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tv   House Democratic Leaders Hold News Conference  CSPAN  November 16, 2021 2:02pm-2:40pm EST

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>> house democratic colleagues held a news conference on the agenda and the bipartisan infrastructure plan signed into law yesterday.
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jeffers good morning, everyone. we had a very productive caucus meeting earlier today. most importantly, we had an incredibly productive day for the american people yesterday. the bipartisan infrastructure agreement is now the law of the land. that's a great thing for the american people. it's a great thing for the economy. it's a great thing for the build back better agenda. the bipartisan infrastructure agreement will create millions of good-paying jobs for everyday
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americans all across this great country. in the north, the south, the east, and the west, in urban area, suburban america, rural america, small town america, ex-urban area, and appalachia. it's not a win for democrats or a loss for republicans, as some of my colleagues on the other side of the aisle seem to want to frame this tremendous progress for the american people. it's a win for america, delivered with great leadership from president joe biden, house democrats, and senate democrats, partnering in a bipartisan way with a handful of our colleagues on the other side of the aisle. there are approximately 100,000 structurally deficient bridges
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in america that could crumble or collapse at any moment. that's just one example of why this historic investment in fixing our crumbling infrastructure will be so significant for the american people. the jobs that are being created as a result of passage of the bipartisan infrastructure agreement cannot be outsourced to mexico or to china or to other parts of southeast asia. these are good-paying american jobs. that's a win for the american people. and we look forward to continuing our work as we advance the bipartisan or advance the build back better act, and hopefully a handful of
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republicans in the house may be inclined to be supportive. that remains to be seen. as we advance the build back better act at some point before we depart, we are going to create additional good-paying jobs for everyday americans. we're going to cut taxes for working families and middle-class families and low-income families. and we're going to lower costs in health care, particularly by driving down the high cost of lifesaving prescription drugs, cut childcare costs, cut housing costs, and implement universal pre-k for 3 and 4-year-olds all across the country. and in doing so, cut early childhood education costs as well. those will be additional wins for the american people,
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delivering on president biden's promise to build back better. it's now my honor to yield to our distinguished vice chair, pete aguilar. mr. aguilar: thanks, mr. chairman. as the chairman mentioned, yesterday, we were pleased to join our colleagues, including some on the other side of the aisle on the south lawn as the president signed the infrastructure bill. the american jobs bill. and it's so -- we're so thankful for his leadership and we're so thankful to be able to go back to our communities and answer the question that they give to us all the time which is -- when are you going to get this done? when are you going to do something to help our communities? and time and time again, house democrats have been delivering. and that's what we did yesterday, investments, as the chairman mentioned, in crumbling bridges and roads. investments in california in our water systems. reducing our carbon footprint.
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and addressing global supply chain issues by handling the goods movement through the ports of long beach and l.a. these are things that are going to help california. these are things that are going to help our country. and that's why we're so pleased to be able to go back to our communities and tell them that we're doing our best to create good-paying jobs in this country. as the chairman mentioned, jobs that can't be outsourced, jobs that have to be done here in our communities. but our work isn't done. so that's what we continue to do is to lay the ground work to pass the next piece of the president's agenda, the build back better agenda, that will reduce taxes for working parents, address -- continue to address climate change, make investments in childcare and caregiving. those are the things that our communities want to see collectively. that's what the president campaigned on, and that's what we committed to deliver. i look forward to the work, i
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look forward to working with my colleagues to get this done. and we'll now introduce chairman sean patrick maloney. mr. maloney: i thank the distinguished chair and vice chair of the caucus. what i will tell you is that yesterday was a good day for the united states of america. and if you're rooting against this jobs bill, you are rooting against america. and when democrats deliver, we're delivering for america. and when the other side complains about it, they're rooting against america. this is not a democratic win. this is a bipartisan infrastructure bill that will grow our economy and promote -- provide millions of good-paying jobs to our families. of course, our work began earlier this year with the american rescue plan which, quite literally, saved the american economy millions of small businesses and they're working today because of that effort. it also put hundreds of millions of shots in the arms of americans, which is helping to end the pandemic. and we have this week before us, the most important investments
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in our families, in our people since the new deal. we will get that done. and together, that will form a record of results for the united states and all of our people that democrats will be proud to share with our constituents and with those who have doubted whether this government can still work. i want to thank the president for his extraordinary leadership. i want to thank the speaker and our majority leader and our whip for delivering these wins. i thank the gentlemen behind me for doing it. what i can tell you, some of you have heard me call on the white house to go out and sell this package to the american people, to tell the american people what they're doing. we want to -- we want to do our part and so this morning, we were discussing with our colleagues a new effort where you will see every member of the democratic caucus go out and do five events of telling the american people what we're doing in this package. that will be 1,000 events between now and the end of the year describing why this work
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that we have now completed on the infrastructure bill and will soon complete on the build back better act will give people a better country, give them more breathing room for their families and a future they can look forward to. we are going to stick together. we are going to get it done. we are going to tell them we did it. we are going to tell them who the other side is. with those four parts of the strategy, we are going to -- we are going to tackle the toughest problems that face the american people. and we want people to know what we're doing. thank you very much. mr. jeffries: questions. reporter: thank you. i have a question for mr. maloney as well. you have seen retirements come up and i expect more to come up before the 2020 mid-terms. is that why you laid out this plan? is it a messaging problem for selling these to the american people? mr. jeffries: every individual
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that makes that personal decision to retire from the house democratic caucus, we are going to miss. and miss their service and certainly representative jackie speier. an incredible, courageous, bold, fierce advocate for the american people will be missed. but she's made that personal decision and she served this congress, this country and her community ably. this is a redistricting year. sean and i came in in a redistricting year in 2012. pete was a member -- mr. maloney: i tried. mr. jeffries: he's a red-shirt freshman in 2012. he came in in 2014. there was 51 of us. 51 one of us in 2012. and i believe -- sean will
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correct me -- we picked up 15 or 16 seats that year. that means that the vast majority of the class of 2012 came in as a result of retirements. because that's what happens in a redistricting year. and so we're not even on pace to hit that number yet. we'll see what happens. but this is to be expected. i don't believe it has anything to do with our prospects in 2022. we're' going to hold the -- we're going to hold the house and grow our majority and because of the leadership of speaker pelosi, sean patrick maloney and most importantly because we're delivering for the american people. sean. mr. maloney: if you look, just exactly what the chairman said, the numbers for retirement is what happens in pretty much every cycle, let alone a redistricting cycle. i will point out the most high-profile event that happened
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was the governor of new hampshire saying he wanted no part of what the republicans are currently standing for in washington. and so every person who has retired from our caucus has been 100% supportive of this agenda and is proud of the work they're doing now and some would say the most of their career. serving in congress is a personal decision. i don't think the numbers are out of whack with what the historic average is. you can go check it out. i don't make much of it. reporter: as you probably know, the polling shows that infrastructure bill is very popular and the build back better act is not particularly popular right now. what is wrong with the messaging around build back better and how are you going to change that message? mr. maloney: it's not supported by the research. reporter: the individual pieces are popular. when people ask about this act,
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it's not popular. mr. maloney: we're going to stick together. we're going to get it done and tell the people we did it. i think what you just agreed is that the key parts of this measure, like the infrastructure package, are not just popular, they are wildly popular. we are talking about reducing prescription drug prices, particularly for seniors. that's very popular. we're talking about people paying $35 for insulin who might be paying $1,000 right now. trust me, that's popular. we are talking about cheaper ways for seniors to stay at home with dignity as they grow older. we're talking about capping people's childcare costs, which cripples the budgets of many working and middle-class families. we're talking about help raising children. these are all key parts. the climate change initiatives, electrifying the federal fleet, building hundreds of thousands of charging stations across the country, creating millions of jobs, all of these components of the legislation you're talking about are deeply popular. so look, we got a -- some people
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want us to sell the drive. i want to sell the touchdown. and we are in the end zone on the infrastructure bill. we are on the 1-yard line with build back better. and when we describe these achievements to the american public, that will be a record of results that we will be proud to run on and the american people already understand the importance of those issues in their lives. what's missing is to get it done and to tell them we did it. mr. jeffries: go back to this side and we'll go back over. second row. reporter: there seems to be a disconnect with the messaging. voters complain they don't know what's in build back better and some of the democratic members have complained that the white house isn't doing enough to message on it. what is going to be the shift in the message here? mr. jeffries: i'll address that first and give pete a chance to weigh in and yield to chairman maloney for his observations. one, the process of democracy is always messy. but as chairman maloney indicated, the product is
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incredibly popular with the american people because we're delivering some historic important things to lift up the middle class and all those who aspire to be part of it. churchill once said, democracy is the worst form of government ever invented. except for all forms of government that have ever been invented otherwise. and the process can be messy, but the outcome, the outcome in passing the build back better act is going to be so transformational for the american people as we lower costs, as we cut taxes, as we create millions of good-paying jobs that i think it's going to be embraced, not just by democrats, but by independents and by republicans.
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mr. aguilar: this is a package, as we talk in our communities -- and all of us spent time home last week. when we talk in our communities about what's in these bills, there's overwhelming support. local mayor spoke yesterday at the white house in my district. acquanetta warren, who represents small and mid-sized cities. she gave credit for doing this. she's been talking about infrastructure for years and wasn't able to get done. until now. and so she was there with us celebrating because this is going to be mean good-paying jobs. this is going to mean so much help in our communities and we got it done in a bipartisan way. and so, you know, we reject that, you know, this isn't -- this isn't popular. maybe a couple words, you know,
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folks don't understand in a poll. it's our job. that's why we're going out in our communities. that's why the president and the cabinet are going out in the country to educate folks about what's in these bills and to talk with them about the specific improvements in bridges and waterways. issues with climate and electrifying stations. those are the things that our communities are going to want to want. reporter: house the -- select committee -- mr. maloney: it's our job to tell people what we're doing. it's our job to communicate with the american public. we also take seriously we deliver these results and then we describe them. as you just heard, we're going to do 1,000 congressional events over the next six weeks telling people what we're doing. the president is in new hampshire today. that's great. he's going to michigan after that. that's great. every day he's out there telling the american people what we're doing is a good day.
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and i hope -- i hope they have the vice president out there as well who is a terrific communicator and the cabinet so we have a full-court press to communicate with the american public and while we have a tall order in breaking through the noise, delivering these achievements and telling people about them -- remember, we have a plan to give you a better country. the other side has a ploy to win back power for themselves. that's the difference. reporter: thank you. can you tell us where the caucus stands on congressman gosar and if you're going to move forward to strip him of his committee assignments and move forward with a censure resolution? mr. jeffries: no decision has been made with respect to how to hold representative gosar accountable. but it's clear he needs to be held accountable for his disgusting, outrageous, violent
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threat perpetrated against one of our colleagues here, congresswoman ocasio-cortez, as well as the president of the united states of america. but this underscores an incredibly important point right now. house democrats are delivering for the people in meaningful ways related to lowering costs, cutting taxes, and creating millions of good-paying jobs. the house republican conference is all about chaos, crisis, confusion, corruption, and controversy. they are trying to sanction members and strip them of committees, not because of outrageous, violent threats, but because they supported, a handful of them, as in ranking member katko, a bipartisan
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infrastructure agreement that will make a positive difference in the lives of everyday americans. this is what the house republican conference, under kevin mccarthy's leadership, is all about right now. they're out of control. they care nothing about the well-being of everyday americans, the middle class, and those who aspire to be part of it. nothing. it's all about the acquisition of power. reporter: do you think the congressman should be stripped of his committee assignments? mr. jeffries: i'm not going to get out ahead of the caucus' decision in that regard other than to say he needs to be held accountable, and he will be held accountable. perhaps, kevin mccarthy should take steps to hold gosar accountable as opposed to fending off criticisms within his own conference as it relates to sanctioning the 13 republicans who supported
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protecting our crumbling infrastructure. that's outrageous. reporter: there's so much that needs to be done. we have the build back better act. still the debt ceiling needs to be raised. are we going to get this done before the holiday recess? mr. jeffries: well, in my view -- and i'll yield to my two colleagues -- we are proceeding full steam ahead, and when we came into this year, i think our focus was to crush the virus, provide direct relief to everyday americans who are struggling through this once-in-a-century pandemic, and lay the foundation to supercharge our economy for middle-class families and all those who aspire to be part of the middle class. and we've accomplished a lot in terms of that objective. we passed the american rescue plan. we've passed the bipartisan
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infrastructure agreement. and we are going to pass the build back better act. we also are going to deal with the issues related to the debt ceiling and the need to fully fund our government. the date in front of us in that regard is december 3. under chairwoman delauro's leadership, we've done our work in the house. we need partners on the other side of the aisle in the senate to complete that work, and hopefully they're going to be responsible. reporter: to follow up if i can. part of the build back better act, some people are concerned they cannot be used -- use some of the funding, federal funding to send their kids to religious schools. is that something that the democrats would consider changing? mr. jeffries: well, that's probably a question probably best directed to chairman bobby scott. we'll see where that goes. reporter: in 2017 and 2018, you
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frequently lamented that republicans speak in headlines and democrats speak in primetime. how is this any different than the problem you were talking about all those years ago? mr. jeffries: i didn't lament. but it's a -- you're correct, i made that observation. and i made that observation because it happens to be anchored in an important reality that sometimes we tend to speak in fine print because we care about governing. and we care about governing because we care about getting things done for everyday americans. and if you're going to get big, important things done for everyday americans, like social security, medicare, medicaid, the voting rights act, the fair housing act, the civil rights act, the affordable care act, the american rescue plan, and
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now the bipartisan infrastructure agreement, all initiatives led by democratic presidents and democratic controlled houses and senates, you have to master the fine print. and that's what we've done. consistently. for everyday americans. but with sean's leadership and speaker pelosi's leadership, we also recognize we're going to have to message, persuade, and communicate in headlines. the republicans are only interested in tearing down things, not lifting up everyday americans. and so they speak in these negative headlines over and over and over again. we're going to be very successful in getting these things done, mastering the fine print, and then communicating in a persuasive way led by sean and others. what we've done for the american
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people and why it's been so transformational. reporter: to follow up, though. [inaudible] it took years that democrats were able to get a political victory. mr. maloney: yeah, fair enough. all you got was a better country. but we're going to change that. and that's why we're doing 1,000 congressional events all over the country, telling people what we're doing. that's why the president's in new hampshire today communicating with the american public. we take that responsibility seriously. we don't expect them to know if we don't tell them. that's fair. we're going to tell them. and just to build off what the chairman said, my dad used to say, any jack ass can kick down a barn. it takes a carpenter to build one. we are the car pen terse in american -- carpenters in american politics right now. we'll measure twice and cut once. we will grow job, eliminate the supply chain crisis is brings inflation back down, reshores our manufacturing jobs and make
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sure we're not dependent on foreign energy and all the other parts that is holding our country back as we get out of this pandemic disruption. if we care about getting the details and policy right, you know, that's why we see some of these robust policy discussions among democrats. at the end, we're 100% united. we need to be to deliver these votes. we don't have any margin for error. franklin roosevelt had 319 votes in the pass when he passed the social security. he had 100 to spare. we have three. that means the party's been historically united even as we achieve these historic results. mr. jeffries: let me go back and come back to the front row. we'll go to this side and then back there. yeah. you. reporter: are you concerned at all about the c.b.o. score perhaps showing a discrepancy in how much build back better will cost versus the revenue [inaudible] particularly related to the
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i.r.s. and whether that will have an effect on whether the moderates go ahead and support it? mr. jeffries: no. i think, as both sean and pete indicated, we've been historically united. and we will continue to be as we work through these important policy discussions amongst the house democratic caucus family. but at the end of the day, committed, as we've consistently done, to arrive at the highest common denominator in order to deliver the build back better agenda for the people. i think, you know, president biden promised two things in the context of the build back better agenda on the revenue side. it's going to be fully paid for, and it's not going to cost americans who make $400,000 or less a dime in addition to revenue. we are going to keep both of those two promises. reporter: chairman jeffries, inflation has hit a 30-year
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high. the house is about to vote on this $1.75 trillion bill. what are you telling members who are seeing these numbers and are concerned about it? mr. jeffries: i'll speak briefly and then yield to my two colleagues. inflation is a concern that both democrats and republicans should be, you know, working to try to address as best as possible on the fiscal policy side but, of course, a lot of the inflationary issues have to be dealt with in terms of monetary policy with the fed. and they've done a good job, in my view, the fed, in helping us get through this once-in-a-century pandemic through the execution of monetary policy and hopefully they'll address these inflationary concerns, which in many ways, relate to the covid-19 pandemic, creating supply chain dynamics. now, a wide range of economists
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who have looked at the issue of inflation have concluded, one, they expect these are short-term issues. unlike the dynamics that we confronted where we saw double-digit inflation in the 1970's. this is not that. but more importantly, the build back better act, what we can do from the standpoint of fiscal policy is going to cut costs. it's going to cut childcare costs. the average american family spends about $8,600 a year on childcare. the build back better act will reduce that to zero for working families and middle-class families. the average senior in this country pays about $6,000 per year as it relates to lifesaving prescription drugs. we're going to drop that to
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about $2,000. no more than $2,000. we're going -- the cost of housing is increasing. we're investing $150 billion in the creation and preservation of affordable housing. so the build back better act is going to deal with these cost of living issues in a decisive way, some might argue in an historic, transformational way. mr. aguilar: just briefly. we also saw the president act on this back in california working with leaders at the long beach and los angeles ports, addressing the global supply chain, making workers more productive. as the chairman mentioned, lowering the costs that americans are paying. those are issues that are going to help deal and combat inflation, creating jobs, increasing productivity. those are things that we're going to continue to talk about. there's a role for the executive to play. there's a role for us here in congress for us to play in
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addressing this. but we are focused on delivering results for the american public. that's what we're focused on. that's what we go home and talk about, and that's what we'll continue to do. mr. maloney: just like the comments of senator portman at the white house yesterday where he pointed out this infrastructure package is the important anti-inflationary measure we've done in recent weeks. why? because inflation is when demand outstrips supply. this provides huge investments on the supply side. more efficient ports. more efficient roadways. more systems to move goods and services to get our people to and from work you more efficient -- work more efficiently which reduces energy consumption and demand. the fact is a vote against this infrastructure bill is a vote against lowering inflation. and every republican who voted against this infrastructure bill voted against the most important tools yet to lower inflation in addition to the specific help that the chairman mentioned that
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the build back better act will provide for working and middle-class families in terms of their true costs. reporter: mr. schumer talked about oil from the strategic petroleum reserve in order to lower gas prices. do you agree about with that? -- do you agree with that? mr. jeffries: it's worth considering. reporter: [inaudible] to the defense bill. is that something you guys would support? do you think the defense bill could pass if you see those added on to that? mr. jeffries: do you have perspective on that? worthy of taking a look at. reporter: want to ask a quick follow-up on the c.b.o. score. it is supposed to be out by friday. is that something you guys will need to see before a vote on build back better, or are you prepared to take this vote with a lot of fiscal information that you guys already have? mr. jeffries: i think the statement issued by some of our
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colleagues within the caucus on this point was that they're looking forward to additional information from the c.b.o. it didn't necessarily reference a c.b.o. score. last question. all right. thank you, everyone. sorry. reporter: can i get to mr. aguilar. the select committee meeting on whether to hold meadows in criminal contempt prior to thanksgiving? mr. aguilar: i won't get ahead of chairman thompson and vice chair cheney. i will say we'll continue to say that not cooperating with the committee is not an option. we're going to use every tool at our disposal to compel people to speak and not coming before congress is someone setting them self up as we saw with mr. bannon for potential repercussions.
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and so we continue to have a thoughtful deliberation about it. the timeline, i'll let the chairman talk about, but we're committed to making sure we ultimately receive the information we need to produce a report and a document that talks about january 6, leading up -- rallies of january 5 and january 6 and the assault on democracy that we all witnessed. so the chairman might have more to say later this week. but the committee continues to have a good, thoughtful, substantive deliberation. and more importantly, we have over 150 interviews. so we continue to make solid headway in finding out more information. thank you. mr. jeffries: thank you, everyone. [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2021] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit]
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>> the house is in recess. members are debating some 13 bills today mostly dealing with veterans' issues. one of the measure calls for a study on maternal health with a focus on racial and ethnic disparities. another bill would allow the cause of death to be listed on a burn pit registry, documenting their environmental exposures. also, debate on president biden's social spending plan is expected on the floor this week. members have been waiting for an analysis from the congressional budget office on the economic impact of the legislation. as always, live coverage of the house here on c-span. >> c-span is your unfiltered view of government. we're funding by these television companies and more, including spark light. >> the greatest town on earth is the place you call home. at spark light, it's our home, too, and right now we're all facing our greatest challenge. that's why spark light is
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working round the clock to keep you connected. we're doing our part so it's a little easier to do yours. >> sparklight supports c-span as a public service, along with these other television providers, giving you a front-row seat to democracy. jo" continues. host: congresswoman lois frankel is on your screen joining sba zoom -- via zoom. congresswoman, starting with the build back better act, what is the latest you are hearing about when a vote on the house floor will happen this week, and, more importantly, will democrats be unified when the boat happens? guest: grates to be with you today. i do not know exactly when we are going to take it up, but the word is that we will be here until we do that. the democrats in the house are very unified on this. i know a couple of members are waiting for more information


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