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House Dems talk tackling key priorities at annual party retreat

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Democratic members of the U.S. House of Representatives held the “House Democrats 2024 Issues Conference” at the Lansdowne Resort in Leesburg, Va. last week.

President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris were among a list of speakers at the 3-day press conference, as well as Department of Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg andNational Economic Council director Lael Brainard.

Planned Parenthood CEO Alexis McGill and Reproductive Freedom for All CEO Mini Timmaraju also delivered remarks at the retreat.

Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, theGrio.com
US House Minority leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) speaks during a press conference at the US Capitol in Washington, DC, on September 29, 2023. (Photo by ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS / AFP) (Photo by ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS/AFP via Getty Images)

“This is a very important conference for members to come together to focus on what our agenda is on behalf of the American people,” U.S. Rep. Steven Horsford, D-Nev. told theGrio. “It’s also important for us to share our perspective with the other members of our caucus,” said the Congressional Black Caucus chairman. “You don’t always get a time to do that as a caucus.”  

Rep. Hank Johnson, D-Ga., told theGrio that House Democrats “want to put people over politics” and “make life better for the American people.”

He added that House Democrats are tackling issues like “the cost of health care, the cost of living and student loan forgiveness” to help the average American. 

During opening remarks, House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y., stated that his party’s motto for this year is “Finish the Job” as they work to win back the House majority in the 2024 elections. Republicans currently hold a slight majority in the chamber with 219 members to Democrats’ 212.

Members of the CBC, theGrio.com
Rep. Steven Horsford, D-Nev., chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus, conducts a news conference following the CBC’s National Summit on Democracy & Race near Capitol Hill on Tuesday, May 9, 2023. (Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images)

U.S. Rep. Jasmine Crockett, D-Texas, told theGrio that House GOP members have not “accomplished anything since they’ve taken over and gotten the majority in the House.” 

“So do we really want to put an unproductive team in place in the Senate and the House and in the presidency [this November]?” she inquired. “Absolutely not.”

Johnson told theGrio that during this session, House Republicans have only focused their attention on “electing two House speakers, trying to impeach [Dept. Homeland Security] Secretary [Alejandro] Mayorkas, while at the same time declaring war on Taylor Swift.” 

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Crockett believes that voters “can find more common ground with Democrats” than with House Republicans. 

“If you want to continue progress as it relates to climate change or if you want to get some of our rights back when it relates to reproductive access then that’s going to be this team,” she said.

Rep. Jasmine Crockett, D-Texas, theGrio.com
UNITED STATES – NOVEMBER 13: Rep.-elect Jasmine Crockett, D-Texas, speaks during a news conference with newly elected incoming members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus at the AFL-CIO building in Washington, D.C., on Sunday, November 13, 2022. (Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images)

“Do we want to live in a world where everything’s not perfect but at least we know that we have a team that is not continually kicking people that are already down,” she added.

During the conference, Horsford, chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus, held a discussion on diversity, equity and inclusion to reduce the attacks marginalized communities face in the workplace and on college campuses. 

He also told theGrio that this year, the CBC plans to focus on “advancing economic opportunity and wealth creation” for Black Americans.

The caucus members will aim “to build Black wealth in America” and to work with the Biden-Harris administration to ensure that these priorities are  “embedded into the larger Democratic agenda,” he said.

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