WASHINGTON — Representative Pramila Jayapal (WA-07), chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, issued this statement following President Biden’s first State of the Union address:
“Tonight, the President put forward a record of accomplishment and a vision for the country that we can all be immensely proud of. In the midst of a global pandemic, economic recession, and the immense task of rebuilding from the Trump years, the progress the President and our Democratic majority have made in the past year is nothing short of extraordinary.
“We passed the American Rescue Plan, which has led to the biggest yearly job growth in history, creating 6.4 million jobs in 2021 and averting the risk of a double-dip recession. Wages are up, unemployment is at the lowest rate since 1969, and the United States is the only major advanced economy with its GDP back at pre-pandemic levels. 4.2 million more people have health insurance than they did last year, and thanks to the Child Tax Credit, we lowered hunger across the country by 32 percent and cut child poverty in half.
“The President has restored many of our foreign alliances, which has already proven critically important as the United States confronts Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, with a strong focus on diplomacy paired with costs and consequences for Putin’s devastating war.
“The Biden administration is using its power to fight big corporate monopolies that are increasing costs and killing small businesses. Congress passed the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act to repair our crumbling roads, bridges, and waterways, and finally get lead out of water, all by creating good-paying, union jobs. And we are on our way to the COMPETES Act becoming law, which will take on inflation and rebuild U.S. supply chains that have been eroded by monopolies that stopped investing in America, bringing down costs for working people.
“Now comes the work to continue this progress. The challenges that families faced before the pandemic are still with us. That’s why in addition to continuing to fight the pandemic and rebuild the economy, Congress must make real strides in the promises we made to the American people.
“As the President emphasized tonight, we must pass legislation to lower the costs of Pre-K, health care, home-based care, and housing, and to ensure that child care doesn’t cost families more than 7 percent of their income — all by finally making the wealthy and corporations pay their fair share. He underscored the need to take meaningful action to address the climate crisis and deliver a roadmap to citizenship for immigrant communities. And as he said, “capitalism without competition is exploitation” — and the Progressive Caucus is similarly committed to taking on corporate profiteering and monopolistic abuse.
“President Biden has significant power to effect immediate, meaningful change for people across America, and we urge him to use it aggressively. The President can use his executive authority to bring down the costs of prescription drugs and stop Big Pharma’s price gouging; decrease carbon emissions to fight the climate crisis; cancel student debt and bolster our economy; protect workers’ rights and raise their wages; and provide immigration relief and rebuild our refugee system. In the coming weeks, the Progressive Caucus will release our executive action agenda for the President that details these steps, and more.
“Democrats in the White House and Congress have shown how much we can accomplish in a year. If we remain steadfast to our commitment to providing relief our communities need, lowering costs, and making life easier for working people, we can deliver.”