Hakeem Jeffries NY-08

Hakeem Jeffries

Summary

Current Position: US Representative of NY District 8 since 2013
Affiliation: Democrat
Former Position: State Delegate from 2007 – 2012
Other Position:  Chair, House Democratic Caucus
District:  Borough of Brooklyn

Hakeem Jeffries, an attorney, represents the diverse Eighth Congressional District of New York, an area that encompasses large parts of Brooklyn and a section of Queens. He has served as House Minority Leader and Leader of the House Democratic Caucus since 2023.

In Congress, Jeffries chaired the House Democratic Caucus from 2019 to 2023. The members of the caucus unanimously elected him to succeed Nancy Pelosi as leader in November 2022. This made him the first African American to lead a party in either chamber of the United States Congress.

Hakeem Jeffries: ‘Republicans Have Adopted Voter Suppression As A Campaign Tactic’

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News

About

Hakeem Jeffries 1Hakeem Jeffries represents the diverse Eighth Congressional District of New York and is serving his sixth term in the United States Congress.

Rep. Jeffries is the Democratic Leader, having been unanimously elected to that position by his colleagues in November 2022. In that capacity, he is the highest-ranking Democrat in the House of Representatives. He is also the former Chair of the Democratic Caucus, Whip of the Congressional Black Caucus and previously co-chaired the Democratic Policy and Communications Committee where he helped develop the For The People agenda.

In Congress, Rep. Jeffries is a tireless advocate for social and economic justice. He has worked hard to help residents recover from the devastation of the COVID-19 pandemic, reform our criminal justice system, improve the economy for everyday Americans and protect our healthcare from right-wing attacks.

Since President Biden took office in January 2021, Rep. Jeffries has been instrumental in House Democratic efforts to put people over politics by lowering costs, creating better-paying jobs and fighting for safer communities. Over the past two years Democrats have passed the American Rescue Plan, the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, the CHIPS and Science Act and the Inflation Reduction Act.

In 2022, Rep. Jeffries was able to secure $21.9 million for projects in Brooklyn to provide food for the hungry, fund overdue improvements to medical centers, support organizations working to uplift our neighborhoods, deepen our cultural understanding and more through the 2022 Community Project Funding process. In the spring of 2022, he successfully fought against the splitting of Bedford Stuyvesant into multiple Congressional Districts during the broken and gravely flawed redistricting process unleashed by partisan Republicans and their judicial co-conspirators in New York.

Last Congress, Rep. Jeffries was one of the most effective legislators, passing multiple bills through the House of Representatives and into law with substantial bipartisan and stakeholder support. These measures touched on diverse subject matters and were drafted with the intention of making meaningful improvements to our federal laws and programs. Such bills included measures to ensure veterans and their families have access to benefits information (H.R. 2093, Public Law No. 117-62), to measure the progress of recovery and efforts to address corruption, rule of law and media freedoms in Haiti (H.R. 2471, Public Law No. 117-103), to protect attorney-client privilege for incarcerated individuals corresponding electronically with their legal representatives (H.R. 546) and to eliminate the federal sentencing disparity between drug offenses involving crack cocaine and powder cocaine once and for all (H.R. 1693).

In the 116th Congress, Rep. Jeffries was similarly active in the legislative process, with many of his bills passing the House of Representatives and becoming law. They included bills to create a copyright small claims board allowing the creative middle class to protect their works (H.R. 2426, Public Law No. 116-260), to expand scholarship opportunities available to Pakistani women (H.R. 4508, Public Law No. 116-338) and to provide entrepreneurship counseling and training services to formerly incarcerated individuals (H.R. 5065).

In January 2020, Rep. Jeffries was selected by Speaker Nancy Pelosi to serve as one of seven House Impeachment Managers in the Senate trial of President Donald Trump, becoming the first African American man to serve in that role. During the nearly three-week trial, Congressman Jeffries argued that President Trump should be removed from office for abusing his power by pressuring a foreign government, Ukraine, to target an American citizen as part of a corrupt scheme to interfere in the 2020 election. The House Impeachment Managers established with a mountain of evidence that crimes against the Constitution were committed. Nevertheless, the Senate failed to remove the President without hearing from a single witness during the trial.

On March 9, 2021, the House of Representatives passed H.R. 1280, the “George Floyd Justice in Policing Act” for the second time through the House. During both pushes, Rep. Jeffries helped lead the charge with respect to passage of this historic police reform bill, which included legislation authored by the Congressman to criminalize the chokehold and other inherently dangerous tactics such as a knee to the neck. Rep. Jeffries remains dedicated to working with his colleagues to make transformational police reform a reality and breathe life into the principle of liberty and justice for all.

Rep. Jeffries has played a major role in shaping the Congressional response to the COVID-19 pandemic. He has fought hard to assist state and local governments whose budgets have been devastated by the virus, pushed for an extension of the emergency unemployment benefit and supported efforts to keep everyday Americans in their homes. Rep. Jeffries also worked across the aisle with Rep. Peter King (R-NY) to secure billions of dollars in funding for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority in the CARES Act (H.R. 748, Public Law No. 116-136), which became law in March 2020. At home, Rep. Jeffries partnered with the Governor to expand testing in hard-hit communities of color by establishing walk-in sites at houses of worship throughout New York City. He denounced discriminatory social distance policing that targeted communities of color and helped bring about a change in policy. In the community, Rep. Jeffries continues to personally distribute food, masks, gloves and hand sanitizer to residents in need.

In the 115th Congress, Rep. Jeffries worked across the aisle as the lead Democratic sponsor of the FIRST STEP Act (S. 756, Public Law No. 115-391), a strong, bipartisan criminal justice reform bill that the President signed into law in December 2018. Rep. Jeffries partnered with Congressman Doug Collins, a conservative Republican from rural Georgia, on the legislation, which is widely viewed as the most meaningful criminal justice reform effort in a generation.

The FIRST STEP Act provides retroactive relief for the shameful crack cocaine sentencing disparity that unfairly destroyed lives, families and communities. The law shortens sentences by ensuring inmates can earn the 54 days of good time credit per year. Congress intended to apply the change retroactively, to the benefit of thousands of currently incarcerated mothers, fathers, daughters and sons. It provides $375 million over five years to expand re-entry programming, including education and vocational training, which is proven to dramatically reduce recidivism and help prepare for a successful transition back into society. In order to strengthen and preserve family relationships, the bill requires the Bureau of Prisons to house incarcerated individuals within 500 driving miles of their relatives and permits the transfer of lower-risk inmates to home confinement. In addition, the FIRST STEP Act bans the immoral practice of shackling women throughout the duration of their pregnancy, during childbirth and for three months postpartum.

Rep. Jeffries also played a key role in the House passage of the historic Music Modernization Act (MMA) (H.R. 5447, Public Law No. 115-264), which became law in 2018. Heralded as a sweeping update to our copyright laws, the MMA will improve the licensing process so that songwriters, artists and musicians can continue to share their creativity with the world. Because of the MMA, songwriters are more likely to get paid a fair price for their work, and digital music providers like Spotify and Pandora will be able to operate more efficiently. In an era of crisis and dysfunction in Washington, the power of music brought Democrats and Republicans in Congress together to collaborate on groundbreaking legislation, ushering our music copyright system into the 21st Century.

In April of 2018, the President signed the Rep. Jeffries-authored Keep America’s Refuges Operational Act (H.R. 3979, Public Law No. 115-1689) into law. Each year, 47 million Americans visit wildlife refuges, generating almost $2 billion in local economic activity. This law will keep America’s refuges operational by supporting the volunteers who dedicate thousands of hours to maintain our public lands. Passage of this bill was part of a bipartisan, bicameral effort to ensure Americans can visit, explore and study wildlife and experience our nation’s vast natural beauty for generations to come.

Several other pieces of Rep. Jeffries-authored legislation passed the House of Representatives in the 115th Congress, including bills to investigate the public health impact of synthetic drug use by teenagers (H.R. 449, Public Law No. 115-271) and updating federal regulations to remove racially offensive terminology from use (H.R. 995). Rep. Jeffries’ H.R. 3229 (Public Law No. 95-521), which helps protect judicial officers from threats, harm and harassment by those who would seek to compromise the integrity of our judicial branch, also passed the House in 2017 and was signed into law in March 2018. Additionally, Rep. Jeffries authored H.R. 3370 (Public Law No. 95-921), the Fry Scholarship Enhancement Act, which became law as part of the Harry W. Colmery Veterans Educational Assistance Act of 2017. It will expand the availability of education benefits to the children and spouses of service members killed in the line of duty.

In the 114th Congress, Rep. Jeffries teamed up with Congressman Peter King to pass the Slain Officer Family Support Act of 2015 (H.R. 1508, Public Law No. 113-227), which President Obama signed into law. That law extended the tax deadline so that individuals making charitable donations to organizations supporting the families of assassinated New York Police Department (NYPD) Detectives Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos, could apply such tax deductions to the prior year’s tax return.

In the 113th Congress, Rep. Jeffries successfully passed H.R. 5108 (Public Law No. 113-227), legislation that established the Law School Clinic Certification Program of the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) into law. This program had been operating in a pilot capacity since 2008 and enabled students at participating law schools to gain experience in patent and trademark law while providing legal assistance to inventors, tech entrepreneurs and small businesses. The bipartisan bill, which was signed by President Obama, expanded the program by removing its “pilot” status, making it available to all accredited law schools in the country that meet the program’s eligibility requirements.

Rep. Jeffries has been actively involved in the passage of a number of other key pieces of legislation, including the Disaster Relief Appropriations Act of 2013 (H.R. 152), a bill that provides billions of dollars in Superstorm Sandy recovery to the Eighth District and other affected areas. The Congressman also sponsored — and passed as part of the National Defense Authorization package — the Prison Ship Martyrs’ Monument Preservation Act, which directs the U.S. Secretary of the Interior to study the feasibility of designating the Prison Ship Martyrs’ mausoleum in Brooklyn as a national monument. Consisting of a 100-foot-wide granite staircase and a central Doric column 149 feet in height, the monument in Fort Greene Park houses the remains of 11,500 Revolutionary War soldiers who were kept as prisoners of war by the British.

While he remains committed to working diligently in Washington on behalf of New York’s Eighth Congressional District, Rep. Jeffries also works tirelessly to keep in close contact with constituents. In January, the Congressman begins each year with annual remarks to the district. During the spring and summer, he holds “Congress on Your Corner” outdoor office hours throughout the district. At each stop, the Congressman sets up a table in front of a local post office or on neighborhood corners where constituents are able to meet with him one-on-one. He also hosts regularly-scheduled telephone town hall meetings that provide an opportunity for constituents to speak directly with the Congressman about local and national issues.

Prior to his election to the Congress, Rep. Jeffries served for six years in the New York State Assembly. In that capacity, he authored laws to protect the civil liberties of law-abiding New Yorkers during police encounters, encourage the transformation of vacant luxury condominiums into affordable homes for working families and improve the quality of justice in the civil court system.

In 2010, Rep. Jeffries successfully led the first meaningful legislative reform of the NYPD’s aggressive and controversial stop-and-frisk program. His legislation prohibits the NYPD from maintaining an electronic database with the personal information of individuals who were stopped, questioned and frisked during a police encounter but not charged with a crime or violation.

In the same year, Rep. Jeffries sponsored and championed groundbreaking civil rights legislation to end prison-based gerrymandering in New York State. This archaic practice of counting incarcerated individuals at the location of their imprisonment, rather than their homes, undermined the fundamental democratic principle of one person, one vote. After passage of Jeffries’ legislation, New York became the second state to count incarcerated individuals in their home districts in census calculations.

Congressman Jeffries obtained his bachelor’s degree in political science from the State University of New York at Binghamton, where he graduated with honors for outstanding academic achievement. He then received his master’s degree in public policy from Georgetown University. Thereafter, Rep. Jeffries attended New York University School of Law, where he graduated magna cum laude and served on Law Review.

After completing law school, Rep. Jeffries clerked for the Honorable Harold Baer Jr. of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York. He then practiced law for several years at Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP, an internationally renowned law firm and served as counsel in the litigation department of Viacom Inc. and CBS. He also worked as of-counsel at Godosky & Gentile, a well-regarded litigation firm in New York City.

Rep. Jeffries was born in Brooklyn Hospital, raised in Crown Heights and is a product of New York City’s public school system, having graduated from Midwood High School. He lives in Prospect Heights with his family.

Personal

Full Name: Hakeem Sekou Jeffries

Gender:  Male

Family:   Wife: Kennisandra; 2 Children

Birth Date:  08/04/1970

Birth Place:  Brooklyn, NY

Home City:  Prospect Heights, NY

Religion:  Christian

Source: Vote Smart

Education

D, New York University Law School, 1994-1997

MPP, Public Policy, Georgetown University, 1992-1994

BA, Political Science, State University of New York at Binghamton, 1988-1992

Political Experience

Minority Leader, United States House of Representatives, 2023-present

Chairperson, House Democratic Caucus, United States House of Representatives, 2019-2023

Candidate, United States House of Representatives, New York, District 8, 2022

Assembly Member, New York State Assembly, District 57, 2006-2012

Representative, United States House of Representatives, New York, District 8, 2012-Present

Offices

Washington, DC Office

2433 Rayburn House
Office Building
Washington, DC 20515
Phone: (202) 225-5936
Hours: M-F 9 am – 5 pm

Central Brooklyn District Office

55 Hanson Place
Suite 603
Brooklyn, NY 11217
Phone: (718) 237-2211
Hours: M-F 9am – 5pm

South Brooklyn District Office

445 Neptune Avenue, 1st Floor
Community Room 2C
Brooklyn, NY 11224
Phone: (718) 373-0033
Hours: M-F 9am – 5pm

Contact

Email: School

Web Links

Politics

Source: none

Finances

Source: Open Secrets

Committees

Rep. Jeffries is the House Democratic Leader, having been elected to that position by his colleagues in November 2022. Prior to being the Democratic Leader, he was the Chairman of the House Democratic Caucus in the 116th and 117th Congresses. He is also the former Whip of the Congressional Black Caucus and previously co-chaired the Democratic Policy and Communications Committee where he helped develop the For The People agenda in 2018 when Democrats won back the House Majority. Please see below for Rep. Jeffries’ committee and subcommittee assignments since his first term in office.

117th Congress

House Budget Committee

House Judiciary Committee

Subcommittee on Antitrust, Commercial, and Administrative Law

Subcommittee on Courts, Intellectual Property, and the Internet

116th Congress

House Budget Committee

House Judiciary Committee

Subcommittee on Courts, Intellectual Property, and the Internet

Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security

115th Congress

House Budget Committee

House Judiciary Committee

Subcommittee on Courts, Intellectual Property, and the Internet

Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security, and Investigations

114th Congress

House Education and Workforce Committee

Subcommittee on Health, Employment, Labor, and Pensions

Subcommittee on Higher Education and Workforce Training

House Judiciary Committee

Subcommittee on Courts, Intellectual Property, and the Internet

Subcommittee on Regulatory Reform, Commercial and Antitrust Law

113th Congress

House Budget Committee

House Judiciary Committee

Subcommittee on Courts, Intellectual Property, and the Internet

Subcommittee on Regulatory Reform, Commercial and Antitrust Law

New Legislation

Issues

Source: Government page

When President Biden took office in 2021, he inherited a nation in the midst of a deadly pandemic and an economic crisis. But Democrats have been hard at work on behalf of the American people getting big things done. And this year, we have experienced record-low unemployment coupled with strong and steady economic growth.

The 117th Congress from 2021 through 2022 was one of the most consequential Congresses in American history. We passed the American Rescue Plan, the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, gun safety legislation for the first time in 30 years, the CHIPS and Science Act and the Inflation Reduction Act.

We made the D in Democrat stand for deliver. And, we will continue our work into this year ahead.

I will work alongside my colleagues in the House Democratic Caucus to continue to put people over politics by lowering costs, creating better-paying jobs and fighting for safer communities.


The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act

“This bill will provide the largest single federal investment in infrastructure in the history of the Republic” -Rep. Jeffries

This law will rebuild the roads, bridges and rails of America. It will expand access to clean drinking water and high-speed internet. Additionally, the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act will advance environmental justice and tackle the climate crisis. It will also ease inflationary pressures, strengthen supply chains and create good-paying union jobs. Overall, the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act will grow the economy sustainably and equitably for all Americans in every single zip code.


The Inflation Reduction Act

“House Democrats are continuing to put people over politics by lowering costs, creating better-paying jobs and fighting for safer communities.” -Rep. Jeffries

The Inflation Reduction Act will lower costs, creates millions of good-paying jobs, makes health care more accessible, delivers the most significant action on climate in history and dramatically reduces the debt.


The CHIPS and Science Act

“We passed the CHIPS and Science Act that will bring back domestic manufacturing jobs to the United States of America.” -Rep. Jeffries

The CHIPS and Science Act will boost American semiconductor research, development and production. Semiconductors are crucial to almost every industry and are used in everything from computers to cars to healthcare devices. However, while the U.S. invented the semiconductor, it only produces approximately 10 percent of the world’s supply. The CHIPS and Science Act will unlock hundreds of billions of private sector semiconductor investments while simultaneously lowering costs for families, addressing inflation and strengthening national security.


Bipartisan Safer Communities Act

“We passed gun safety legislation for the first time in 30 years that will save lives” -Rep. Jeffries

The Bipartisan Safer Communities Act (Public Law No: 117-159) is a commonsense law that will help keep America’s children safe from gun violence. It includes enhanced background checks for those under 21, protections for victims of domestic violence and penalties for straw purchasing. The Bipartisan Safer Communities Act also allocates funds for state crisis intervention orders, violence interruption and mental health services.

More Information

Services

Source: Government page

I am honored to represent you in Congress and am here to help in any way possible. I hope all the information in this section will be helpful whether you need help with a federal agency, would like to order a flag, are requesting tours and tickets for a visit to Washington, D.C. or are considering applying to a military academy. Thank you for visiting!

Veterans Resources

Art Competition

Congressional Commendations

Flags

Help with a Federal Agency

House App Challenge

Military Academy Nominations

Tours and Tickets

District

Source: Wikipedia

New York’s 8th congressional district for the U.S. House of Representatives is in the New York City borough of Brooklyn. It is currently represented by Representative Hakeem Jeffries, the House Minority Leader.

From 1993 to 2013, the district covered much of the west side of Manhattan and western coastal sections of Brooklyn. However, after decennial redistricting, it was redrawn to take in much of the territory previously in the 10th district. It now encompasses majority African-American and Caribbean-American Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brownsville, Canarsie, East New York, Ocean Hill, Spring Creek, and East Flatbush; the mostly white neighborhoods of Bergen Beach, Gerritsen Beach, Howard Beach, Marine Park, Mill Basin and Sea Gate; and mixed neighborhoods like Clinton Hill, Flatlands, Fort Greene, Ozone Park, Brighton Beach, and Coney Island.[4] Most of the old 8th was renumbered as the 10th.

Wikipedia

Hakeem Sekou Jeffries (ˌhɑːˈkm hah-KEEM; born August 4, 1970[2]) is an American politician and attorney who has served as House Minority Leader and Leader of the House Democratic Caucus since 2023. He has been the U.S. representative for New York’s 8th congressional district since 2013 and was a member of the New York State Assembly from 2007 to 2012.

Jeffries was born and raised in Crown Heights, in the New York City borough of Brooklyn. He attended law school at New York University, graduating with honors and becoming a successful corporate lawyer before running for elected office. Both his state assembly district and congressional district are anchored in Brooklyn.

In Congress, Jeffries chaired the House Democratic Caucus from 2019 to 2023. The members of the caucus unanimously elected him to succeed Nancy Pelosi as leader in November 2022. This made him the first African American to lead a party in either chamber of the United States Congress.

Early life and career

Jeffries was born in New York City, at Brooklyn Hospital Center to Laneda Jeffries, a social worker, and Marland Jeffries, a state substance-abuse counselor.[3][4] He has one brother, Hasan. He grew up in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, and is a lifelong member of the Cornerstone Baptist Church.[5][6]

Jeffries graduated from Midwood High School, a public school, in 1988.[7] He then studied political science at Binghamton University, graduating in 1992 with a Bachelor of Arts degree with honors. During his time at Binghamton he became a member of the Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity.[8]

Jeffries continued his education at Georgetown University‘s McCourt School of Public Policy, earning a Master of Public Policy degree in 1994. He then attended New York University School of Law, where he was a member of the New York University Law Review. He graduated magna cum laude in 1997 with a Juris Doctor degree and delivered the student address at Convocation.[9][10]

Upon graduating from law school, Jeffries became a law clerk for Judge Harold Baer Jr. of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.[11]

From 1998 to 2004, Jeffries was in private practice at the law firm Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison. In 2004, he became a corporate litigator for television companies Viacom and CBS, where among other matters he worked on the Super Bowl XXXVIII halftime show controversy.[12][13] During Jeffries’s time at Paul, Weiss, he also served as director of intergovernmental affairs for the New York State Chapter of the National Association of Minority Contractors (construction contractors) and as the president of Black Attorneys for Progress.[14][15]

New York State Assembly

Jeffries was elected and reelected, serving in the New York State Assembly for a Brooklyn district from 2007 to 2012.[16] During this time, he introduced over 70 bills.[17]

In 2007, while still in his first term in the State Assembly, Jeffries endorsed and supported Barack Obama, and was among Obama’s earliest supporters in Hillary Clinton‘s home state. In one interview, he said, “When I first ran for office, some people suggested that someone with the name ‘Hakeem Jeffries’ could never get elected, and when I saw someone with the name ‘Barack Obama’ get elected to the U.S. Senate, it certainly inspired me.”[18]

While in the Assembly, Jeffries distinguished himself as a leader on seeking bipartisan criminal justice reform.[19][20] In 2010, Governor David Paterson signed a Stop-and-Frisk database bill sponsored by Jeffries and then-Senator Eric Adams that banned police from compiling names and addresses of those stopped but not arrested during street searches.[21]

Jeffries wrote and sponsored that law.[22][23] He also sponsored and passed House Bill A.9834-A (now law), the inmate-base gerrymandering law that counts prison populations of upstate districts as part of the public population, becoming the second state to end this practice.[24]

Committee assignments

  • State House Committee on Banks
  • State House Committee on Codes
  • State House Committee on Corporations, Authorities, and Commissions
  • State House Committee on Correction
  • State House Committee on Housing
  • State House Committee on Judiciary
    • State House Subcommittee on Banking in Underserved Communities
    • State House Subcommittee on Mitchell-Lama
    • State House Subcommittee on Transitional Services
    • State House Subcommittee on Trust and Estates[25]

U.S. House of Representatives

Portraits of Jeffries as a member of the House of Representatives from 2013

Early years in Congress (2013–2018)

On April 11, 2013, Jeffries introduced the Prison Ship Martyrs’ Monument Preservation Act (H.R. 1501; 113th Congress). The bill would direct the Secretary of the Interior to study the suitability and feasibility of designating the Prison Ship Martyrs’ Monument in Fort Greene Park in Brooklyn as a unit of the National Park System (NPS).[26] Jeffries said, “as one of America’s largest revolutionary war burial sites and in tribute to the patriots that lost their lives fighting for our nation’s independence, this monument deserves to be considered as a unit of the National Park Service.”[27] On April 28, 2014, the Prison Ship Martyrs’s Monument Preservation Act was passed by the House.[28]

On July 15, 2014, Jeffries, who in private practice addressed intellectual property issues, introduced the To establish the Law School Clinic Certification Program of the United States Patent and Trademark Office (H.R. 5108; 113th Congress), which would establish the Law School Clinic Certification Program of the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) to be available to accredited law schools for the ten-year period after enactment of the Act.[29]

In 2015, Jeffries led the effort to pass The Slain Officer Family Support Act,[30] which extended the tax deadline for people making donations to organizations supporting the families of deceased NYPD Detectives Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos. The families of the officers, who had been killed in their patrol car on December 20, 2014, in the Bedford-Stuyvesant section of Jeffries’s district, had been the recipients of charitable fundraising.[31] Before the law’s enactment, people would have had to make those contributions by December 31, 2014, to qualify for a tax deduction in connection with taxes filed in 2015. With the change, contributions made until April 15, 2015, were deductible. President Obama signed the bill into law on April 1, 2015.[32]

In 2015, prominent African-American pastors called for Jeffries to step into the 2017 Democratic primary for mayor against de Blasio. Jeffries said he had “no interest” and wished to remain a member of Congress.[33]

On May 22, 2018, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the bipartisan First Step Act by a 358–36 vote with Jeffries as a key sponsor.[34][35] President Trump signed the bill into law on December 21, 2018. It eased mandatory minimum federal sentences, expanded early releases, and ended some draconian practices, such as the shackling of women inmates giving birth.[36][37]

Jeffries also played a key role in the House passage of the bipartisan Music Modernization Act, which became law in 2018.[38]

Among the practices Jeffries continued from his time in the Assembly in Congress is Summer at the Subway, rebranded as “Congress on Your Corner”, offering outdoor evening office hours from June through August near subway stations that allow him to connect and hear constituents’ concerns firsthand.[39]

Committee assignments

As a freshman, Jeffries served on the influential Budget Committee.[40] Later, he served on the Judiciary Committee. During the 114th Congress, Jeffries also served on the House Education and Workforce Committee. He has been a long-standing member of the Congressional Black Caucus and the Congressional Progressive Caucus.[41]

Leadership (2018–2022)

Democratic Caucus Chair

Jeffries with then-Speaker Nancy Pelosi and President Joe Biden in March 2022.

On November 28, 2018, Jeffries defeated California Congresswoman Barbara Lee to become chair of the House Democratic Caucus.[42] His term began when the new Congress was sworn in on January 3, 2019.[43] In this role, he was the fifth-ranking member of the Democratic leadership.[42]

First impeachment of President Donald Trump

On January 15, 2020, Jeffries was selected as one of seven House managers presenting the impeachment case against Trump during his trial before the United States Senate.[44] On January 22, 2020, a protester in the Senate gallery interrupted Jeffries by yelling comments at the senators seated a floor below. Jeffries quickly responded with a scripture verse, Psalm 37:28, “For the Lord loves justice and will not abandon his faithful ones”, before continuing with his testimony.[45]

During the impeachment hearings, in response to Trump’s counsel’s rhetorical question “Why are we here?” to the Senate, Jeffries delivered a soliloquy that concluded by quoting Biggie Smalls: “and if you don’t know, now you know”.[46][47] Billboard magazine called it a “noteworthy mic-drop moment”.[48]

House Democratic Leader (2022–)

With outgoing Speaker Pelosi’s endorsement, Jeffries was elected unopposed as House Democratic Leader for the 118th Congress in November 2022, becoming the first African American to lead a party caucus in either chamber of Congress.[49][50][51] Nominated for Speaker of the House by the caucus in the subsequent election, he received 212 votes, all from Democrats, on nearly every ballot.[52] (David Trone missed the 12th round of voting for a surgery but returned for the 13th round.)[53][54]
When Kevin McCarthy was elected Speaker, Jeffries handed him the gavel after a 15-minute speech.[55] The speech was dubbed the “ABCs of Democracy”.[56] The video of Jeffries’s alphabet speech has been viewed over 2.4 million times on social media alone.[57]

House Democrats unanimously nominated him again in the October 2023 election after the successful motion to vacate McCarthy’s speakership.[58]

Caucus memberships

Committee assignments

Political positions

Jeffries with President Zelenskyy of Ukraine in September, 2023.

He is a member of the Congressional Black Caucus and, before becoming caucus leader, was a member of the Congressional Progressive Caucus.[61] Jeffries is noted for his ability to work with Democrats across the caucus and Republicans on shared goals. Considered a centrist, he has said he is willing to work with Republicans “whenever possible, but we will also push back against extremism whenever necessary.” He also maintains good working relationships with more progressive Democrats.[62] In the 117th Congress, he voted with President Joe Biden’s stated position 100% of the time according to a FiveThirtyEight analysis.[63]

In an interview with NY1, Republican former U.S. Representative Bob Goodlatte said of Jeffries: “One of the best skills a legislator can have is to be willing to communicate with anybody in a constructive way about how to get things done. And that’s exactly the approach that he’s taken”, calling Jeffries “open to compromise”.[34]

Since taking federal office, Jeffries has been called “a rising star”.[64] He has been appointed to the House Judiciary Committee Task Force on Over Criminalization,[65] and was also appointed the whip of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC).[66][67] He plays in the infield on the Congressional Baseball Team.[68]

Congressional Black Caucus

Before becoming House Democratic Leader, Jeffries served as the Congressional Black Caucus whip, having been elected to the position in November 2014. In that role, he was actively involved in maintaining the CBC’s historic role as “the conscience of the Congress”,[69] addressing special orders on the House floor, including regarding voting rights (after the Supreme Court decision on the 1965 Voting Rights Act), and in December 2014 leading CBC members in a “hands up, don’t shoot” protest of killings of African-Americans by police.[70][71]

After the shootings in Charleston in June 2015 by a white supremacist inspired by the Confederate flag, Jeffries led the effort to have the flag removed for sale or display on National Park Service land, an amendment the Republican House leadership eventually killed after its initial support and inclusion on voice vote. During debate on the House floor, Jeffries stood next to the Confederate battle flag, said he “got chills”, and lamented that the “Ghosts of the Confederacy have invaded the GOP”.[72]

Criminal justice reform

Jeffries called for a Department of Justice investigation into the circumstances of Eric Garner’s death.[73] On a visit to the Staten Island site where Garner was killed, recorded by a CNN news crew in December 2014, Jeffries encountered Gwen Carr, Garner’s mother.[74] In April 2015, he stood with Carr to announce the introduction of the Excessive Use of Force Prevention Act of 2015, which would make chokeholds illegal under federal law.[75][76]

Gun laws

Jeffries speaking in 2023.

Jeffries supports increased background checks for potential gun owners and a ban on assault weapons.[77] After a mass shooting in Nashville, Tennessee left six dead, he called on Congress to bring the Bipartisan Background Checks Act and assault weapons ban to the House floor. “Our schools have become killing fields and our children slaughtered by weapons of war. It is time for Congress to put kids over guns”, Jeffries wrote to Speaker McCarthy.[78][79]

Abortion rights

Jeffries criticized the Supreme Court ruling overturning Roe v. Wade, calling it “an assault on freedom, the Constitution and the values shared by a majority of Americans”.[80] In the 118th Congress, he joined House Democratic lawmakers to reintroduce the Women’s Health Protection Act, which would legally protect providing and accessing abortion care nationwide for patients and abortion providers.[81][82]

LGBTQ rights

Jeffries supports banning discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. In 2019, he voted in favor of the Equality Act and urged Congress members to do the same.[83][84]

Environment

In June 2024, after New York Governor Kathy Hochul indefinitely halted the implementation of congestion pricing in New York City, Politico reported that Hochul had acted in response to concerns raised by Jeffries. A spokesperson confirmed that Jeffries supported a “temporary pause” in implementing congestion pricing.[85][86]

Cannabis

Jeffries reintroduced bipartisan legislation, the Preparing Regulators Effectively for a Post-Prohibition Adult Use Regulated Environment (PREPARE) Act, to create a transparent process for the federal government to establish effective regulations to be enacted upon the termination of the prohibition of cannabis.[87] He also co-sponsored the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement (MORE) Act, which would end the federal prohibition and criminalization of cannabis by removing it from the Controlled Substances Act and facilitate the expungement of low-level federal cannabis convictions while incentivizing state and local governments to do the same.[88]

In the past, Jeffries called on the New York City Police Commissioner to reform its cannabis arrest policy after reports showed that low-level cannabis arrests, which increased dramatically under Mayor Michael Bloomberg‘s administration’s application of stop-and-frisk, were still rising in New York City under Bloomberg’s successor, Bill de Blasio.[89][90]

Trump impeachment

Jeffries voted to impeach President Donald Trump during both his first and second impeachments in the House.[91] He repeatedly called Trump’s presidency “illegitimate” due to the Russian interference in the 2016 United States presidential election.[92][93]

Foreign affairs

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine

Jeffries with Secretary of State Antony Blinken in July 2023.

A member of the bipartisan Congressional Ukraine Caucus, Jeffries has spoken out against Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.[94][95] He defended the Biden administration’s assistance to Ukraine throughout the crisis and voted to send relief.[96] In April 2024, he voted for military aid package supplementals for Ukraine, Israel, and Taiwan.[97][98][99]

Syria

In 2023, Jeffries voted against H.Con.Res. 21, which directed President Joe Biden to remove U.S. troops from Syria within 180 days.[100][101]

Israel

Jeffries at a pro-Israel conference in Washington, D.C. on October 17, 2023

Jeffries visited Israel for his first trip abroad as House Democratic Leader.[102][103] In Israel, he led a delegation of House Democrats (Gregory Meeks, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Yvette Clarke, Stacey Plaskett, Nanette Barragan, Josh Gottheimer, Steven Horsford, Lizzie Fletcher, Joe Neguse, Dean Phillips, and Sara Jacobs) and met with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.[104][103]

Jeffries firmly supports Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish and democratic state. He has been called “one of the most pro-Israel Democrats in the House”.[105] Jeffries also believes Israel has the right to defend itself from terrorism.[106][107][108]

Pro-Israel groups cheered Jeffries’s ascent to House Democratic Leader due to his staunch support for Israel.[109] He has traveled to Israel five times since being elected to Congress.[110] In 2020, Jeffries told an American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) conference that “back home in New York City we consider Jerusalem to be the sixth borough”.[109]

Upon the onset of the 2023 Israel–Hamas war, Jefferies reiterated his support for Israel, saying, “Our commitment to Israel’s security is ironclad.”[111] On November 9, 2023, he rejected calls for a ceasefire.[112] Jeffries spoke at the March for Israel on November 14, 2023, condemning antisemitism and calling for the safe return of all hostages taken captive by Hamas, and a “just and lasting peace”.[113][114]

Elections

New York State Assembly

In 2000, while a lawyer at Paul Weiss, Jeffries challenged incumbent Assemblyman Roger Green in the Democratic primary. He criticized Green for inattentiveness to his constituents’ needs and preoccupation with pursuing higher office after the incumbent had run for New York City Public Advocate in 1997 and had spoken of his plans to run for Congress upon the retirement of Edolphus Towns.[115][116] Jeffries lost the primary, 59% to 41%,[117][118] but remained on the Independence Party line in the general election, receiving 7% of the vote to Green’s 90%.[119]

During post-census redistricting, Jeffries’s home was drawn one block outside of Green’s Assembly district as Prospect Heights was removed from the district. Jeffries was still legally permitted to run in the district for the 2002 cycle, as state law requires only that a candidate live in the same county as a district they seek in the first election after a redistricting, but this complicated his path and left Jeffries unable to challenge Green in the 2004 Democratic primary.[120] Green claimed he did not know where Jeffries lived.[118][121][122][123] Jeffries lost the 2002 primary, 52% to 38%.[124][125] Interviewed later about the redistricting, Jeffries said, “Brooklyn politics can be pretty rough, but that move was gangsta.”[126]

The 2002 redistricting left Jeffries unable to challenge Green in the 2004 Democratic primary, which took place after Sheldon Silver and Democratic leadership forced Green to resign after he pleaded guilty to billing the state for false travel expenses. Green was renominated unopposed.[120][127]

In 2006, Green retired from the Assembly to run for the U.S. House from New York’s 10th congressional district against incumbent U.S. Representative Ed Towns. Jeffries ran for the 57th district again and won the Democratic primary, defeating Bill Batson and Freddie Hamilton with 64% of the vote.[128][129][130] In the general election, he handily defeated Republican nominee Henry Weinstein.[131]

Jeffries was reelected in 2008, defeating Republican nominee Charles Brickhouse with 98% of the vote.[132] In 2010 he was reelected to a third term, easily defeating Republican nominee Frank Voyticky.[133]

U.S. House

2012 election

Jeffries during the 112th Congress

In January 2012, Jeffries announced that he would give up his Assembly seat to run for the U.S. House from New York’s 8th congressional district.

Jeffries expected to give Towns a strong challenge in the Democratic primary—the real contest in this heavily Democratic, black-majority district. But with Jeffries assembling “a broad coalition of support”, Towns announced his retirement on April 16, leaving Jeffries to face city councilman Charles Barron in the Democratic primary.[134][135][136][137][138]

Jeffries was supported by a broad coalition of local leaders from across the district. On June 11, 2012, former Mayor Ed Koch, Congressman Jerrold Nadler, Councilman David Greenfield, Assemblyman Dov Hikind and other elected officials and community leaders held a joint event to support Jeffries’s campaign.[139][140]

While President Barack Obama did not openly support candidates in Democratic primaries, he and President Bill Clinton together took a photograph with Jeffries weeks before his 2012 Congressional primary against Charles Barron, which was effectively used in campaign literature.[141]

Jeffries defeated Barron in the June 26 primary election, 72% to 28%.[142][143] A New York Daily News editorial noted that Barron had been “repudiated” in all parts of the district, including among neighbors on Barron’s own block in East New York, which he lost.[144]

New York’s 8th congressional district, 2012 Democratic primary[145]
PartyCandidateVotes%
DemocraticHakeem Jeffries 28,271 71.8
DemocraticCharles Barron11,13028.2
Total votes39,401 100.0

In the general election, Jeffries defeated Republican nominee Alan Bellone and Green Party nominee Colin Beavan with 71% of the vote.[142][146][147][145]

On January 3, 2013, he was sworn in to the 113th Congress. He has since been reelected six successive times.[148]

New York’s 8th congressional district, 2012[145]
PartyCandidateVotes%
DemocraticHakeem Jeffries178,68887.5
Working FamiliesHakeem Jeffries5,3512.6
Total Hakeem Jeffries 184,039 90.1
RepublicanAlan Bellone15,8417.8
ConservativeAlan Bellone1,8090.9
TotalAlan Bellone17,6508.7
GreenColin Beavan2,4411.2
Total votes204,130 100.0
Democratic hold

2014 election

Jeffries was reelected to the House in 2014 without opposition.[149]

New York’s 8th congressional district, 2014
PartyCandidateVotes%
DemocraticHakeem Jeffries70,46984.0
Working FamiliesHakeem Jeffries6,7868.1
Total Hakeem Jeffries (incumbent) 77,255 92.1
ConservativeAlan Bellone6,6737.9
Total votes83,928 100.0
Democratic hold
2016 election

In 2016, Jeffries faced no primary challenger.[150] He defeated a Conservative Party challenger with 93% of the vote.[151][152]

New York’s 8th congressional district, 2016
PartyCandidateVotes%
DemocraticHakeem Jeffries203,23588.4
Working FamiliesHakeem Jeffries11,3604.9
TotalHakeem Jeffries (incumbent)214,59593.3
ConservativeDaniel J. Cavanagh15,4016.7
Total votes229,996 100.0
Democratic hold
2018 election
Jeffries during the 115th Congress

In 2018, Jeffries faced no primary challenger. He was reelected with 94% of the vote.[153]

New York’s 8th congressional district, 2018
PartyCandidateVotes%
DemocraticHakeem Jeffries170,85089.3
Working FamiliesHakeem Jeffries9,5265.0
TotalHakeem Jeffries (incumbent)180,37694.3
ConservativeErnest Johnson9,9975.2
ReformJessica White1,0310.5
Total votes191,404 100.0
Democratic hold
2020 election

In 2020, Jeffries faced no primary challenger. He was reelected with 84% of the vote.[154]

New York’s 8th congressional district, 2020
PartyCandidateVotes%
DemocraticHakeem Jeffries207,11174.8
Working FamiliesHakeem Jeffries27,82210.0
Total Hakeem Jeffries (incumbent) 234,933 84.8
RepublicanGarfield Wallace39,12414.1
ConservativeGarfield Wallace2,8831.1
TotalGarfield Wallace42,00715.2
Total votes276,940 100.0
Democratic hold
2022 election

In 2022, Jeffries faced no notable primary challenger and was reelected with 71.63% of the vote in the general election.[155]

New York’s 8th congressional district, 2022[155]
PartyCandidateVotes%
DemocraticHakeem Jeffries (incumbent)99,07971.63%
RepublicanYuri Dashevsky36,77626.59%
ConservativeYuri Dashevsky2,2841.65%
TotalYuri Dashevsky39,06028.24%
Write-in1910.14%
Total votes138,330 100%

Personal life

Jeffries is married to Kennisandra Arciniegas-Jeffries, a social worker with 1199 SEIU‘s Benefit Fund. They have two sons and live in Prospect Heights, Brooklyn.[9][156]

Jeffries is a Baptist.[157]

Jeffries’s younger brother, Hasan Kwame Jeffries, is an associate professor of history at Ohio State University[158] and the author of Bloody Lowndes: Civil Rights and Black Power in Alabama’s Black Belt.[159]

Hakeem and Hasan are the nephews of Leonard Jeffries, a former professor at City College of New York.[156][160] While in college, Hakeem Jeffries wrote an editorial defending his uncle and Louis Farrakhan when his uncle was invited to speak at Binghamton University.[160][161] He has said he only has a “vague” recollection of the events. His spokesperson said, “Leader Jeffries has consistently been clear that he does not share the controversial views espoused by his uncle over thirty years ago.”[160]

See also

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External links

New York State Assembly
Preceded by

Member of the New York State Assembly
from the 57th district

2007–2012
Succeeded by

U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by

Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from New York’s 8th congressional district

2013–present
Incumbent
Party political offices
Preceded by

Chair of the Democratic Policy and Communications Committee
2017–2019
Served alongside: Cheri Bustos, David Cicilline
Succeeded by

Preceded by

Chair of the House Democratic Conference
2019–2023
Succeeded by

Preceded by

House Minority Leader
2023–present
Incumbent
U.S. order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded by

United States representatives by seniority
129th
Succeeded by


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