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Hoyer Remarks at Press Conference Ahead of the Democratic Issues Conference

WASHINGTON, DC – House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (MD) joined House Democratic leadership today for a press conference ahead of the start of the 2021 Democratic Issues Conference. Below is a transcript of his remarks:

“Now, the 117th Congress is facing one of the most daunting scenarios that we've seen. We faced daunting scenarios the last time we were in the Majority in 2009, 2007, but 2008, we had the Great Recession and we needed to respond. And we did so in a very, very decisive way, and it made a difference, which is why we had one of the great growth patterns starting in 2010 because of that bill that we passed. Much of that had been discussed in previous issue conferences, Mr. Chairman.

“I had the privilege for five and a half years of being Chairman of the Caucus, so I know how important these conferences are and I know the work that goes into it. [Rep.] Pete [Aguilar], thank you very much for your leadership, and [Rep.] Katherine [Clark], of course, you were involved in these until you became Assistant Speaker, so thank you as well, [Whip] Jim Clyburn, you and I've been around for a long time, so we’ve been through a lot of these.  

“The House is off to a very good start. We're following a very productive Congress, the 116th, in the House of Representatives. I continue to remind people: the fact that it met a slammed door in the United States Senate did not mean that what we did wasn’t very productive. And very frankly we passed five bills, which kept us out of depression and assisted in confronting COVID-19.

“This week, we're taking action on H.R. 1, which is on the Floor today. We’re going to pass the Justice in Policing Act. The Chairman talked about systemic racism, that is a very key part of our response.

“Over the next two weeks will pass the PRO Act, to make sure that working men and women have the right to organize and bargain collectively so that they can get a fair shake. We're going to look at gun violence – background checks and the Charleston loophole, which is led by [Whip] Jim Clyburn. Ninety percent of America supports that [the background checks] bill, 90%, or about 86%, supported it when we sent it to the Senate in the last Congress and it met a ‘no way’ response. Important women's issues as well - this month as Women's History Month, we're going to pass the Equal Rights Amendment, the Violence Against Women Act Reauthorization. We’re going to deal with immigration. The Dream Act – 85% of Americans support that. So we are doing the people's agenda and we'll pass that over to the Senate.

“As we look ahead to the remainder of 2021, we'll have a lot of work to do on behalf of the American people, much of which we will discuss over these next two days. As the theme of our issue conference says, we will be focused on building back better. That has a lot of applications, but essentially it means we want to come back from the crisis that we have confronted and come back better, and we will do that. That means over the course of this year, we will be looking at, and the Chairman mentioned a number of these issues: rebuilding infrastructure, tackling climate change, strengthening access to affordable health care, expanding economic opportunity, addressing systemic racism. 

“This issues conference will feature important conversations on some of the most pressing issues we face. We'll be hearing from experts in many fields as we have in the past. So I want to thank Chairman Jeffries, Vice Chairman Pete Aguilar and all of the leadership that has worked so hard to get us to today, and get us to tomorrow, get us through the 116th Congress in such a productive way. And I predict the 117th Congress is going to be one of the most productive Congresses in which I have participated in. I thank you very much Mr. Chairman and Mr. Vice Chairman.”