Jeffries to bring Democrats' concerns to Biden about his campaign

House Democratic Leader Hakeem Jeffries plans to convey the growing concerns of his caucus about President Biden’s campaign directly to the president, multiple sources confirm to CBS News. When asked how or when, one aide would only offer, “By Friday.”

As he exited the House floor Wednesday, Jeffries told CBS News, “We are continuing to have candid and clear-eyed and comprehensive conversations with the House Democratic Caucus throughout the week, and that is the focus of our activity today, tomorrow, and we’ll see where we go from there.” CNN first reported Jeffries’ plan to approach the president.

Jeffries’s plans come as the number of House Democrats publicly calling on Mr. Biden to relinquish his place on the ticket has now risen to nine, with the addition of Rep. Earl Blumenauer, of Oregon, and  Rep. Pat Ryan, of New York, who said he’s “asking Joe Biden to step aside” in the upcoming election to “deliver on his promise to be a bridge to a new generation of leaders.”  Vermont Democrat Peter Welch became the first Senator to call on the President to withdraw from the race.  

“We cannot unsee President Biden’s disastrous debate performance,” Welch wrote in a Washington Post op-ed. “We cannot ignore or dismiss the valid questions raised since that night.”

Jeffries has spent more than a week listening to various factions of the Democratic caucus. On Wednesday, he met with a group of swing-state Democrats as well as the New Democrat Coalition, a source familiar with the meetings confirmed to CBS News. He also joined a Congressional Black Caucus meeting. This week, Jeffries met with the leadership of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, according to two congressional sources.

The Democratic leader described his conversations with colleagues as “a family discussion,” and when asked whether Mr. Biden is a part of that family, Jeffries responded, “We are a separate and co-equal branch of government. We have the right and the responsibility on behalf of the people that we represent, to have these conversations with ourselves about the path forward in the best interests of the American people.” 

One source said that part of the impetus to wrap up the conversations this week is that House members will be in their districts and traveling next week. 

Democratic congressional aides said there is no plan for top Biden advisers to meet with House Democrats, though senators will be hearing from them Thursday. Progressive Caucus Chair Pramila Jayapal said Wednesday she’s still expecting a Biden meeting for her group, and she expects to get details this week on time and date.

“At the end of the day, he is our nominee, and I don’t want to damage our nominee,” Jayapal told CBS News. “I’m going to continue to evaluate for myself where we are and where my district is and where the country is.” 

The chair of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus, Rep. Judy Chu, said Tuesday her group has requested a meeting or call with the president, similar to one he joined with the Congressional Black Caucus and is likely to do with the Congressional Hispanic Caucus. She hasn’t received a response yet.

Though the president told congressional Democrats in a letter this week that he’s “firmly committed” to running, some Democrats in Congress are still suggesting he faces a decision about continuing his campaign and that his future on the ticket remains an open question.

Former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, when asked Wednesday morning whether he has her support to lead the ticket, deferred to Mr. Biden, saying that “it’s up to the president” to decide if he’s going to run.

“We’re all encouraging him to make that decision,” she said on MSNBC. “Because time is running short.”

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