The Democrats in the House of Representatives, one of the two parts of Congress, have chosen Hakeem Jeffries from New York to be their caucus leader.
After a unanimous vote on Wednesday, his appointment was a big deal. A Black politician has never been put in charge of a party in the US Congress before.
Jeffries will be in charge of a Democratic party that will lose the majority in the House of Representatives for the first time since 2018. After the vote on Wednesday, Jeffries gave a speech in which he said that the party would try to work with Republicans.
But he added that the Democrats would “push back against extremism whenever it was needed.”
So who is Jeffries, and what does the Democratic Party’s future look like now that he is in charge? Let’s look at who he is replacing and what he has done so far in Congress.
Humbled to be elected incoming House Democratic Leader.
Ready to get to work.
— Hakeem Jeffries (@RepJeffries) November 30, 2022
Jeffries Will Keep an Open Mind as He Works With Gop Leaders in the House
Jeffries said he has an “open mind” about his relationship with Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., the top Republican in the House, who was nominated to be the speaker.
McCarthy is still trying to get the votes he needs for the House as a whole to vote for him. Jeffries said he knows Rep. Steve Scalise, R-La., better than the new majority leader, and that he would look for places where they agree. But he made it clear that McCarthy has a lot of members that Jeffries thinks are “extreme,” and he is ready to fight against any efforts by the GOP to push far-right policies.
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Taking a Look Ahead to the Elections in 2024
Jeffries will also have to work hard to get Democrats to work together so that they can win back the majority in the House of Representatives in 2024.
In 2020, Democrats took over the White House and won most of the seats in both houses of the US Congress. But during the recent midterm elections, Republicans won more than half of the seats in the House. The new members will be sworn in on January 3.
But Democrats were able to hold on to a narrow majority in the Senate. In a letter he sent in November, Jeffries said that getting the House majority back was “our top non-government priority.”
Jeffries will go up against Kevin McCarthy, the leader of the Republican House. McCarthy is a representative from California who has made a name for himself as a loyal supporter of former President Donald Trump. McCarthy will be the Speaker of the House when the new Republican-controlled House meets in January.
Jeffries promised at a press conference on Wednesday that he would “get things done” even though the party he will lead is in the minority. Jeffries said, “We’re going to fight hard.” “Every day, it’s an honor to serve in Congress and do our jobs.