Incoming House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries, elected by acclamation, held his first press conference on Wednesday. He opened by calling Pelosi the “extraordinary speaker for the ages.”

Jeffries, born in Brooklyn in a middle-class and working-class family is the first Black man to lead a major party in either chamber of Congress. He said that one of his early influences was Shirley Chisholm, born on this day 98 years ago.

The incoming House Minority Leader said that the mission of the Democrats is to “advance the ball for everyday Americans and get the stuff done.”

Speaking of the Republicans, he said they are “looking forward to finding opportunities to partner with the other side of the aisle and work with them whenever possible. But we will also push back against extremism hard.”

Incoming Democratic Whip Katherine Clark spoke next. She said that the Democrats were able “to come together around shared values.”

Clark said that the message of the incoming leadership is simple: “House Democrats are ready to work for you.” She added the Republican strategy is to “divide” America and stoke division “by turning neighbor on a neighbor.” 

Incoming Democratic Caucus Chair Pete Aguilar said the plan for the 118th Congress is to protect individual freedoms and healthcare. 

Aguilar then quickly turned political and attacked MAGA Republicans. He said that the mandate of the Democrats would be to stamp out extremism. “Unfortunately, there are folks on the other side of the aisle who go to white nationalist conferences, come from the most far right corners of the country. And we’re going to have to continue to push back against those ideas,” he said. 

Jeffries reiteraed that their policy is to extend the hand of partnership. He added that Republicans “temporarily inherit the majority in the next Congress” and that they “are going to have to work out whatever mess and chaos is going on, on the other side of the aisle.”

The 118th Congress will convene on January 3, 2023.

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Ksenija Pavlovic is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of the Pavlovic Today, The Chief White House Correspondent. Pavlovic was a Teaching Fellow and Doctoral Fellow in the Political Science department at...

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