first act as a member of congress. his first act as a member of congress. what does he have to say in his first act as a member of congress? finally, one less gavel in pelosi's house for paul to fight with in his underwear. violence, an attack on someone
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who is north of 80 and almost beaten to death is no joking matter. that's sanctioning violence. that's his first act as a member of congress. where's the accountability? there is no accountability. it doesn't exist. it's a double standard. cory mills -- cory mills was placed on the very same foreign affairs committee that they're about to throw ilhan omar off. facts don't matter with this extreme maga republican majority. hypocrisy is not a constraint to their behavior. and shamelessness, they believe, is a superpower, and that will all be exposed for the american people. reporter: just to clarify two things, then. are you saying that the -- your vote for that was not related to any anti-semitic comments?
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and then second, are you saying that cory mills is the one that should not be serving on committees? mr. jeffries: what i'm saying is that the house republicans should have one standard equally applied. here was our standard. violent rhetoric from sitting members of congress directed at other sitting members of congress who they serve with in the aftermath of a violent insurrection where people have been violently radicalized by the former member of the united states should not be tolerated. that's our standard. i'm asking the question -- what is the extreme maga republican standard? apparently it's political revenge. reporter: the vote today will complicate your relationship -- can you explain a little bit more what that means? how complicated will it mean going forward if this vote goes
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through? mr. jeffries: well, statements speak for themselves. house democrats will continue on behalf of our efforts to make life better for everyday americans to try to find common ground whenever and wherever possible. that's what the american people want us to do. that is what we will continue to do. but the notion it won't complicate things would not be intellectually honest because there's a double standard at play. when you've got violence and comparisons to hitler and undermining the horror and significance of the holocaust and nazism, when that's being so easily dismissed by the other side of the aisle. >> last question. reporter: thank you. [indiscernible] if omar is kicked off the committee, do you have plans to place her
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elsewhere, if she tried to africa caucus, for example, is there another role she can serve in the democratic caucus? mr. jeffries: in my view, they will continue to productively serve, but we'll cross that bridge in terms of precision when we get there. thank you. [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2023] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit] >> preorder your copy of the congressional directory for the 118th congress. it's your access to the federal government with bio and contact information for every house and senate member, important information on congressional committees, the president's cabinet, federal agencies, and state governors. scan the code at the right to preorder your copy today for early spring delivery. it's $29.95 plus shipping and ng a every purchase
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