WASHINGTON — Representative Pramila Jayapal (WA-07), chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, issued the following statement in response to comments by Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) that he would not vote for the Build Back Better Act:
“Senator Joe Manchin made a promise to President Biden to support a framework that would help lower health care costs, cap the price of insulin and other prescription drugs, lower child care costs for Americans, address the climate crisis ,and give working people and poor people a shot in America. Today, Senator Manchin has betrayed his commitment not only to the President and Democrats in Congress but most importantly, to the American people. He routinely touts that he is a man of his word, but he can no longer say that. West Virginians, and the country, see clearly who he is.
“The American people want and deserve to have their critically important daily needs addressed. That is why all the elements of the Build Back Better legislation are overwhelmingly supported by Americans across the political spectrum. We will never stop fighting to truly build back better for the American people. Too much is at stake.”
WASHINGTON — Representative Pramila Jayapal (WA-07), chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, issued the following statement in response to comments by Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) that he would not vote for the Build Back Better Act:
Congressional Progressive Caucus Urges Senate Opposition to Fossil Fuel Handouts in Build Back Better
December 15, 2021
WASHINGTON — Representative Pramila Jayapal (WA-07), chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, and Representatives Nanette Barragán (CA-44), CPC Chair Emeritus Raúl Grijalva (AZ-03), Jared Huffman (CA-02), CPC Deputy Whip Ro Khanna (CA-17), and CPC Whip Ilhan Omar (MN-05), issued the following statement in response to news of industry-led efforts to undercut the Build Back Better Act’s policies to reduce carbon emissions driving the climate crisis:
“The Build Back Better Act has rightfully been touted as the largest-ever federal investment in climate action. But to meet this moment, Congress needs to be concerned not only about quantity, but quality. If the Senate eliminates every mechanism in this bill designed to push polluters into a clean energy future, we simply will never get there — and that is unacceptable. Today, we urge the Senate to resist the fossil fuel industry’s efforts to remove basic guardrails on the tax credits for carbon sequestration.
“The House-passed version of Build Back Better requires fossil fuel emitting plants to store 75 percent or more of their carbon pollution — an eminently reasonable requirement, as the fossil fuel industry itself touts carbon capture’s ability to achieve a 90 percent sequestration rate. But now, special interest groups are pushing our Senate colleagues to remove the requirement altogether, and provide a no-strings-attached taxpayer handout to the biggest polluters. For Congress to pass such a policy — especially as the South and Midwest are still recovering from the latest climate change fueled disaster — would be an insult to basic tax fairness and to every member of our communities demanding environmental justice. It’s simple: a bill that aims to tackle climate change and rapidly decarbonize our economy cannot include gifts for polluters.
“President Biden has demonstrated leadership on the world stage in making the ambitious, yet necessary, commitment that the United States will halve its carbon emissions from 2005 levels by 2030. In order to meet that mandate, our colleagues must oppose any efforts to remove the limited guardrails that currently exist on carbon sequestration subsidies and protect our national effort to rapidly transition to solar, wind, and other renewable energies. As the Senate debates the Build Back Better Act, this House-passed legislation’s promise to address climate change at the scope of the crisis, and deliver on the President’s transformational vision, must not be weakened.”
Congressional Progressive Caucus Leaders Urge Senate to Block Weapons Sale to Saudi Arabia and End Yemen War
December 7, 2021
WASHINGTON — Representatives Pramila Jayapal (WA-07), chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, and Ilhan Omar (MN-05), whip of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, released the following statement ahead of a Senate vote to block the sale of $650 million in Raytheon air-to-air missiles to Saudi Arabia:
“After nearly seven years of war and roughly a quarter of a million people killed, Saudi Arabia continues to relentlessly bomb Yemen and impose a crippling siege on the country, depriving millions of civilians of adequate food, fuel and medicine. The Senate must block this weapons sale and send a clear message to Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman: Congress will not tolerate Saudi impunity as it commits war crimes and starves the people of Yemen.
“The world’s largest humanitarian crisis is escalating. Last month, Saudi Arabia tightened its blockade on Yemen, permitting just 3 percent of the fuel the country needs into Yemen’s major port. Saudi warplanes enforce a blockade on Yemen’s airspace, threatening to shoot down commercial and humanitarian flights. This has almost completely halted medicine and medical supplies from entering the country, and has amounted to a death sentence for tens of thousands of Yemenis seeking lifesaving treatment abroad.
“In 2019, President Biden promised to end the war in Yemen, make the Saudis ‘pay the price’ for human rights abuses, and not ‘sell more weapons to them.’ But over the past year, while the Biden Administration has publicly urged an easing of Yemen’s port restrictions, the U.S. has continued logistical support essential to the deadly Saudi aerial blockade on Yemen. As the Saudis disregard the administration’s appeals and restrict fuel imports even further, this unconditional sale of air-to-air missiles threatens to greenlight Saudi conduct and empower Saudi Arabia’s offensive military campaign collectively punishing tens of millions of civilians.
“We applaud the bipartisan effort to hold Saudi Arabia accountable and help bring the war in Yemen to an end, as well as the leadership of its cosponsors, Senators Sanders (I-VT), Leahy (D-VT), Merkley (D-OR), Markey (D-MA), Warren (D-MA), and Wyden (D-OR), who are working to recenter human rights in our foreign policy. We urge all Senators to pass this resolution of disapproval with a convincing majority so that the House can adopt the bill without delay.”
Representatives Omar and Jayapal, along with 10 other CPC Members, are sponsors of House Joint Resolution 63, a companion bill to Senate Joint Resolution 31 to disapprove of the proposed weapons sale.
Congressional Progressive Caucus Chair Applauds Honduran Election Results, Calls for New Chapter in U.S.-Honduran Relations
December 3, 2021
WASHINGTON — Representative Pramila Jayapal (WA-07), chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, issued the following statement regarding the conclusion of Honduras’ recent presidential election:
“I congratulate Xiomara Castro de Zelaya for being elected the next president of Honduras, the first woman ever to hold the nation’s highest office. I also commend the Honduran people for their historic level of participation in these elections. These elections promise a return to democracy and a revitalization of Honduran institutions, which have deteriorated since the 2009 military coup that resulted in the democratically elected president at the time — Manuel Zelaya, Mrs. Castro de Zelaya’s husband — being forced out of the country at gunpoint.
“Immediately following Zelaya’s unconstitutional ouster, members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus mobilized to denounce the overthrow as a military coup and call for the reinstatement of the elected president. Over the 12 years since, Progressive Caucus leaders have organized and protested against the brutal repression, autocratic governance, violations of human rights, and murders of labor organizers, human rights activists, environmental defenders, journalists, and Afro-Indigenous leaders under Honduras’ post-coup regimes. The Progressive Caucus has also been at the forefront of demanding a change in U.S. policy, including an end to U.S. weapons and training for Honduras’ repressive security forces until real efforts have been made to end impunity and restore the rule of law.
“Today, we encourage the Biden administration to use this opportunity to make a clean break with previous presidential administrations, which worked to ensure that the 2009 coup d’état succeeded, legitimized the deeply flawed elections in 2009, 2013, and 2017, and pushed policies that have resulted in surges in Honduran insecurity, poverty, mass migration, and organized crime. In light of our shared interest in greater regional stability and prosperity, the election of Xiomara Castro presents an opportunity for a new chapter in U.S.-Honduras relations, one based on mutual respect, support for democracy, and equitable development.”
December 2, 2021
WASHINGTON — Representatives Jamaal Bowman (NY-16), Cori Bush (MO-01), André Carson (IN-07), and Pramila Jayapal (WA-07), were joined by 35 House progressives to issue the following statement today calling for Representative Lauren Boebert (CO-03) to be removed from her committee assignments following her Islamophobic comments and incitement of anti-Muslim animus.
“Rep. Boebert has repeatedly weaponized dangerous, anti-Muslim bigotry at our colleague Representative Ilhan Omar (MN-05). Instead of apologizing, Rep. Boebert has continued her Islamophobic rhetoric and chosen to spread hateful speech even further. In the face of death threats and vitriol being spewed at Rep. Omar, Representative Kevin McCarthy (CA-23)’s decision to allow and embolden continued hostility from his members speaks clearly to the Republican party’s willingness to allow hate and division to grow at the expense of our people, our values, and our institutions.
“But we refuse to stand by as Islamophobia, anti-Blackness, anti-immigrant sentiment, and xenophobia are trafficked into the halls of Congress by members of the Republican party. Today, we are calling for Rep. Boebert to be removed from her committee assignments. Our response to behavior that creates a dangerous work environment and furthers a climate of toxicity and intolerance cannot be silence. Congress cannot forgo accountability when a Member engages in hate speech that dehumanizes not only a colleague, but an entire people. We cannot be complicit as members of this body, who swore an oath to protect and defend the constitution of the United States, trample on the fundamental right of religious freedom.
“Muslims across the country are looking to Congress at this moment, watching to see if those they sent to represent their interests in Washington are going to stand up in the face of blatant, vicious Islamophobia. We owe it to them, and to every person who has been the recipient of harassment and verbal abuse based on their religion, race, gender, sexuality, or other identity, to stand up and show them that their votes to send us here mean something — that our values mean something, and are worth defending. We stand in solidarity with Rep. Omar, and urge every single one of our colleagues to join us in demanding action.”
The following members joined Reps. Bowman, Bush, Carson, and Jayapal in signing on to this statement: Alma S. Adams, Ph.D. (NC-12), Brendan Boyle (PA-02), Judy Chu (CA-27), Yvette Clarke (NY-09), Lloyd Doggett (TX-35), Veronica Escobar (TX-16), Adriano Espaillat (NY-13), Dwight Evans (PA-03), Jesús “Chuy” García (IL-04), Jimmy Gomez (CA-34), Raúl Grijalva (AZ-03), Sheila Jackson Lee (TX-18), Sara Jacobs (CA-53), Hank Johnson (GA-04), Mondaire Jones (NY-17), Kai Kahele (HI-02), Teresa Leger Fernández (NM-03), Barbara Lee (CA-13), Andy Levin (MI-09), Ted Lieu (CA-33), Carolyn Maloney (NY-12), Marie Newman (IL-03), Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (NY-14), Chellie Pingree (ME-01), Mark Pocan (WI-02), Ayanna Pressley (MA-07), Mary Gay Scanlon (PA-05), Jan Schakowksy (IL-09), Melanie Stansbury (NM-01), Rashida Tlaib (MI-13), Ritchie Torres (NY-15), Lori Trahan (MA-03), Nydia Velzázquez (NY-07), Bonnie Watson Coleman (NJ-12), and Nikema Williams (GA-05).
Progressive, Black, Hispanic, and Asian Pacific American Caucus Leaders Urge Biden Administration to Support Additional Global Pandemic Assistance
November 23, 2021
WASHINGTON — The chairs of the Congressional Progressive, Black, Hispanic, and Asian Pacific American Caucuses jointly urged the Treasury Department today to support House Democrats’ recent approval of a new issuance of urgently needed financial assistance through the International Monetary Fund (IMF). The Special Drawing Rights (SDRs) would help hundreds of millions of people in developing countries still suffering from the ongoing effects of the global COVID-19 pandemic.
SDRs, which are reserve assets issued by the IMF to all member states, cost nothing to U.S. taxpayers and allow developing countries to stabilize their economies and invest in social and public health needs. SDRs can be converted into hard currency by low-income countries to purchase essential goods such as food, vaccines, energy supplies, medical equipment, and lifesaving drugs. They can also help reduce low- and middle-income countries’ borrowing costs, minimize capital flight, and avoid balance-of-payments and debt crises. With the Biden Administration’s support, the IMF issued 456 billion SDRs earlier this year, with many of the most vulnerable countries in the world being among the first to take advantage of them. The House of Representatives approved an additional issuance of 1.5 trillion SDRs in the State and Foreign Operations Appropriations bill in July.
Rep. Pramila Jayapal (WA-07), chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus; Rep. Joyce Beatty (OH-03), chair of the Congressional Black Caucus; Rep. Raul Ruiz (CA-36), chair of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus; and Rep. Judy Chu (CA-27), chair of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus, were joined by Rep. Jesús “Chuy” García (IL-04), author of the Robust International Response to Pandemic Act, which served as the basis of legislation adopted by the House.
In a letter sent to Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen today, the lawmakers wrote, “As President Biden observed, ‘one thing we learned’ from the 2009 economic recovery is that ‘we can’t do too much here. We can do too little. We can do too little and sputter.’ A one-time allocation of SDRs may be too little given the continuing upsurges in COVID19 infections worldwide. By further boosting global demand for U.S. exports, assisting in a worldwide economic recovery, easing major spikes in hunger, poverty and disease, and providing financial resources for mass vaccinations abroad at no cost to the United States, a new issuance of 1.5 trillion SDRs remains a vital tool for this administration’s efforts to crush the coronavirus and build back better, both at home and abroad.”
The members of Congress praised the Biden Administration for “ending the previous administration’s virtually solitary opposition” to the IMF’s issuance of SDRs, as well as the Biden administration’s moves to rejoin the Paris Climate Accord and the World Health Organization, as examples that “the United States is once again playing a leadership role in multilateral efforts to solve global crises.”
The lawmakers expressed concern that “highly unequal vaccine access has led to just 20 percent of people in low- and lower-middle-income countries receiving a first vaccine dose compared to 80 percent in higher-income countries.” In addition, the lawmakers point to the fact that “as many as 161 million more people faced hunger in 2020 than in 2019.” Major global setbacks in the fight against tuberculosis, HIV, and malaria, they add, “pose a risk to the economic strength, national security, and public health of the United States.” The members of Congress conclude by asking for Secretary Yellen’s support in enacting House legislation to issue additional SDRs “to resolve the global pandemic, accelerate America’s economic recovery, and save millions of lives worldwide.”
The letter to Secretary Yellen builds on a previous joint effort in 2020 that succeeded in securing House passage of legislation authorizing a major SDR issuance in the 116th Congress. The chairs of the Congressional Progressive, Black, Hispanic, and Asian Pacific American Caucuses have also been joined by prominent Democratic Senators and former Republican Senator Sam Brownback (KS) this year in advocating for the issuance of additional SDRs to alleviate global poverty.
Congressional Progressive Caucus Chair Jayapal Congratulates Powell and Brainard on Nominations to Lead Federal Reserve
November 22, 2021
WASHINGTON — Representative Pramila Jayapal (WA-07), chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, issued the following statement in response to President Biden’s announcement that he will renominate Jerome Powell for a second term as Chair of the Federal Reserve and Dr. Lael Brainard as Vice Chair:
“I congratulate Mr. Powell and Dr. Brainard for their nominations by President Biden to lead the Federal Reserve. Mr. Powell has demonstrated an unprecedented commitment to full employment during his first term as Fed Chair, including his celebration of ‘great things happening from a tight labor market’ and enthusiasm for workers’ bargaining power, which, he noted, led to employers ‘going to prisons and getting to know people before they came out and giving them jobs as they came out.’ This is the perspective we need at the Federal Reserve as it steers the economy through the turbulence of the pandemic and toward a truly equitable recovery.
“As a result of Powell and Brainard’s support for full employment, as well as Congressional Democrats’ passage of the President’s American Rescue Plan earlier this year, the unemployment rate has fallen to 4.6 percent in October. In contrast, it took more than nine years after the Great Recession for unemployment to fall to this level. A full employment commitment will continue to be critical as the Fed is pressured to raise interest rates and throw people out of work, despite the fact that we are still 4.2 million jobs below pre-pandemic levels. Rate hikes would be unnecessary and cause much more suffering through lower employment and wages, harming communities of color disproportionately.
“In addition, I hope that under Powell and Brainard’s leadership, the Fed does much more to advance the Progressive Caucus’s priorities of tackling climate change and monopoly power, as well as Wall Street corruption and the need to aggressively regulate the financial sector. As our caucus noted last year, the Federal Reserve has significant authority under the Dodd Frank Act to address the threat climate change poses to the stability of our financial markets. It is crucial that the Federal Reserve take strong action on this front.
“I am pleased that the President nominated two vocal proponents of full employment who have repeatedly shown their willingness to resist partisan pressures, and I hope that their nominations will be rapidly confirmed by the Senate.”
November 19, 2021
WASHINGTON — Representative Pramila Jayapal (WA-07), chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, issued the following statement upon passage of the Build Back Better Act through the House of Representatives:
“The Progressive Caucus entered the negotiations around President Biden’s Build Back Better agenda with a clear vision: this transformational legislation should deliver immediate, tangible change in the lives of working people. We articulated at the beginning of the process the need for significant investments in five critically important priority areas: climate action, affordable housing, improving health care while lowering drug prices, lifting up our immigrant workers through humane reforms, and the care economy including universal child care, pre-K, home-based care and paid leave.
“Throughout the process, we worked with House and Senate leadership, committee chairs, and the White House to ensure these priorities made it into the Build Back Better Act. When others cut the size of the package, we insisted that all of these critical priorities be funded robustly, even if for a shorter time. Most importantly, we insisted that the Build Back Better Act had to move forward with the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, so that no one was left behind.
“Just six weeks ago, by refusing to leave anyone behind and insisting the two bills pass the House together, we were able to allow space for President Biden to get negotiations started between the two Senators and the CPC. We were able to get a framework announced that had our progressive priorities in it, and get progressives coalesced around that framework. We were able to get full legislative text for a bill that is largely pre-conferenced with the Senate. We were able to get a vote on the rule to move Build Back Better forward. And most importantly, we were able to get a public commitment from the five Democrats who needed more information that we would pass the Build Back Better Act this week. That is exactly what has happened today.
“At every step of the way, the Progressive Caucus kept our eyes on the prize of successfully delivering on President Biden’s entire agenda. This is truly one of the most transformative and progressive packages in recent history, and it comes at a time when Americans are waiting for us to deliver on our promises to provide relief to working and poor people across the country. We salute the tremendous leadership of President Biden, both in articulating the vision to start with, and in leading negotiations, as well as the work of our colleagues who kept their word today. We also thank the Speaker for her leadership all along the way.
“While this version of the bill isn’t everything we want or that our communities deserve, we recognize that this transformative piece of legislation was developed with the slimmest of margins in the House and Senate, and under the strict rules of budget reconciliation. Despite those margins, we continued to push for the most we could get for the American people, and we are proud of what we achieved. This legislation will deliver real, long overdue and urgently needed results to working people, and it begins to level the playing field so that corporations and the wealthiest Americans finally pay their fair share in taxes.
“Our work will not stop until the Build Back Better Act passes the Senate without any weakening of these popular provisions. We call on the Senate to quickly pass this bill and send it to the President’s desk as soon as possible. It’s time to deliver.”
The Build Back Better Act includes:
$150 billion federal investment in housing, the largest in our history, for one million new and improved affordable housing units as well as housing vouchers;
Universal preschool for 3 and 4 year-olds in the largest expansion of public education since the K-12 system was originally created;
High-quality child care, where no family pays more than 7 percent of their income;
A half-trillion dollar investment in taking on climate change, with meaningful reductions in carbon emissions and Justice 40 measures that get us on the path to a clean energy future;
A Civilian Climate Corps to create green jobs in communities most impacted by climate change;
Improved health care through Medicare expansion of hearing aids, as well as subsidies for low-income families in states that have not expanded Medicaid;
Provisions to cap insulin costs, allow Medicare to negotiate down the prices of some of the most expensive drugs, limit out-of-pocket drug costs for seniors, and penalties for pharma companies that increase prices faster than inflation;
Funding for home-based care for seniors and people with disabilities, and to raise the wages of in-home care workers;
Four weeks paid family and medical leave, the first national investment in paid leave in American history;
Provisions to provide Dreamers, TPS holders, essential workers, and farmworkers protection from deportation, work permits, access to benefits, and freedom to travel.
November 3, 2021
WASHINGTON — Representative Pramila Jayapal (WA-07), chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, issued the following statement today on the agreement reached by Democratic legislators for prescription drug pricing reform in the Build Back Better Act:
“Prescription drug pricing reform is overwhelmingly popular and desperately needed across the country, which is why the Progressive Caucus included it as one of our priorities for this legislation. Americans pay more than any other country in the world for prescription drugs, and this agreement allows us to begin tackling that outrage with policy.
“This agreement will, for the first time ever, allow Medicare to negotiate down prices on some of the highest-cost drugs, a policy supported by nearly 90 percent of Americans. It will cap insulin at $35 for a month’s supply, a life-saving measure for those with diabetes who are currently forced to pay upwards of $200 per vial. It ensures seniors will not pay more than $2,000 out of pocket for their drugs annually, and it will impose a tax penalty on drug companies that increase their prices faster than inflation. This is real progress, and it gives Congress something to build on, setting us up to continue to take action that curbs the pharmaceutical industry’s greed and profiteering.
“But given this framework’s limitations, it’s clear that Big Pharma — which has spent millions of dollars lobbying Congress — still has far too much influence over our legislative process. The good news: we have a President and an administration thoroughly committed to tackling price gouging and monopoly power throughout the economy. We urge President Biden, Health and Human Services Secretary Becerra, and others in the Administration to join Congress in this fight. By using its full authority and pursuing aggressive executive action, the administration can finally provide millions of Americans relief from unfair drug pricing.”
Congressional Progressive Caucus Statement Regarding Vote on Infrastructure Bill and Build Back Better Act
October 28, 2021
WASHINGTON — U.S. Representative Pramila Jayapal (WA-07), chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, issued the following statement on the status of Build Back Better negotiations:
“The Congressional Progressive Caucus just overwhelmingly voted to endorse, in principle, the entire Build Back Better Act framework announced by President Biden today. We appreciate the President’s leadership and his commitment to getting this process over the finish line. He reaffirmed, as our Caucus has month after month, that both the infrastructure bill and the popular Build Back Better Act must move together because they are part of the same agenda. Today, we are reiterating our enthusiastic commitment to delivering that entire agenda to people across America.
“The reality is that while talks around the infrastructure bill lasted months in the Senate, there has only been serious discussion around the specifics of the larger Build Back Better Act in recent weeks, thanks to the Progressive Caucus holding the line and putting both parts of the agenda back on the table. Now, Congress needs to finish the job and bring both bills to a vote together. This cannot be accomplished without legislative text that can be fully assessed and agreed upon by all parties, including 218 Representatives and all 50 senators in the Democratic Caucus. There is too much at stake for working families and our communities to settle for something that can be later misunderstood, amended, or abandoned altogether. That is why dozens of our members insist on keeping both bills linked and cannot vote only for one until they can be voted on together.
“Members of our Caucus will not vote for the infrastructure bill without the Build Back Better Act. We will work immediately to finalize and pass both pieces of legislation through the House together.”