BROOKLYN, NY – Today, Democratic Leader Hakeem Jeffries appeared on PIX 11 Morning News to discuss how House Democrats remain committed to defending our democracy, protecting Social Security and Medicare and standing with the people of Ukraine.
MANNARINO: So, Congressman, let’s talk about this, one year since the war began, right, President Biden clearly making this strong statement with this aid package following his unprecedented top secret visit to the war zone earlier this week. So I guess, is there bipartisan support that you’re seeing for the $2 billion aid package and what will it provide?
JEFFRIES: Well, that remains to be seen in terms of whether there will be bipartisan support. But certainly, House Democrats stand behind President Biden’s effort to stand with the people of Ukraine in their incredibly brave and courageous fight against Russian aggression and the war that was launched one year ago. It’s important to keep in mind that there were many people who believed that Russia would be able to be successful within at least a week. But one year later, they have been pushed back significantly. But it’s still going to be very important for us to be able to support the Ukrainian army and military’s ability to defend itself against this violation, in the view of many, of international law in terms of Russian aggression.
SANCHEZ: So sad that it has dragged on this long. There is another battle, though, closer to home that you’re trying to get to the bottom of, concerning the January 6th riots and the thousands of hours of security footage that Speaker Kevin McCarthy gave to that Fox News outlet. So you called it an egregious breach of security and you’ve been having meetings all week about this, right, what exactly happened? So what’s the outcome of those meetings right now and what would be the outcome? Will, Speaker McCarthy be sanctioned for his actions here?
JEFFRIES: Well we’re trying to get to the bottom of what happened, as you indicated. One, on January 6, 2021, that was a violent insurrection as part of an effort led apparently by the former President of the United States of America in terms of his perpetrating the big lie in order to try to halt the peaceful transfer of power in the United States of America, which is the hallmark of our democracy. Approximately 140 Capitol Police and Metropolitan Police Department officers were seriously injured as a result of the events of the January 6 insurrection, a handful of officers actually lost their lives. And so this was one of the most serious instances of violence toward our government in the history of this country and it cannot simply be dismissed. Now, there were real security concerns that continue to exist in America as a result of the rise of political violence, which is one of the reasons why so many members on Capitol Hill, both in the House and in the Senate, as evidenced by Leader Schumer’s letter, are concerned by the release of these security video footage tapes and we want to get to the bottom of why it happened and, of course, how do we stop this from ever happening again.
MANNARINO: Okay. I want to talk about something that’s on the mind of many here locally, we’re talking about national debt. Right, and it can get complicated when you talk about the national debt and government shutdown and so on and so forth. If there’s a default, which could happen, right, it could actually happen sometime over the summer. In layman’s terms, for your constituents over in Brooklyn, what would the impact be if there was to be a default?
JEFFRIES: Well, it’d be very catastrophic. First time that it will have ever occurred in the history of the country and we’re approximately 247 years old. It would limit our ability to potentially provide Social Security and Medicare benefits, the veterans benefits and other benefits that people have earned throughout their lives in terms of their health, their safety and their economic well-being. This is why we are committed to making sure there is no default. This relates to bills that the Congress has already incurred, and all we’re saying is that the United States of America always pays its bills. And if we’re to default, there’d be big trouble for the economy and for the American people.
SANCHEZ: So what? Standing in the way of reaching a deal here? Do you think it’s going to go down to the wire?
JEFFRIES: Well, right now, the problem is that the extreme MAGA Republicans who are in charge in the House of Representatives are willing to risk a default in order to try to dramatically cut things like Social Security and Medicare. President Biden has been very clear, House and Senate Democrats have been very clear, we will not allow that to happen. And so we just need the House Republicans, at some point, including many here in New York, to conclude that a default would be reckless and dangerous and cannot be allowed to happen.
Full interview can be watched here.