WASHINGTON — Representative Pramila Jayapal (WA-07), chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, issued the following statement on the election of members to fill out the Democratic Caucus leadership for the 118th Congress: Representatives Ted Lieu (CA-33) for Democratic Caucus Vice Chair; Jim Clyburn (SC-06) for Assistant Democratic Leader; Joe Neguse (CO-02) for DPCC Chair, Veronica Escobar (TX-16), Dean Phillips (MN-03), and Lauren Underwood (IL-14) for DPCC Co-Chairs; Sara Jacobs (CA-53) for “Five Terms or Less”; and Representatives-Elect Jasmine Crockett (TX-30) for Freshman Leadership Representative and Robert Garcia (CA-42) for Freshman Class President:

“I want to congratulate my colleagues for stepping up to take on the mantle of leadership in the Democratic Caucus. It is essential that Democrats are not just an opposition party next Congress, but also a proposition party — putting forward a proactive vision for policies that invest in working families, advance equity and justice, and meet the challenges facing our country, from economic inequality and voter suppression to the climate crisis. These positions are key to helping us achieve that. Democrats can and will continue to show the American people their priorities are our priorities, and that the work to deliver for them will not stop.

“We’re particularly proud to see Progressive Caucus members elected to many of these roles. Representatives Lieu, Neguse, Escobar, and Jacobs, as well as Representatives-Elect Crockett and Garcia, will do us proud, and ensure the progressive perspective continues to be represented at the Leadership table. Along with the top three leaders, progressives will now make up the majority of the elected House Democratic Caucus Leadership. It’s a clear sign that progressives will continue to be, as Majority Leader Hoyer has said, the ‘beating heart’ of the Democratic Caucus — proud and committed governing partners, dedicated to the success of our party and working people across this country.”

WASHINGTON — Representative Pramila Jayapal (WA-07), chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, issued the following statement on the election of Representatives Hakeem Jeffries (NY-08), Katherine Clark (MA-05), and Pete Aguilar (CA-31) for Minority Leader, Whip, and Democratic Caucus Chair for the 118th Congress, respectively:

“I am thrilled to congratulate my colleagues on their unanimous support in elections to serve as the next leaders of our Democratic Caucus. With this new generation of leadership, House Democrats are well-positioned to enter the 118th Congress and confront the challenges ahead. Our Caucus leaders, all of whom will be women or people of color, including the first ever Black member to lead a party in Congress, will now look more like America — an essential step toward ensuring a body that is truly representative of communities across the country. We are especially proud of the background our colleagues will bring to their roles: Representative Aguilar as a champion of Latinos and immigrant justice, a critically important issue to the CPC, and Representatives Jeffries and Clark, whose ascension marks the first time ever that two of the top three positions will be held by current Progressive Caucus members.

“I look forward to continuing to work closely with Representatives Jeffries, Clark, and Aguilar to advance progressive priorities, including lowering costs, raising wages, and advancing equity and justice, and to ensure progressive members and the movements we come from have a seat at Democrats’ decision-making table.”

WASHINGTON — Representative Pramila Jayapal (WA-07), chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, issued the following statement on the announcement of a deal reached by House Democrats to advance contract legislation for railway workers that includes paid sick leave, one of the primary asks of worker union negotiators:

“Recent years have put the bottomless greed of America’s largest corporations on display, and railway workers’ fight for a fair contract is no different. Last year, the seven major railway companies in the U.S. and Canada made $27 billion in profits — a $15 billion increase from the previous decade. Six of those repaid wealthy shareholders with a total of $146 billion in stock buybacks and dividends. Under the last contract, worker pay increased by less than 14 percent, while those chief executives doubled their own salaries. The workforce is half its size from 2000, and still the railroads refuse to grant their workers the most basic benefit earned through their labor — paid leave to go see a doctor or care for a sick family member — claiming financial burden.

“Progressives believe every worker is entitled to dignity and respect in the workplace, and has the right to unionize and collectively bargain for better wages and benefits. While rail corporations have amassed billions in profits and reduced their workforces, railway workers are asking for nothing more than paid sick days to look after loved ones and their own health. Progressives have championed paid leave for workers across industries, and we will not abandon that commitment.

“Last night, following productive conversations between Congressional Progressive Caucus members, Transportation and Infrastructure Chair Peter DeFazio (OR-04), and House Leadership, Speaker Pelosi announced a deal that allows our chamber to pass contract legislation for railway workers that includes paid sick leave. Through a House procedure known as ‘enrollment correction,’ we have been able to mandate that any House legislation to codify the existing tentative agreement will be accompanied by legislation that addresses the workers’ long standing demand for fair paid leave. 

“The Progressive Caucus will continue to fight to ensure that all workers have paid sick leave guaranteed and that labor rights are upheld.  I thank Speaker Pelosi and Leadership for their cooperation, and my Progressive Caucus colleagues for their indefatigable advocacy and commitment to workers’ rights.”

WASHINGTON — Representative Pramila Jayapal (WA-07), chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, issued the following statement in response to the Biden administration’s announcement it would extend the pause on federal student loan repayment until June 30, 2023:

“I applaud President Biden’s announcement today that the White House will extend the repayment pause on student debt payments — action that progressives have loudly championed, including through our CPC Executive Action Agenda. This will protect more than 40 million borrowers, many of whom would otherwise face predatory interest rates, as we await the Supreme Court’s ruling on the President’s executive order that would cancel up to $20,000 of federal student debt. The President is absolutely right to fervently defend this order, even as Republican attorneys general and Trump-appointed judges try to strip away this benefit that would allow millions of working people and young people to be freed from the burden of student debt payments.  

“Under the Biden administration, no borrower has had to repay their federal student loans. This pause has been the first time that millions have been able to save, buy homes, invest in their communities, and generally live their lives free of the shackles of this debt. Republicans who are challenging the President’s order continue to waste taxpayer dollars in a partisan and cruel attempt to rob Americans of this desperately needed relief. This ploy to weaponize the courts and steal relief that hard-working young people, parents, and seniors have earned — including 16 million borrowers who’ve already been approved — is despicable, and it must not succeed.

“I commend the Biden administration for continuing to fight for their order — one rooted in racial and economic justice — and feel confident its legality and authority will be vindicated before the Supreme Court.”

 

WASHINGTON — Representative Pramila Jayapal (WA-07), chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, issued the following statement in response to Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (MD-05)’s announcement that he would not seek an elected leadership role next Congress: 

“As Leader Hoyer enters the next phase of his public service, I want to join my colleagues in thanking him for his decades of commitment to the Democratic Caucus and the country. 

“Leader Hoyer has been instrumental in some of the most transformational legislation of the past thirty years. He helped pass the landmark civil rights law, the Americans with Disabilities Act, in 1990, expanded health care to an additional four million children in low-income families through the State Children’s Health Insurance Program, ensured the modernization and improvement of American election administration through the Help America Vote Act, and promoted international human rights through his commendable work with the Helsinki Commission.

“We will always be grateful Leader Hoyer regularly described the Progressive Caucus as the ‘beating heart’ of the Democratic Caucus — and treated our members as such, prioritizing a progressive agenda on the House floor. He and his talented staff shepherded countless pieces of progressive legislation, including the American Rescue Plan, the Inflation Reduction Act, the MORE Act, the Dream and Promise Act, the Equality Act, and the bipartisan Ending Forced Arbitration of Sexual Assault and the Sexual Harassment Act.

“We look forward to continuing to work closely with Leader Hoyer in his ongoing service to his Maryland constituents in the 118th Congress."

WASHINGTON — Representative Pramila Jayapal (WA-07), chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, issued the following statement in response to Speaker Nancy Pelosi (CA-12)’s announcement that she would step down from her role in the next Congress:

“Today, I join my colleagues across the Democratic Caucus and Americans across the country in giving our deepest thanks and appreciation to Speaker Pelosi for her decades of leadership as Speaker of the House and leader of our Democratic Caucus.

“At the Congressional Progressive Caucus, we are also proud that Speaker Pelosi was an early member of the CPC, before being elected Minority Leader in 2002. Under her leadership, House Democrats have achieved historic victories and advanced essential progressive reforms. Congress passed the largest health care expansion in U.S. history with the Affordable Care Act, and passed the largest bill to combat the climate crisis in U.S. history with the Inflation Reduction Act, which also took on Big Pharma’s price gouging of prescription drug prices for the first time. Congress responded to two economic crises with the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and the American Rescue Plan. It passed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act to outlaw gender-based pay discrimination, repealed Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, and passed the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act.

“Few of Democrats’ historic accomplishments in the Pelosi era are more personal to me than those that advanced immigrant justice. She single-handedly secured the votes to pass the first Dream Act, and has helped ensure we pass the Dream and Promise Act in the 115th, 116th, and 117th Congresses. She has strongly advocated for the voices of those who are most often left out, including for racial justice with the passage of the John Lewis Voting Rights Act, the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, the No Ban Act and bills that took on anti-Asian hate. And as the first South Asian American woman elected to Congress, I was also honored to accompany the Speaker to India in my first term, and to work with her to advocate for Tibetan human rights, religious freedom, and democracy around the world. The Speaker was instrumental in passing my South Asian Heart Health Awareness and Research Act this year, and in passing my resolution responding to the atrocities of forced medical procedures that often resulted in sterilization at the Irwin Detention Center in Georgia.

“As an immigrant woman of color, I know that my presence here — and the presence of so many other women and people of color in the Capitol — would not be possible without Speaker Pelosi’s example. She paved the way for all of us, and for a generation of girls to see themselves in the highest levels of leadership in this country. Her impact on this country is immeasurable — we can never thank her enough for all she has given to the Democratic Caucus and the country. I know my Progressive Caucus colleagues join me in wishing her all the best in this next chapter.”

 

WASHINGTON — Representative Pramila Jayapal (WA-07), chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, issued the following statement on a letter sent regarding Ukraine:

“The Congressional Progressive Caucus hereby withdraws its recent letter to the White House regarding Ukraine. 

“The letter was drafted several months ago, but unfortunately was released by staff without vetting. As Chair of the Caucus, I accept responsibility for this. Because of the timing, our message is being conflated by some as being equivalent to the recent statement by Republican Leader McCarthy threatening an end to aid to Ukraine if Republicans take over. The proximity of these statements created the unfortunate appearance that Democrats, who have strongly and unanimously supported and voted for every package of military, strategic, and economic assistance to the Ukrainian people, are somehow aligned with Republicans who seek to pull the plug on American support for President Zelensky and the Ukrainian forces. 

“Nothing could be further from the truth. Every war ends with diplomacy, and this one will too after Ukrainian victory. The letter sent yesterday, although restating that basic principle, has been conflated with GOP opposition to support for the Ukrainians’ just defense of their national sovereignty. As such, it is a distraction at this time and we withdraw the letter.”

WASHINGTON — Representative Pramila Jayapal (WA-07), chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, issued the following statement clarifying the position of a letter to President Biden:

“In a letter to President Biden today, my colleagues and I advocated for the administration to continue ongoing military and economic support for Ukrainians while pursuing diplomatic support to Ukraine to ensure we are helpful partners on efforts to reach ‘a solution that is acceptable to the people of Ukraine.’ Let me be clear: we are united as Democrats in our unequivocal commitment to supporting Ukraine in their fight for their democracy and freedom in the face of the illegal and outrageous Russian invasion, and nothing in the letter advocates for a change in that support.

“Diplomacy is an important tool that can save lives — but it is just one tool. As we also made explicitly clear in our letter and will continue to make clear, we support President Biden and his administration’s commitment to nothing about Ukraine without Ukraine.”

THIS LETTER WAS WITHDRAWN OCTOBER 25, 2022

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WASHINGTON — As the risk of nuclear war increases, fighting in Ukraine escalates, and global economic insecurity deepens, 30 members of Congress urged President Biden to pursue direct diplomacy for a negotiated settlement to end Russia’s war in Ukraine.

In a new letter the lawmakers, while recognizing the “difficulties involved in engaging Russia given its outrageous and illegal invasion of Ukraine,” urge the President to pair the U.S. military and economic support provided to Ukraine with a proactive diplomatic push to seek a realistic framework for a ceasefire, consistent with the President’s own recognition that “there’s going to have to be a negotiated settlement here.”

The lawmakers propose an approach that could include “incentives to end hostilities, including some form of sanctions relief,” and an international arrangement to “establish security guarantees for a free and independent Ukraine that are acceptable for all parties, including Ukrainians.” “The alternative to diplomacy,” they warn, “is protracted war, with both its attendant certainties and catastrophic and unknowable risks.” In addition to the war’s harm to the people of Ukraine, they highlight the conflict’s impact on additional tens of millions worldwide, as skyrocketing prices in wheat, fertilizer, and fuel spark acute crises in global hunger and poverty.

The Members cite President Biden’s concern that Vladimir Putin “doesn't have a way out right now,” and former Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Admiral Mike Mullen, who recently argued that Putin is acting as a “cornered animal,” a situation that he said “speaks to the need [to] do everything we possibly can to try to get to the table to resolve this thing.” “As is typical in any war,” he added, “it has got to end and usually there are negotiations associated with that.”

The majority of voters also support this call for diplomacy. Recent polling shows that 57 percent of Americans approve of U.S. negotiations to end the war in Ukraine as soon as possible, even if it means making some compromises with Russia. 57 percent believe that Russia’s war in Ukraine will end in a negotiated peace, not a total military victory for either side, and 59 percent largely agree that the U.S. has a leading role to play in negotiating an end to the war.

The lawmakers conclude by appealing for “vigorous diplomatic efforts in support of a negotiated settlement and ceasefire, direct bilateral talks with Russia, exploring prospects for a new European security arrangement acceptable to all parties that will allow for a sovereign and independent Ukraine, and reiterating the goal of a rapid end to the conflict as a chief American priority.”

The letter can be found online here.

Signatories include: Pramila Jayapal (WA-07), Alma S. Adams Ph.D. (NC-12), Earl Blumenauer (OR-03), Jamaal Bowman, Ed.D. (NY-16), Cori Bush (MO-01), André Carson (IN-07), Yvette D. Clarke (NY-09), Peter A. DeFazio (OR-04), Mark DeSaulnier (CA-11), Jesús “Chuy García (IL-04), Raúl Grijalva (AZ-03), Sheila Jackson Lee (TX-18), Sara Jacobs (CA-53), Henry C. “Hank” Johnson Jr. (GA-04), Mondaire Jones (NY-17), Ro Khanna (CA-17), Barbara Lee (CA-13), Gwen S. Moore (WI-04), Marie Newman (IL-03), Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (NY-14), Ilhan Omar (MN-05), Donald M. Payne Jr. (NJ-10), Chellie Pingree (ME-01), Mark Pocan (WI-02), Ayanna Pressley (MA-07), Jamie Raskin (MD-08), Mark Takano (CA-41), Rashida Tlaib (MI-13), Bonnie Watson Coleman (NJ-12), and Nydia M. Velázquez (NY-07).

The letter was endorsed by the nonprofit groups Campaign For Peace Disarmament and Common Security, Just Foreign Policy, Friends Committee on National Legislation, MoveOn, Peace Action, Physicians for Social Responsibility, the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft, and Win Without War. Organizations issued the following statements:

"This letter marks the first time prominent Democratic elected officials have publicly called on the Administration to pair support for Ukraine's self-defense with a strong diplomatic effort to seek an end to the fighting," said Marcus Stanley, advocacy director for the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft. "Their leadership is crucial and welcome– without diplomacy the war risks turning into an extended, bloody stalemate with ongoing and increasing damage to the world economy and to Ukraine itself. Even worse, it could easily escalate into a broader or even a nuclear conflict.”

"Ukrainians have inspired people worldwide with their courageous resistance to the illegal Russian invasion. Empowered by unprecedented U.S. weapons and intel support, Ukrainians dealt Putin a humiliating defeat that few had thought possible," said Erik Sperling, executive director of Just Foreign Policy and former Ukraine policy staffer in Congress. "This victory, however, has also come at a heartbreaking cost for Ukraine's people and economy. Meanwhile, the economic impact of the war and sanctions has millions around the world facing starvation, and escalating U.S. involvement has sapped money for urgent domestic priorities while increasing the odds of apocalyptic nuclear war with Russia. Our government should heed the call by this level-headed group of Representatives and immediately prioritize dialogue that can save lives in Ukraine and around the world." 

“The progressive position on the invasion of Ukraine has been clear from the start: we support the Ukrainian people’s struggle against the Russian government’s illegal, imperialist invasion, and we recognize that the U.S. has a special role to play both in supporting that struggle and in working to reduce nuclear risk in the conflict — a risk borne disproportionately by people in Ukraine,” said Sara Haghdoosti, executive director of Win Without War. “This letter reflects this position, and emphasizes that during an appropriate diplomatic opening, the U.S. will be an indispensable partner for Ukraine in securing an end to hostilities that preserves Ukrainian sovereignty and prevents further Ukrainian deaths. We look forward to continued collaboration between the White House and congressional progressives to push for a just peace in Ukraine and the pursuit of nuclear risk reduction between the U.S. and Russia.”

WASHINGTON — Today, Congressional Progressive Caucus Chair Pramila Jayapal (WA-07), Congresswoman Bonnie Watson Coleman (NJ-12), chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus Task Force on Policing, Constitution, and Equality,  and Judiciary Committee member Hank Johnson (GA-04) sent a letter to Federal Bureau of Prisons Director Colette S. Peters calling for more information on her plans to address ongoing issues facing the Bureau.

Among the Members’ concerns is the Bureau’s failure thus far to properly execute the provisions of the First Step Act of 2018. Federal nonviolent inmates are eligible for early release under this legislation, but bureaucratic delays have prevented the BOP from effectively implementing it. 

The letter reads in part:

"Since its enactment into law in 2018, we’ve seen minimal movement by the BOP to fully implement the legislation as written. With the September 8th release of the time allotment rules that was being worked on before your official appointment, we feel this would be an opportunity to understand the rule and how we can ensure that it lives up to the spirit of the FSA."

In addition to calling for information on the Bureau’s plans to implement the FSA, the letter asks Director Peters for details on her strategies for addressing infrastructure maintenance, labor management, and medical care for incarcerated Americans.  

The full letter can be read here.