Jeffries insists Biden won’t stop Dems from flipping House

House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) gave a terse “no” on Thursday when pressed on whether President Biden will hurt the Democrats’ efforts to seize control of the House.

The Democratic leader’s comments came ahead of Biden’s high-stakes press conference to close the NATO summit in Washington, as tensions continue to build within the caucus over the president’s ability to beat former President Trump in November.

While fewer than a dozen House Democrats have publicly called for the president to step aside, questions about Biden’s fitness for office have caused tumult in the party since his disastrous debate performance two weeks ago.

Jeffries on Thursday dismissed the notion that President Biden will hurt the Democrats’ efforts to seize control of the House, arguing that the party’s policy agenda is enough to flip the lower chamber in November.

Asked if Biden makes it tougher for Democratic front-liners — the vulnerable lawmakers in contested seats — to win reelection, Jeffries was terse.

“No,” he told reporters in the Capitol.

Pressed on that question, the minority leader guaranteed that Democrats will flip the House at the polls — if they’re successful in conveying their policy agenda to voters.

“House Democrats will win back control of the House of Representatives on Nov. 5 and vacate the extreme MAGA Republican majority — as long as we are able to clearly communicate our agenda,” he said.

That agenda, he said, includes “lowering costs, growing the middle class, defending fundamental freedoms and democracy — and contrast that with the extreme MAGA Republican agenda, which will destroy working families and the middle-class way of life as we know it.”

The comments came at Jeffries’s first press conference since the June 27 debate between Biden and Trump. Biden’s shaky performance during the event sounded alarms among Democrats that keeping Biden as the party’s nominee will result in Republicans winning, not only the White House, but both chambers of Congress as well.

“I’m concerned about him dragging the ticket down,” Rep. Mike Quigley (D-Ill.), who has called for Biden to exit the race, said this week.

The episode has sent Democratic leaders scrambling to decide a path forward, as Jeffries and his top deputies have staged a number of meetings and phone calls with different lawmaker factions to gauge the temperature of the caucus.

Throughout that process, Jeffries has voiced support for Biden “and the Democratic ticket.” But he’s declined to say if Biden at the top of that ticket gives Democrats their best shot at winning. On Thursday, he said he’d continue to be discreet while the internal talks continue.

“House Democrats are engaged in conversations with House Democrats at this moment in time. Those conversations have been candid, clear-eyed and comprehensive,” he said. “And as long as those conversations are ongoing, I’m going to respect the sanctity of those conversations until we conclude that process.”

He did not say how long the conversations will take.

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