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Biden, Holder to headline House Democratic retreat this week

Former VP Joe Biden and ex-Attorney General Eric Holder will be the headline speakers at this week's Democratic House retreat.
Joe Biden
Former Vice President Joe Biden speaks at Rutgers University on Oct. 12.Julio Cortez / AP file

WASHINGTON — As they fight to win back control of Congress this November, House Democrats will gather this week for their annual issues conference. Former Vice President Joe Biden will give a keynote address to kick off the conference, centered around the theme of “United for A Better Tomorrow,” on Wednesday and will be followed by a host of other Democratic notables.

That list of speakers includes Former Attorney General Eric Holder and former Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe.

“The impressive collection of speakers House Democrats will hear from this week will underscore Democrats’ vision for this country and that we have the leadership needed to put it into action,” Lauren French, a spokesperson for the House Democratic Caucus, told NBC News.

The three-day retreat will take members away from the nation’s capital and to scenic Cambridge, MD on Maryland's Eastern Shore. House Republicans held their annual three day retreat last week in West Virginia.

The 193-member Democratic caucus will also hear from two mayors — Topeka Kansas Mayor Michelle De La Isla and Hoboken New Jersey Mayor Ravi Bhalla — during a panel on “Changing the Landscape” sharing their insights on the impact Republican policies have had on their towns.

Historically, midterms tend to favor the party out of the White House and Democrats are hoping to continue this trend in 2018. In the House, Democrats need to pick-up 24 seats to regain control of the chamber.

This week, the caucus will also hear from Richard McDaniel, a senior campaign staffer for Democratic Sen. Doug Jones, who won a long-shot victory in Alabama's special election last December. They will also hear a panel about “Engaging all Communities” — which includes representatives from the Latino Victory Fund and the Human Rights Campaign — as Democrats look to build a diverse voter base ahead of the midterms.

“Democrats are united behind a common purpose: We’re fighting to advance an agenda that puts all Americans on the path to financial security and uplifts communities so students can learn without amassing a lifetime of debt, men and women can secure good-paying jobs and meaningful careers, and seniors can retire with dignity after contributing to our country,” French said.

Government funding is slated to run out on February 8th — in the middle of this year’s retreat. Despite the looming deadline, House Democrats still plan to head to Cambridge as it is likely another short-term funding measure will pass Congress early in the week to avert a shutdown.