Washington's Culture of Corruption is Out of Control

Floor Speech

Date: Sept. 5, 2018
Location: Washington, DC


Mr. JEFFRIES. Mr. Speaker, wages are down; gas prices are up; and the culture of corruption here in Washington, D.C., is out of control. And all the while, the 45th President of the United States of America spends more time on the golf course than any other President in American history.

Things are spiraling out of control. The stakes are incredibly high. Notwithstanding that, the 115th Congress has been one of the most unproductive Congresses in the history of the Nation.

Democrats and Republicans have two competing visions for what we need to do in order to make sure that every American can continue to experience the American Dream.

Democrats, we want to move the country forward. Others want to turn back the clock.

We are working hard to bring people together. Others are tearing us apart.

We are fighting for working families and middle-class folks. Others are fighting for the wealthy and the well off.

We believe in the public interest. Others are all about the special interests.

Democrats are fighting for the people. Others are fighting for the privileged few. We are fighting for working families, middle-class folks, senior citizens, the poor, the sick, the afflicted, veterans, people in rural America, urban America, suburban America.

Democrats are fighting for the people. But my colleagues on the other side of the aisle, unfortunately, are fighting for millionaires, billionaires, mega corporations, lobbyists, big donors, all to subsidize the lifestyles of the rich and shameless.

Exhibit A is the Republican tax scam. That is their signature piece of legislation. That is what they are talking to the American people about.

You are proud of the fact that you passed a bill where 83 percent of the benefits go to the wealthiest 1 percent in America, explodes the debt by more than $1.5 trillion, then you want to come back to Congress and lecture us about cutting Social Security and Medicare? Are you kidding?

Our For the People agenda will focus on lowering healthcare costs, strengthening the Affordable Care Act, protecting people with preexisting conditions, more than 100 million Americans. They want to take away that protection. We are working hard to dramatically lower the cost of lifesaving prescription drugs. That is the Democratic For the People agenda.

Wage stagnation is still a problem for the American people. The productivity of the American worker over the last 40-plus years has increased by more than 285 percent. During the same period of time, wages have gone up by less than 10 percent.

The productivity gains of the American worker have not gone to the American worker, they have gone to the privileged few. What do the Republicans do about it? Pass a tax bill where 83 percent of the benefits go to the wealthiest 1 percent.

We have a different idea for what should take place. We are fighting for the people through increased pay anchored in a real infrastructure plan that will fix our crumbling bridges, roads, tunnels, ports, mass- transportation system; not a fake plan, it is a real plan. We will invest $1 trillion, create 16 million good-paying jobs, fight to make sure that everyday Americans can provide a comfortable living for themselves and for their families.

And, lastly, we are going to fight to clean up corruption here in Washington, D.C.; not talk about it, actually get something done to make sure that Washington works for the American people.

That is what you deserve. That is what Democrats are fighting hard to deliver: lower healthcare costs, increased pay, clean up corruption to make sure that Washington works for the people.