WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. House Majority Whip James E. Clyburn issued the following statement responding to Republicans taking his comments on a House Democratic Caucus call last week out of context and weaponizing them in an effort to sabotage the negotiations over the latest COVID19 response package:

“I don’t believe that anyone on the Republican side of the aisle attacking me for comments made on a closed House Democratic Caucus call last week has the benefit of the context of that conversation.

“I outlined exactly what I meant in a memo to my Democratic colleagues on Friday, which began with the following: ‘This pandemic has challenged our nation and shined a spotlight on the structural inequities that make this crisis hit our most vulnerable populations hardest.  We have an opportunity as we work together to craft phase three of our Families First response to the pandemic to invest in sustainable solutions that will restructure some underlying inequities to help those suffering most in this crisis.’

“These are the solutions I advocated for:

  • Investing in universal access to affordable high-speed internet to facilitate online education and telemedicine, including hotspots that could be distributed immediately,
  • Ensuring that elections can be conducted safely and fairly this year by providing for no-excuse absentee voting and vote-by-mail options as well as online registration,
  • Providing additional emergency aid to community health centers and reauthorizing CHCs for five years, enabling them to expand to provide 100 percent coverage to underserved rural and urban communities,
  • Expanding Medicaid in every state under the Affordable Care Act without the need for state expenditures, which would expand health care coverage to two million Americans,
  • Providing Americans direct payments, structured at least partially within existing mechanisms like the Earned Income Tax Credit and the Child Tax Credit, that are means-tested and issued over several months based on economic conditions rather than as a lump sum,
  • Assisting non-profits and places of worship through grants, loans, loan guarantees, and an expanded charitable tax deduction as they help our communities recover, and
  • Easing the burden on Historically Black Colleges and Universities and Minority-Serving Institutions by deferring or discharging payments on capital financing loans to the Department of Education while these campuses are closed.

“These are not partisan issues in my estimation. They are common sense and necessary steps to address the current crisis and provide a structure by which we can more successfully navigate future challenges.”