WASHINGTON — Rep. Pramila Jayapal (WA-07), chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, issued the following statement on the situation in Afghanistan:

“In his remarks yesterday, President Biden provided a heartfelt and honest explanation to the American people regarding his commitment to ending America’s longest war. To those who advocate for an endless military presence in Afghanistan, he asked, ‘How many more generations of America’s daughters and sons would you have me send to fight Afghanistan’s civil war when Afghan troops will not? How many more lives, American lives, is it worth? How many endless rows of headstones at Arlington National Cemetery? I’m clear on my answer: I will not repeat the mistakes we’ve made in the past.’

“When President Biden announced his withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan, progressives applauded the move. We continue to maintain, as the White House clearly does, that even after spending $1 trillion, sending hundreds of thousands of troops into Afghanistan over 20 years and losing 2,300 American lives, the United States could not have averted this outcome without an endless military presence. And we agree with the President that the American government has a moral responsibility to all those affected by our actions.

“The President’s decision is overwhelmingly supported by the American people, with recent polling showing 70 percent of the country, with bipartisan majorities, supported his plan to withdraw all troops by September 11, 2021. Despite this consensus, Congressional Republicans have disingenuously chosen to play politics at this moment. Republican administrations began the war in Afghanistan, controlled it for 12 of the past 20 years, and initiated the peace process with the Taliban last year that led to an agreement for a U.S. withdrawal. They should participate in the needed examination of why 20 years of war have failed, rather than playing the blame game. Our focus now must be on the human beings on the receiving end of this policy.

“We appreciate the efforts the administration is undertaking to ensure the safety and security of those currently in Afghanistan, but our government needs to go farther — and work faster. The United States must ensure refugee processing moves forward without bureaucratic delay, and with special allowances recognizing the difficulty for people to leave Afghanistan. In addition to the State Department’s work to expedite Special Immigrant Visas, we must also expand these visas and grant Temporary Protected Status to Afghans residing in the United States. We must increase humanitarian aid to support civilians who fled to Kabul and provincial capitals and are without shelter, food, medical assistance or vaccines. The heartbreaking situation confronting ordinary Afghans after 20 years of American war requires us to act as quickly as we can.

“Finally, we urge the Biden Administration to continue engaging diplomatically with the Taliban and regional actors to avoid further bloodshed, protect human rights, and avoid mass migration and instability. This means cooperating with aid agencies, the United Nations, and neighboring countries with an interest in a positive outcome, including Russia, China, Iran, Pakistan, and Turkey.”

WASHINGTON — Congressional Progressive Caucus Chair Rep. Pramila Jayapal (WA-07), Deputy Chair Rep. Katie Porter (CA-45), Whip Rep. Ilhan Omar (MN-05), and House Peace and Security Caucus Chair Rep. Barbara Lee (CA-13) called for the Department of Defense (DOD) to comply with transparency regulations and provide overdue key reporting to Congress.

In a letter sent this week, the members expressed concern over DOD’s failure to complete certain reports to the legislature, as required by law. Such reports are critical to Congressional oversight of the Pentagon, as well as to the welfare of servicemembers. The reports, all delinquent as of July 1, are critical to ensuring transparency of the use of taxpayer dollars by the agency. They included: an unclassified report on DOD greenhouse gas emissions; and unclassified study on extremist recruiting, predatory marketing, and other cyber exploitation targeting service members and their families; and an unclassified report on policies and procedures for DOD to obtain information about possible human rights violations from DOD contractors.

In the letter, the lawmakers wrote, “President Biden stated that ‘[t]he revitalization of our national security and foreign policy workforce requires a recommitment to the highest standards of transparency.’ At a minimum, this should include fulfilling statutory reporting requirements on time, with the content and level of classification proscribed by law. These reports are critical to the welfare of our service members and their families, to Congress’ ability to legislate effectively and to keeping the American people informed about their government...It is imperative that the Biden Administration make a clean break from what the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee called ‘the dismissive attitude toward oversight exhibited by the Department,’ under President Donald Trump.”

The members asked for a response by September 8 that details the status of the reports, if there is a legal basis for noncompliance with these reporting requirements, if there has or will be any disciplinary action for DOD personnel related to noncompliance with these reporting requirements, among other questions. They also request a briefing by DOD for the Caucus no later than September 1 on how the Pentagon will come into compliance with its reporting requirements.

WASHINGTON — Rep. Pramila Jayapal (WA-07), chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, issued the following statement on the Senate’s passage of the $3.5 trillion budget resolution.

“This transformative budget will represent one of the most significant investments in workers, families, and communities in decades. We applaud Senator Sanders and Leader Schumer for their leadership in shepherding it through the Upper Chamber.

“Since April, our Caucus has been advocating for the need to fully deliver on the total promise of President Biden’s Build Back Better agenda, and not allow this moment to pass with only limited investments. Thanks to that work, this resolution includes our five priorities — providing funding to aggressively combat the climate crisis, house families who have been shut out of affordable housing, ensure that parents have child care and paid leave, expand Medicare to give millions of seniors the health care they need, and finally pass a roadmap to citizenship for our neighbors. We will work to ensure that these priorities are sufficiently funded and designed in implementation legislation. Our focus is now on ensuring we deliver this all the way to the President’s desk — which is why we will continue to stay focused on ensuring the passage of this bill before we can vote for the smaller bipartisan package sent over by the Senate.

“The American people delivered us the House, Senate, and White House not only to improve roads and bridges but to improve their daily lives, too. We can do that by using this governing moment to ensure that President Biden’s complete agenda is realized. We’re excited to be on the path toward achieving that goal, and will continue to work for a final reconciliation bill that meets the scale of this moment for our communities.”

WASHINGTON — The Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC) announced today that a survey of its 96 members showed that a majority of respondents will not vote for a bipartisan infrastructure bill until the Senate passes a robust budget reconciliation bill to fund the rest of the American Jobs and Families Plans.

The survey asked whether members would commit to withholding a yes vote on the bipartisan infrastructure deal — Senate Amendment 2137 to H.R. 3684 — until the Senate has passed budget reconciliation legislation deemed acceptable by the Congressional Progressive Caucus. The CPC shared the results in a letter to House Speaker Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Schumer. “A majority of respondents affirmed that they would withhold their votes in support of the bipartisan legislation in the House of Representatives until the Senate adopted a robust reconciliation package,” wrote Congressional Progressive Caucus Chair Rep. Pramila Jayapal (WA-07), Deputy Chair Rep. Katie Porter (CA-45), and Whip Rep. Ilhan Omar (MN-05).

“These results affirm the urgency of ensuring that the Senate’s desire to pass a narrower bipartisan infrastructure agreement does not come at the expense of the full scope investments our communities need, want, and deserve,” said Jayapal. “Our Caucus is clear: the bipartisan bill will only be passed if a package of social, human, and climate infrastructure — reflecting long-standing Democratic priorities — is passed simultaneously through budget reconciliation. We know that Congressional Democrats are committed to delivering immediate and transformational improvements for the lives of the American people, and will hold firm to meet that promise.”

The letter also urged leadership “to continue coordinating closely between the two chambers, collaborating with the White House, and engaging with our caucus so that the reconciliation framework reflects our shared and long-standing investment priorities, and that the Senate first adopts this reconciliation package before any House consideration of bipartisan infrastructure legislation.”

The Progressive Caucus first articulated its agenda for this infrastructure investment in a letter to Speaker Pelosi back in April. It detailed the members’ five priorities: bold investments in affordable housing; a robust care economy including home-based care, universal child care, and paid leave; expanded Medicare by lowering the eligibility age and covering hearing, vision, and dental while lowering prescription drug prices; aggressive climate action including a fossil fuel free national clean energy standard and a Civilian Climate Corps; and a roadmap to citizenship for Dreamers, TPS holders, essential workers, and farmworkers.

Throughout the negotiation process, the CPC has reiterated its commitments to funding these priorities, and was the first to advocate for a simultaneous two-track process that uses bipartisan legislation and budget reconciliation to meet those goals. Speaker Pelosi and Leader Schumer both endorsed this strategy over the summer.

WASHINGTON — Congressional Progressive Caucus Chair Rep. Pramila Jayapal (WA-07), Chair Emeritus Rep Mark Pocan (WI-02), Vice Chair for Labor Rep. Donald Norcross (NJ-01), Deputy Whip Rep. Debbie Dingell (MI-12), and Rep. Linda Sánchez (CA-38) issued the following statement following the death of Richard Trumka, long-time AFL-CIO President:

“Richard Trumka’s passing is a devastating loss for the labor movement, and for all of us in the fight for worker justice.

“As the son of a coal-mining family growing up in Southwestern Pennsylvania, Richard learned early and personally the importance of the struggle for worker dignity and solidarity. He followed the men of his family into the mines before attending college and law school, eventually becoming the youngest-ever president of the United Mine Workers of America (UMWA) at age 33. From that post, he led one of the most successful strikes against the Pittston Coal Company, securing health and pension benefits for UMWA’s members.

“Since becoming president of the AFL-CIO in 2009, Richard relentlessly championed the rights of the 12.5 million members in his care, and became a national leader in the work for social justice, economic justice, and immigrants’ rights. Under his leadership, the labor movement has galvanized renewed national attention and achieved some of the most significant policy wins in its history, including a nationwide movement to raise the wage that has secured increases in nearly half of states in the last five years, and a $15 minimum wage for hundreds of thousands of federal contractors. President Biden’s American Jobs and Families Plan codifies Richard’s influence with significant pro-worker policies across the economy. And in 2021, the House of Representatives passed the most substantial pro-worker legislation in history with the PRO Act, in partnership with the millions of union members Richard led.

“In Richard’s memory, and inspired by his formidable example, we will carry on the fight of his life: to build an economy that supports, not exploits, the working class. To hold the most powerful accountable for their treatment of working people. And to ensure that every worker can join a union, and have a say in their own lives.

“Our condolences are with Richard’s family, the AFL-CIO, and the broader progressive community at this heartbreaking time. May he rest in power.”

WASHINGTON — Rep. Pramila Jayapal (WA-07), chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, issued the following statement upon the Biden administration’s forthcoming release of a new moratorium on evictions during the pandemic. 

“We applaud the White House and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for issuing this new eviction moratorium today. This is a huge victory, and we laud President Biden for listening to the clarion call of our members, our colleagues, and communities around the country. The President understands that we must keep people in their homes, and we thank him for acting. It is not an exaggeration to say that the President’s action today will save lives.

“It’s clear this would not have happened if not for the advocacy of the Congressional Progressive Caucus. Our members have been pushing for months for the moratorium to be continued to protect people from eviction, including issuing a statement to this effect last week, and continuing to advocate for the House to act. That culminated in the urgent direct action led by Progressive Caucus Member Rep. Cori Bush (MO-01), who galvanized national attention and called on Washington to govern with moral clarity. As a lifelong organizer, I am so proud that we have committed, clear-eyed activists like Rep. Bush in Congress who are leading the way. We can see that it gets results.

“This executive action will provide lifesaving relief from the imminent threat of homelessness for millions of people around the country, and ensure families do not lose their homes just as the deadly Delta variant is surging. This also buys time for states and cities to distribute the $46 billion in rental assistance — and for Congress to act.

“We ask leadership to reconvene the House so that we can work to find a longer term solution not only to the eviction crisis. We also need to ensure that the upcoming expiration of other pandemic protections, like the student loan pause, doesn’t throw working families into chaos once again. What happened this weekend cannot be repeated. The CDC has done what we asked and given us time to act — we need to use it.”

Today’s announcement follows months of advocacy by Progressive Caucus members for a solution to the eviction crisis, including repeated overtures to the Biden administration. Beginning in January, Reps. Ayanna Pressley (MA-07) and Jimmy Gomez (CA-34) led a group of 63 lawmakers asking the incoming Biden administration to prioritize housing security. In May, Rep. Bush led members in asking the CDC directly to extend and strengthen the eviction moratorium. In June, Reps. Pressley, Gomez, and Bush led another letter to President Biden and the CDC, and Reps. Pressley and Ilhan Omar (MN-05) re-introduced legislation to institute a nationwide cancellation of rents and home mortgage payments through the duration of the pandemic. And through her role in the Financial Services Committee, Chairwoman Maxine Waters (CA-43) issued multiple calls to keep people in their homes by halting foreclosures and extending eviction protections, and met just last week with Treasury Secretary Yellen to discuss disbursal of rent assistance funds to state and local governments.

The members have also advocated continually for the House of Representatives to reconvene and pass legislation to extend the eviction moratorium. After the House failed to pass legislation to extend the moratorium through December 31, Congresswoman Bush sat down on the steps of the Capitol with a camping chair and a commitment to preventing millions of people from eviction. She has remained there since, and been joined by several CPC and congressional colleagues, along with hundreds of community members from D.C. The Progressive Caucus was the first congressional caucus to call for action from the White House last week, in advance of the expiration of the moratorium.

WASHINGTON — Rep. Pramila Jayapal (WA-07), chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, issued the following statement upon Congress’ failure to extend the eviction moratorium: 

“It is unacceptable that the House adjourned without urgently passing legislation, that our Progressive Caucus members supported, to keep people in their homes when more than 11.4 million people will begin facing eviction tomorrow.

“The eviction moratorium was meant to conclude with the end of the pandemic, but that crisis is nowhere near over. Case numbers and hospitalizations are rising again, and just this week the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reinstated an indoor mask mandate. And with recent estimates that up to 80 percent of households who are behind on rent and at risk of eviction live in communities with over 100 percent COVID-19 case growth rates in July, mass evictions are certain to exacerbate the spread of the virus.

“We stand by our call for the White House to act with the urgency this crisis deserves by extending the moratorium on eviction and foreclosures unilaterally. Federal law allows broad authority to the CDC to make regulations to prevent the introduction, transmission, or spread of communicable diseases. There is no reason why the White House should not immediately move ahead, even if there is a legal challenge to that order. The reality is that this is a desperate situation for millions of families across the country, and we need action that meets that desperation. We also join the call for, where possible, states and localities to use their executive authority to issue moratoriums on eviction and foreclosure for their residents. 

“This administration can and must act now to extend the moratorium in light of the upsurge in deadly infections so that every vulnerable American, no matter their zip code, will be protected from the threat of eviction.” 

WASHINGTON — Rep. Pramila Jayapal (WA-07), chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, issued the following statement in advance of the expiration of the nationwide eviction and foreclosure moratoriums, currently scheduled for July 31.

“It is absolutely imperative that we extend protections against foreclosures and evictions past the end of this month. These moratoriums were meant to conclude alongside the pandemic — but with the Delta variant on the upswing, COVID-19 case numbers rising, and the CDC once again issuing mask mandates, it is abundantly clear that we are nowhere near the end of this crisis.

“Families across this country need more time. They need time for the substantive rental assistance this government passed to reach their pockets. They need time to take precautions against the surging virus. They need time to find jobs and pay for their most basic needs — needs that cannot be met without a roof over their heads. Unless we want to exacerbate the pandemic by allowing millions of our neighbors to be evicted over the next several weeks, we need to give them that time. The Progressive Caucus urges the White House to act now and extend protections against eviction.”

WASHINGTON — Rep. Pramila Jayapal (WA-07), chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, issued the following statement on the ongoing infrastructure negotiations:

“Progressives have been clear from the beginning: a small and narrow bipartisan infrastructure bill does not have a path forward in the House of Representatives unless it has a reconciliation package, with our priorities, alongside it.

“We look forward to seeing the progress made by the twenty Senators. But the votes of Congressional Progressive Caucus members are not guaranteed on any bipartisan package until we examine the details, and until the reconciliation bill is agreed to and passed with our priorities sufficiently funded. The investments we identified months ago are long-standing Democratic priorities, including affordable housing, Medicare expansion, strengthening the care economy, climate action, and a roadmap to citizenship.

“Our Caucus will continue to demand that Congress fulfill the mandate we were elected on: to deliver necessary, urgent, and transformational change for working families.”

WASHINGTON — Rep. Pramila Jayapal (WA-07), chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, issued the following statement following the appointment of Jonathan Kanter to serve as Assistant Attorney General for Antitrust at the Department of Justice: 

“Jonathan Kanter’s nomination means there will be a champion in the Department of Justice for those whose lives and livelihoods have been most harmed by unjust and illegal monopolies: from workers and consumers, to local newspapers and small businesses. We applaud President Biden for this critically important nomination of Kanter, who will ensure the federal government is fully empowered to rein in anti-competitive behavior, promote fairness, and end monopolistic practices — as well as preventing them from happening in the first place.

“We are at a critical moment in the fight against corporate consolidation. It is time to finally hold all corporate monopolies, including Big Tech, accountable. Big Tech platforms’ current policy of self-regulation clearly does not work — and as long as they remain unregulated, they will continue to violate users’ privacy, destroy small businesses, strangle competition, allow destructive misinformation and discrimination to fester, and endanger our democracy.

“The President’s nominations of Kanter, combined with progressive choices including Lina Khan, Tim Wu and Rohit Chopra, will enable Congress to reassert our power and to write the next critically important chapter of antitrust law. I'm looking forward to working with AAG Kanter once confirmed to build an economy that is equitable, competitive, and allows innovation to thrive.”