Washington, D.C. – The Congressional Progressive Caucus will hold an ad-hoc hearing this Thursday, August 20th at 4pm EDT to investigate the efforts by the Trump Administration to sabotage the operation of the United States Postal Service (USPS) ahead of November’s election. The hearing, which will be chaired by Progressive Caucus Co-Chairs Mark Pocan (WI-02) and Pramila Jayapal (WA-07) will feature expert testimony on U.S. Postmaster General Louis DeJoy’s recent actions to hinder the reliable delivery of mail.

WHAT:

Congressional Progressive Caucus Ad-Hoc Hearing on Trump Administration Efforts to Sabotage USPS Operations

WHO:

CPC Co-Chair Congressman Mark Pocan (WI-02)

CPC Co-Chair Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal (WA-07)

Members of the Progressive Caucus

Expert Witnesses


WHEN:

Thursday, August 20th at 4pm EDT

WHERE:

The hearing will be available to watch on the CPC Facebook page.

Washington, D.C. – Congressional Progressive Caucus Co-Chairs Congressman Mark Pocan (WI-02) and Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal (WA-07) released the following statement responding to the Federal Reserve’s announcement unveiling changes to the Municipal Liquidity Facility (MLF):

“Last week, we sent a letter to Chairman Powell, along with more than 50 of our colleagues, urging him to make necessary improvements to the Federal Reserve’s Municipal Liquidity Facility to improve its usefulness to states and cities. Congress intended for the MLF to help local governments avoid painful cuts at a time when more resources are needed to fight a deadly virus. This week’s announcement, lowering penalty rates across the board for MLF-eligible entities, was a needed step in the right direction and appeared to recognize that the MLF’s purchase of one bond in three months is not meeting that objective.

“However, this one change is insufficient to prevent more layoffs and economic turmoil. The Federal Reserve needs to recognize that, unlike lending to corporations and financial markets, lending to state and local governments has a different primary goal of quickly getting municipalities the resources they need to avoid destructive austerity and layoffs.

“We appreciate that the Federal Reserve has shown it is willing to make improvements to the Municipal Liquidity Facility – now it must also implement additional substantial changes that we noted in our letter. For the MLF to be an effective tool in our economic recovery, the Federal Reserve should align assistance to states and cities with its emergency lending offered to the private sector and extend the maturity period of the loans.

“Chairman Powell himself has emphasized that public sector layoffs and budget cuts made the last recession worse. Further improving the MLF is one key way that the Fed can avoid repeating the mistakes from the last crisis. We can’t afford to shortchange this recovery – Chairman Powell must make meaningful improvements to the MLF before the damage to our communities becomes irreparable.”

Washington, D.C. – Today, Congressional Progressive Caucus Co-Chairs Congressman Mark Pocan (WI-02) and Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal (WA-07) led a letter, along with Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib (MI-13) and Congressman Joe Neguse (CO-02), urging Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell to improve lending terms for states and municipalities. The letter, which has been endorsed by 13 organizations including the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), Service Employees International Union (SEIU), and the Center for Popular Democracy’s Fed Up Campaign, was signed by more than 50 members of Congress.

In the letter, the Members of Congress call on Chairman Powell to take immediate action to make critical improvements to the Municipal Liquidity Facility (MLF), so states and municipalities can benefit from the program as intended. The letter notes, “At present, the harsh terms and penalty rates for the MLF make it functionally unusable for the vast majority of the state and local governments that are technically eligible, which severely undermines the program’s intent to help states and cities struggling from unprecedented financial hardship. The unusually harsh penalty rate on users of the MLF, coupled with an arbitrarily set and short three-year time limit on the lending, makes it unusable to a majority of potential local government participants. As a result, very little of the facility’s $500 billion capacity is being used now, or is likely to ever be used, unless the Federal Reserve makes dramatic changes to the lending terms.”

“There have been 1.5 million public sector layoffs since March, and unless the Fed aligns its assistance to states and cities with its emergency lending to the private sector, mass unemployment and emergency conditions will persist for years,” wrote Jayapal, Pocan, Tlaib & Neguse in the letter to Chairman Powell. “To that end, it must be noted that many of the Federal Reserve’s corporate lending programs contain terms that are far more favorable than those included in the MLF. This includes, for example, far cheaper pricing, far longer terms, and even payment deferrals for corporations borrowing from the Main Street Lending Program, the Secondary Corporate Credit Facility, and the Term Asset-Backed Securities Loan Facility. Given the severity of the need and the Federal Reserve’s exceptional creativity and flexibility in its corporate lending programs, which have moved the institution’s support of the private sector far beyond what anyone thought was possible, we cannot accept that the MLF remain an outlier when it comes to providing the meaningful fiscal support intended by Congress.”

The full letter, which was signed by 53 members of Congress, is available here. It’s been endorsed by the following organizations: American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), Service Employees International Union (SEIU), Communications Workers of America (CWA), National Education Association (NEA), the Center for Popular Democracy’s Fed Up Campaign, Demand Progress Education Fund, American Family Voices, Social Security Works, Progressive Change Campaign Committee (PCCC), American Economic Liberties Project, Greenpeace USA, Friends of the Earth, and Americans for Financial Reform.

Washington, D.C. – Congressional Progressive Caucus Co-Chairs Congressman Mark Pocan (WI-02) and Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal (WA-07) released this statement following a CPC-wide meeting yesterday with Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer:

“We want to thank Senator Schumer for joining us yesterday to discuss our shared priorities on the next coronavirus package. Like Senator Schumer, we believe it’s essential to protect the $600/week expanded unemployment, extend the eviction moratorium and other housing protections, provide robust funding for states and municipalities, and ensure that families have the support they need to stay afloat during this unprecedented crisis. We’re also supportive of Senate Democrats’ efforts to invest billions in childcare and the safe reopening of schools, and redirect funding from corporate slush funds to low-income communities and communities of color which have been hardest hit by the coronavirus pandemic. It’s essential that Congress take a comprehensive approach to the pandemic in this next bill – we agree with Senator Schumer that a piecemeal approach is insufficient to meet the scale of this crisis.

“The American people shouldn’t have to bear the consequences of Republican dysfunction, cruelty, and greed. We’re grateful to Senator Schumer for joining us yesterday and look forward to working together to pass a strong package that benefits the everyday families – not billionaires and corporate donors – who need relief in this pandemic.”

Washington, D.C. – Today, the Co-Chairs of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, Congressman Mark Pocan (WI-02) and Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal (WA-07), sent a letter to Democratic leadership in the House and Senate outlining key priorities for the next coronavirus deal.

A pdf of the letter is available here.


Dear Speaker Pelosi, Majority Leader Hoyer and Senate Democratic Leader Schumer:

Thank you for your leadership as you continue to work to address the ongoing economic and public health crises our nation faces as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. As you negotiate a bipartisan package, we write to ask that you extend the key provisions in the CARES Act that have served as a critical lifeline to millions of individuals and families across the country, and work to ensure the inclusion of other Democratic priorities in the Heroes Act to adequately address the scale of this crisis.

The proposal released by Senate Republicans, including their decision to slash supplemental unemployment insurance and failure to extend the eviction moratorium, would result in $1600 less in critical relief every month for families already struggling to put food on the table, pay bills and make ends meet. Their proposal shields corporations, while short-changing essential workers and undermining our ability to conduct testing and contact tracing at the scale that is necessary to get the pandemic under control. We must reject their dangerous proposal and negotiate a bill that meets the demands of the American people by:

  • Extending the $600 per week supplemental unemployment insurance (UI) benefit. With a historic 30 million people receiving UI, any significant scale-back of this benefit will result in a sharp decline in the standard of living for millions of Americans, increase poverty, and exacerbate racial inequality.
  • Extending the nationwide moratorium on eviction and foreclosures for all renters and homeowners, and the moratorium on water and utility shutoffs, consistent with the Heroes Act. Congress should also include $100 billion in rental assistance to keep people in their homes.
  • Protecting essential workers with an Emergency Temporary OSHA Standard, hazard pay and strong whistleblower protectionsand access to affordable child care consistent with the Heroes Act.
  • Ensuring equitable access to any COVID-19 related care or vaccine, including through Medicaid and Medicare and full reimbursement for the uninsured.
  • Extending access to the benefits included in any coronavirus response legislation to immigrants, including ITIN holders.
  • Ensuring robust support for small businesses and workers through direct payments to businesses for payroll, benefits and operating costs, and improving the federal workshare program by expanding it to all states and eliminating the minimum employee limit.
  • Maintaining the $915 billion in funding for the state, local, tribal and territorial governments and parity for the District of Columbia, consistent with the Heroes Act.
  • Ensuring election security by guaranteeing vote-by-mail for the November 2020 elections, all future federal elections and maintaining access for safe in-person voting for those without access to mail voting, consistent with the Heroes Act.
  • Rejecting price gouging and any expanded corporate bailouts and protections, including liability shields which place the health of corporations over the health of the American people.

The coronavirus pandemic has exposed and exacerbated long-standing inequalities in our country, and the American people demand – and deserve – that Democrats pass a negotiated bill that meets their dire needs.

Sincerely,

Mark Pocan

Pramila Jayapal

Washington, D.C. – Congressional Progressive Caucus Co-Chairs Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal (WA-07) and Congressman Mark Pocan (WI-02) released the following statement urging immediate action to extend and expand health and financial protections for millions of Americans impacted by the coronavirus pandemic:

“Millions of Americans are on the brink of complete economic devastation as COVID-19 cases and joblessness claims continue to rise, and yet the Republican response is to dramatically hollow out unemployment and housing protections in the midst of a pandemic. For more than 30 million unemployed Americans, the Republican proposal would amount to $400 less in critical relief every week as many families are already stretching resources to put food on the table, pay the bills, and make ends meet. This is nothing less than a policy of mass evictions, mass homelessness, mass poverty, and mass hunger that would unleash widespread suffering unlike anything experienced in America since the Great Depression. All the while, big corporations would be shielded from any responsibility or liability for endangering the wellbeing of the public.

“There’s no explanation for the Republican proposal except cruelty and greed. Democrats – and the American people – should demand that Congress extend the $600 per week of expanded unemployment, along with an extension of housing protections, another moratorium on utility shutoffs, and continued financial aid to families that provides certainty to families and workers as the virus continues its rampage. Additionally, Congress should ensure more businesses — particularly small and minority-owned businesses who have yet to get the necessary relief to stay afloat — receive assistance directly from the government instead of through banks, easing the process of aid so they aren’t forced to close their doors permanently. We should also ensure that this latest bill does not become a free-for-all for corporations looking for bailouts, handouts, and liability shields, and prevent profiteering off the virus and people’s pain. Instead of shielding corporations, we should be ensuring that all essential workers are protected and states have access to increased PPE and testing supplies. The American people can’t afford half-measures – we must do better for the millions of families who are counting on us.”

Washington, D.C. – Congressional Progressive Caucus Co-Chairs Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal (WA-07) and Congressman Mark Pocan (WI-02) released the following statement on the decision to remove Department of Homeland Security (DHS) funding from the second minibus appropriations package:

“We’re pleased that Democratic leadership has honored our request to remove the DHS funding bill from the next appropriations package. The Progressive Caucus has repeatedly articulated our concerns with the misuse of DHS funds and the agency’s role in orchestrating the detention of immigrants and separation of families. We’ve also raised our serious concerns with DHS’s recent actions in Portland, where secret police have been deputized to target and harass protestors, and the deployment of DHS officers to cities across the country, including Seattle and Chicago.

“We need a full overhaul of DHS to bring real accountability, prohibit the unconstitutional occupation of our cities, protect the rights of immigrants in DHS custody, and defend civil liberties. We want to thank Chairwoman Roybal-Allard, who has had the Herculean task of reforming this rogue agency, and we look forward to working with her to advance justice, accountability, and human rights. We also want to thank our progressive colleagues for their commitment to addressing the abuses within DHS, and the activists who have fought tirelessly to protect civil liberties and our immigrant communities.”

Washington, D.C. — Congressional Progressive Caucus Co-Chairs Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal (WA-07) and Congressman Mark Pocan (WI-02) released the following statement on the DHS Appropriations bill:

“Across the nation, protestors have been targeted by secret police and denied their civil liberties. The occupation of U.S. cities including Portland, OR and Seattle, WA by unidentified paramilitary agents is a chilling escalation from the Department of Homeland Security, which the Trump Administration has deputized to carry out xenophobic, unconstitutional attacks on human rights and civil liberties. This is the same agency, after all, which has orchestrated and implemented the indefinite detention of immigrants and separation of families at the border.

“The Progressive Caucus has long-standing objections to the DHS Appropriations bill, which would fund these programs and thereby sanction the horrific violations of human rights and due process by ICE, CBP and other agencies. Without the inclusion of additional necessary reforms, we believe that the Democratic Leadership should not attempt to pass Homeland Security funding by tying it to essential coronavirus research, education, and housing funding.”

 

Washington, D.C. – Today, the Congressional Progressive Caucus celebrated the passage of the NO BAN Act and Access to Counsel Act, priority legislation endorsed by the CPC to end President Trump’s xenophobic Muslim and African bans and ensure that individuals with legal status who are held for extended periods of time at U.S. points of entry have access to legal counsel.

“Of all President Trump’s senseless policies, his Muslim and African ban epitomize the bigotry, xenophobia, and plain cruelty of this Administration. These bans serve no purpose other than inflicting needless suffering,” said CPC Co-Chairs Congresswoman Jayapal (WA-07) and Congressman Mark Pocan (WI-02). “For more than three years, these bans have separated loved ones, prevented students from conducting research and pursuing professional opportunities in the U.S., and fueled anti-Muslim harassment. Moreover, this discrimination has led to unjust, prolonged detentions in CBP custody. In some cases, people have been detained and deported with no due process. Since the enactment of these bans, the Progressive Caucus has fought to repeal them and ensure that individuals are protected from wrongful detentions at U.S. points of entry. We pledged to keep fighting for these families until they were reunited – and we’re pleased that today’s vote has brought us one step closer to that goal.”

“Over the last few years, the immigrant, Black, and Muslim communities have been the target of horrific hate, xenophobia, and Islamophobia,” continued Congresswoman Jayapal and Congressman Pocan. “This bill is not a panacea – there is far more work to be done to end the structural racism and anti-Muslim discrimination in this country. But the passage of this legislation today marks the first time, in American history, that Congress has voted to protect and affirm the civil rights of Muslims. We will keep fighting until this bill is signed into law and our nation’s founding promise of justice and liberty for all is made a reality.”

Washington, D.C. — Today, the Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC) announced a formal caucus position on the Fiscal Year 2021 National Defense Authorization Act. The CPC will oppose the National Defense Authorization Act unless the spending level of $740 billion is meaningfully reduced and reallocated to programs that serve the needs of the American public. 

“Last year, the Pentagon budget was 90 times the budget of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). This year — in the midst of a pandemic — that gap has widened further, with Congress proposing $8 billion in funding for the CDC, while the proposed Pentagon budget has ballooned to a record-breaking $740 billion. Congress’s priorities are so severely unbalanced that — even as millions of people across the country fall ill from the novel coronavirus — our leaders refuse to muster the political will to reinvest wasteful Pentagon spending in programs that will keep Americans safe and healthy,” said CPC Co-Chairs Congressman Mark Pocan (WI-02) and Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal (WA-07).“Congress has allowed runaway Pentagon spending to the detriment of other vital programs — including food assistance, housing aid, public health initiatives, and more. In the midst of a pandemic, just days before unemployment benefits expire for millions across this country, it’s obscene to lavish more spending on endless wars, failed weapons systems, and handouts to defense contractors.”

“For far too long, Congress has been locked into a false choice of parity which underfunds human needs in this country while rubber-stamping a skyrocketing Pentagon budget. We urge our colleagues to support the Pocan-Lee Amendment in the House, and the Sanders Amendment in the Senate, which would cut 10 percent from the Pentagon budget,” added Representatives Pocan and Jayapal. “This should serve as a basic starting point as we reimagine what a sustainable defense budget looks like, ahead of the expiration of the caps deal next year.”

The Progressive Caucus’s FY2018 People’s Budget, which was supported by 108 members of Congress, reduced the Pentagon budget to $573 billion. 

The text of the Pocan-Lee amendment is available here.