February 11, 2020
“President Trump’s proposed budget is an insult to working people across the country. We often say that budgets are moral documents – and this budget clearly shows a complete absence of empathy and decency in this White House.
Washington, D.C. -- Congressional Progressive Caucus Co-chairs Congressman Mark Pocan (WI-02) and Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal (WA-07) released the following statement on H.R. 2382, the USPS Fairness Act:
“We are pleased that the USPS Fairness Act passed the U.S. House of Representatives tonight. For years, the U.S. Postal Service has been subject to unfair political attacks and threats of privatization because of the onerous, harmful and unnecessary pre-funding mandate, which requires USPS to prefund retiree health benefits 75 years in advance. This critical bill protects the financial future of the U.S. Postal Service by ending this unfair requirement and allows the Postal Service to manage its finances like any other federal agency. The U.S. Postal Service touches every community in our country; by passing this bipartisan legislation, we are ensuring that families can continue to rely on and benefit from these essential services.”
Washington, D.C. – Congressional Progressive Caucus Co-Chairs, Congressman Mark Pocan (WI-02) and Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal (WA-07), released the following statement on President Trump’s State of the Union:
“Donald Trump has no understanding of the struggles facing working families. He thinks the economy is working because it works for his billionaire friends -- but the reality for everyday families is far different.
“Rising health care costs, skyrocketing prescription drug prices, and stagnant wages have left tens of millions of Americans struggling to afford the basics. Nearly thirty percent of American adults report skipping prescriptions because of cost, but the Trump Administration has done nothing to stop Big Pharma raising their prices month after month. Twenty-seven million Americans are uninsured – including more than four million children – but instead of expanding access to care, the Trump Administration is suing to end protections for pre-existing conditions and trying to end Medicaid as we know it. Forty percent of Americans can’t afford a $400 emergency, but that doesn’t concern the White House because the wealthiest are enjoying record gains in the stock market.
“The American people don’t need more hollow promises from this president. We need bold action to tackle drug pricing – not proposals that let Big Pharma off the hook and exclude negotiation. We need to take on the greed in our current healthcare system and expand coverage to everyone – not erode the protections and safety net that currently exists. And we need action to address the root of our economic inequality: a rigged system that allows President Trump to line the pockets of his rich friends while everyday families work harder and harder for less and less.
“Let’s be clear – Americans deserve better than what they heard from the president tonight. They don’t want school vouchers – they want to raise teachers’ salaries, rebuild our crumbling schools, and ensure every child can receive a quality public education. They don’t want to gut the Affordable Care Act or block grant Medicaid – they want to see universal health care for everyone in our country. They don’t want an administration that demonizes immigrants and wastes billions on a harmful wall – they want a humane, just, and fair immigration system that welcomes families trying to build a life in America. They don’t want reckless military escalations that endanger our troops or illegal and costly endless wars — they want to draw down our military engagements, engage in diplomacy, and reinvest in communities who need help here at home.
“We reject President Trump’s divisive vision. We can do so much better.”
Washington, D.C. — The Co-Chairs of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, Congressman Mark Pocan (WI-02) and Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal (WA-07), along with CPC First Vice Chair Congressman Ro Khanna (CA-17) and CPC Chair Emeritus Congresswoman Barbara Lee (CA-13) released the following statement applauding the passage of two CPC-endorsed bills to prevent funding for an unauthorized war in Iran and to repeal the 2002 Iraq AUMF:
“For far too long, Congress has abdicated its constitutional responsibility to debate and vote on matters of war and peace. Over the last seventeen years, the Iraq AUMF has been a blank check for any President to continue this war in perpetuity — without any oversight from Congress. The Congressional Progressive Caucus has long objected to this long outdated authorization and the lack of appropriate and necessary involvement of Congress.
“President Trump’s reckless decision to assassinate General Soleimani — conducted without the knowledge or approval of Congress — made it clear that we cannot afford to wait to reassert our constitutional responsibility over war making. That’s why, shortly after these strikes, we called on House leadership to act swiftly to bring both the Khanna and Lee bills for a vote on the House Floor. These bills are essential to preventing a catastrophic and completely avoidable war with Iran. If we've learned anything over the past two decades, it's that wars are much easier to start than they are to end. With today's vote, the House has recognized that there is no military solution to our conflicts in the Middle East – only de-escalation and diplomacy can lead to peace."
Washington, D.C. – Congressional Progressive Caucus Co-Chairs, Congressman Mark Pocan (WI-02) and Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal (WA-07), released the following statement on the Trump Administration’s announcement pertaining to Israel and Palestine:
“This isn’t a peace plan. Any proposal that refuses to include Palestinian voices is not a plan at all. Rather, it’s a further entrenchment of the disastrous status quo that violates international law and denies basic human rights to millions of people. This outrageous proposal undermines decades of U.S. policy and sends a signal that our government cannot be trusted to advance peace and diplomacy on the world stage.
“The Trump Administration has shown that they will not pursue a fair, negotiated two-state solution. The White House has operated in bad faith from the outset – green-lighting annexation of illegal Israeli settlements in the West Bank, moving the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem, and cutting desperately-needed humanitarian funds for Palestinians – with catastrophic results for the security and stability of the region and American credibility abroad.
“Neither Israelis nor Palestinians can afford a politically-motivated, counterproductive ‘peace plan’ that does nothing to secure peace or protect human dignity. Any viable peace plan must include both Israeli and Palestinian voices and prioritize real diplomacy and negotiation.”
BACKGROUND: At the urging of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, the House of Representatives voted in December to pass Congressman Alan Lowenthal’s bill, H. Res 326, supporting a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Washington, D.C. – House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (D-MD) announced Wednesday afternoon that the week the House returns from the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. District Work Period, it will consider Progressive Caucus-endorsed bills introduced by Reps. Barbara Lee (D-CA) and Ro Khanna (D-CA) to repeal the 2002 Congressional authorization for the use of military force (AUMF) against Iraq and prevent taxpayer funding from being used to take military action against Iran without congressional authorization, respectively. On January 9, in a bipartisan vote, the House passed a resolution demanding that President Trump terminate the use of U.S. Armed Forces to engage in hostilities against Iran without Congressional authorization.
“We’re excited to have commitments for floor votes on both the Lee and Khanna bills during the week of January 27th. These bills, which have been endorsed by the Progressive Caucus, are critically needed to prevent war with Iran and stop President Trump from willfully defying the constitution. Finally Congress will have an opportunity to reassert our voice on military action,” said CPC Co-Chairs Congressman Mark Pocan and Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal. “As we have learned more about the airstrikes, it’s become even more apparent that the White House manufactured reasons to drag us into a completely avoidable military escalation. Unless Congress acts, there’s nothing to stop President Trump from doing the same thing in the future. The Lee and Khanna bills are our best chance of preventing an avoidable future conflict with Iran, and we’re pleased that they will come to the floor before the end of the month.”
“I strongly support both of these bills, which will reassert Congress’s constitutional authority in questions of war and peace and sending American forces into harm’s way,” Leader Hoyer said. “I am particularly concerned about this Administration’s mischaracterization and misuse of the 2002 AUMF as legal justification for the recent strike in Iraq. It’s time to repeal this measure. I want to thank Rep. Lee, Rep. Khanna, and the Congressional Progressive Caucus for working closely with the House Democratic leadership to ensure the broadest possible support for these measures. I hope we can come together in a bipartisan way, as we did last week, to make it clear that, even while Iran remains a bad actor and sponsor of terror, President Trump does not have a unilateral authority to take our country into war against Iran and must work with Congress to meet this challenge.”
“For far too long, Congress has been missing in action on matters of war and peace,” said Rep. Barbara Lee. “It is long overdue for Congress to reassert its Constitutional authority on the use of force. It is time to end giving blank checks to (any) President to wage endless wars. I'm pleased that House Leadership is bringing my bipartisan bill, H.R. 2456, to repeal the 2002 Iraq Authorization to Use Military Force (AUMF) for a vote. It is more urgent than ever for Congress to do its job and prevent the President from using military force without Congressional authorization. Leaving this outdated AUMF on the books, which has been used to justify the use of force throughout the world, is not only dangerous but irresponsible."
“The future of American foreign policy cannot continue to emphasize military interventionism,” said Congressman Ro Khanna. “We must dedicate ourselves to pursuing a responsible, thoughtful foreign policy that prioritizes diplomacy and open communication. I am deeply thankful to Speaker Pelosi, Leader Hoyer, and the entire Democratic leadership team for their support in bringing this critical legislation to the floor for a vote. It’s high time Congress reasserted our power of the purse, and made clear to any president that they must come to us first before taking any offensive military action. War should always be a last resort.”
The legislation introduced by Rep. Lee, H.R. 2456, would sunset the 2002 authorization for the use of military force in Iraq, originally intended to enable operations against the regime of Saddam Hussein. Seventeen years after his removal from power, this AUMF has continued to be used by administrations to justify the use of American military force in Iraq. Rep. Khanna’s bill, H.R. 5543, prohibits the use of Federal funds for military action in or against Iran unless Congress specifically authorizes it or declares war or such actions are undertaken consistent with the War Powers Resolution of 1973.