Washington, D.C. – Congressional Progressive Caucus Chair Pramila Jayapal (WA-07) released the following statement regarding President Biden’s American Jobs Plan:

“Today, President Biden is making a compelling case to the American people that now is the time for comprehensive investments in our infrastructure. We applaud his vision of government as a force for good in this country and agree that bold investments in good-paying union jobs, climate action, and caregiving are essential to uplifting families and building back better.

“While President Biden’s proposal is a welcome first step, more must be done to improve on this initial framework to meet the challenges we face. We are still emerging from a deadly pandemic that has killed half a million Americans and plunged millions more into poverty, joblessness, and food insecurity. It is imperative that we act on a once-in-a-generation opportunity to use our governing majorities and build on the success of the landmark $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan to enact the transformational policies that we were voted into office to deliver.

“To that end, we believe this package can and should be substantially larger in size and scope. During his campaign, President Biden committed to a ‘$2 trillion accelerated investment’ over four years on climate-focused infrastructure alone, which would set America on ‘an irreversible course to meet the ambitious climate progress that science demands.’ Today’s proposal, which includes many other priorities such as care jobs, will invest half that amount—roughly $2 trillion over eight years—or 1 percent of GDP. Given the President’s fierce resolve in passing the overwhelmingly popular American Rescue Plan earlier this month, it makes little sense to narrow his previous ambition on infrastructure or compromise with the physical realities of climate change.

“While we understand there is a separate package to be released on broader care economy supports, health care, and free college, our preference is for a single, ambitious package that would include both physical infrastructure and care infrastructure – these investments go hand-in-hand, and we need both to restore our economy and empower families. People—especially women and people of color who have suffered disproportionate job losses during this recession—can’t get back to work without child care, or long-term care, or investments in education and job retraining. This human infrastructure cannot be secondary to the physical infrastructure needs we have as a country. We have a limited window to get this done—we must seize our chance to build back better with economy-wide investments that work for working families and communities of color.

“We believe that our country is ready for an even bolder, more comprehensive and integrated plan that demonstrates the size, scope, and speed required to aggressively slash carbon pollution and avoid climate catastrophe; create millions of good, family-sustaining, union jobs; improve Americans’ health and safety; reduce racial and gender disparities; and curb income inequality by making the wealthy and large corporations finally pay their fair share in taxes. The Progressive Caucus looks forward to engaging with the White House and Congressional leadership to make all the economic and social investments that we need—with or without Republican votes—and before Congress leaves for August recess. We must act urgently to develop and pass a package that rises to the unprecedented challenges we face as a country.”

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Washington, D.C. – Congressional Progressive Caucus Chair Pramila Jayapal (WA-07) released the following statement calling for Social Security Commissioner Andrew Saul and Deputy Social Security Commissioner David Black to be fired for obstructing the delivery of $1400 survival checks to 30 million Americans:

“It is appalling and outrageous that holdovers from the Trump Administration at the Social Security Administration have delayed the delivery of survival checks to 30 million Americans, including veterans, seniors, and people living with disabilities. This is not a game – for millions of people, these checks are a lifeline to put food on the table, refill prescriptions, and put gas in the car.

“The IRS first sought data for automatic payments from the SSA two weeks prior to the signing of the American Rescue Plan on March 11th – but the SSA refused to provide those files until March 25th after the House Ways & Means Committee issued an ultimatum. In delaying these payments, Commissioner Saul and Deputy Commissioner Black have shown a profound contempt for the American people and are unfit to continue to serve in their roles at the Social Security Administration. The American people should be able to trust that the senior leadership of the Social Security Administration will advocate on their behalf – not needlessly and cruelly obstruct the delivery of survival checks. Commissioner Saul and Deputy Commissioner Black should be removed from their positions immediately.”

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Washington, D.C. – Congressional Progressive Caucus Chair Pramila Jayapal (WA-07) released the following statement on the U.S. House of Representatives vote today to waive statutory PAYGO for the American Rescue Plan Act:

“We’re pleased that the House voted today to waive statutory PAYGO for the American Rescue Plan Act to prevent damaging, self-defeating, and wholly unnecessary cuts to Medicare and other programs. We urge the Senate to follow the House’s lead and act swiftly to waive statutory PAYGO.

“It’s long past time for Congress to end statutory PAYGO permanently. The austerity politics of the last several decades have been an unmitigated failure – hollowing out programs that families rely on and leaving millions unable to afford the basics. Congress should never have to choose between protecting programs like Medicare and lifting families out of poverty or providing urgently needed assistance to working people facing unprecedented economic hardship.

“At the Progressive Caucus, we will keep fighting to end statutory PAYGO for good so that Congress can focus on what really matters: empowering and investing in working people across this nation.”

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Washington, D.C. – Congressional Progressive Caucus Chair Pramila Jayapal (WA-07) released the following statement on the passage of H.R. 6, the Dream and Promise Act:

“The passage of the American Dream and Promise Act today is a direct result of years of dedicated, tireless organizing by countless immigrants, activists, and organizers. This bill is a promise and a commitment to millions of people who love this country, call it home, and are American in every way except on paper.

“As an immigrant who came to this country alone at the age of 16 and went on to start the largest immigrant rights organization in Washington state, I know that our nation is enriched in so many ways by the Dreamers, TPS, and DED recipients who have built their lives here. By passing the American Dream and Promise Act today, we are sending a clear message that we value their contributions and welcome them in this country. Congress still has a great deal of work ahead of us to end the punitive, arbitrary and cruel policies of the Trump Administration – but by passing the American Dream and Promise Act today, we are reaffirming our commitment to protecting the 4.4 million Dreamers, TPS, and DED recipients in this country and treating immigrant communities with dignity and respect.

“We cannot allow this bill to die in the Senate at the hands of Senator McConnell and a viciously xenophobic Republican minority. The American Dream and Promise Act, like so many bills we’ve passed, has majority support in both chambers of Congress, the White House, and among the American people. It’s long past time we abolished the filibuster – a relic of Southern white segregationists, now used to block progress on widely popular and populist bills – so we can pass this bill into law and deliver on our promises to people across this country.”

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Washington, D.C. – Congressional Progressive Caucus Chair Pramila Jayapal (WA-07) released the following statement on the Senate passage of the American Rescue Plan:

“The American Rescue Plan is a truly progressive and bold package that delivers on its promise to put money directly in people’s pockets and decisively crush the coronavirus’s spread, which is responsible for our economic crisis. Compared to the response to the Great Recession, this package meets the scale of this unprecedented crisis, delivering the equivalent of seven percent of GDP for the coming year – exactly what economists say is needed to jumpstart our economy and the labor market. This is a crucial down payment on the $3 to $4.5 trillion in total stimulus funding needed to fully recover from this crisis.

“The Congressional Progressive Caucus worked very hard to ensure that the package that the House passed was as bold as it needed to be, keeping the thresholds for survival checks the same, including essential funding for housing, utilities, and a child tax credit that will cut poverty in half, among other provisions. The CPC also ensured inclusion of the $15 minimum wage in the House plan to continue our pressure on the Senate to pass $15. We are proud of our efforts and know that had we not passed such a bold package in the House, the resulting bill would have been far worse.

“Importantly, despite the fact that we believe any weakening of the House provisions were bad policy and bad politics, the reality is that the final amendments were relatively minor concessions. The American Rescue Plan has retained its core bold, progressive elements originally proposed by President Joe Biden and passed in the House relief package. As 24 million Americans go hungry and 40 million Americans struggle to stay in their homes, the package provides essential aid to keep people in their homes, put food on the table, reopen our schools, ensure access to childcare, keep small businesses afloat, and more.

“We remain extremely disappointed that the minimum wage bill was not included. The minimum wage remains essential policy and we must deliver on this issue. We call on the President to lay out his plan in the coming days for providing a desperately needed raise for 32 million Americans.”

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Washington, D.C. – Congressional Progressive Caucus Chair Pramila Jayapal (WA-07) released the following statement celebrating the passage of H.R. 1, the For The People Act:

“For far too long, our political system has been held captive by billionaires, lobbyists, and special interests. Our democracy has been eroded by voter suppression and gerrymandering. And the voices of everyday families have been drowned out by an avalanche of dark money.

“Our political system can’t work for the people unless we end the corruption in Washington and expand access to the ballot box. The For the People Act is a transformational bill that would restore power to where it belongs – in the hands of the people. This bill contains many priorities that the Progressive Caucus has long advocated for. It makes our elections more fair by expanding voter registration, strengthening early voting and vote by mail programs, ending partisan gerrymandering, and preventing voter suppression. It stops billionaires and big corporations from purchasing our democracy by strengthening ethics laws and oversight, strengthening public financing programs for campaigns, and shining a light on dark money donations.

“The passage of H.R. 1, the For the People Act, is a victory for our democracy and for people across the nation who deserve to have an equal voice in our government. Now, we need the Senate to act. We cannot allow for archaic Senate procedure to derail progress and undermine our democracy – it’s past time to abolish the filibuster so we can deliver real results for the American people, starting with the For the People Act.”

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Washington, D.C. – Congressional Progressive Chair Pramila Jayapal (WA-07) released the following statement on the passage of the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act of 2021:

“This nation was founded on white supremacy. Structural racism is embedded into our institutions and written into our laws. Nowhere is that more evident than in the persistent unequal and unjust treatment of Black Americans by law enforcement and the criminal justice system.

“Last summer, millions of Americans rose up to protest this nation’s epidemic of police brutality, which has gone unaddressed for far too long. By once again passing the Justice in Policing Act, Congress is sending a message that Black Lives Matter and we are undeterred in the fight for justice and accountability. This bill contains many provisions long fought for by the Progressive Caucus, including reforming qualified immunity for police officers, limiting transfers of military-grade equipment to local law enforcement, banning chokeholds, and creating a binding national standard for the use of force. The passage of this bill is an essential piece in the fight to dismantle institutional racism and rebuild centering justice and racial equity.

“We cannot pass this bill in the House only to see it die in the Senate. The filibuster was used for generations as a tool for white supremacists to deny civil rights and basic protections for Black Americans. Allowing the filibuster to remain on the books – and thereby dooming the most transformative civil rights legislation passed in the 21st century – would be an outrage. We urge our Senate colleagues to bring this bill for a vote and end the filibuster once and for all."

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Washington, D.C. – Congressional Progressive Caucus Chair Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal (WA-07) released the following statement on the Senate Parliamentarian’s ruling on the $15 minimum wage in the budget reconciliation package:

“I disagree strongly with the Senate Parliamentarian’s advisory ruling on the $15 minimum wage. As the recent CBO report showed, this provision would have a major budgetary impact and should be eligible for the budget reconciliation package. Let’s be clear: raising the minimum wage is COVID-19 relief.

“After more than 12 years since the last federal minimum wage increase to $7.25 an hour, we cannot allow the advisory opinion of the parliamentarian and Republican obstructionism stand in the way of the promise we made to voters across this country: that we would give 27 million workers a long-overdue pay raise and lift one million people out of poverty during this economic crisis. The current federal minimum wage is a starvation wage. It keeps families trapped in poverty, erases the dignity of their work, and allows billionaires and big corporations to exploit workers. Workers need – and deserve – a federal minimum wage of $15 an hour.

“The White House and Senate leadership can and should still include the minimum wage increase in the bill. We simply cannot go back to the Black, Brown, AAPI, Indigenous, poor and working class voters who delivered us the White House and the Senate majority and tell them that an unelected parliamentarian advised us – based on arcane rules – that we could not raise the minimum wage as we promised.

“The ruling only makes it more clear than ever that the Senate must reform its archaic rules, including reforming the filibuster to allow populist and necessary policies like the $15 minimum wage to pass with a majority of the Senate.

“Raising the federal minimum wage to $15 continues to be a top priority for House progressives. We worked hard with Democratic leadership to ensure it stayed in our House relief package and we look forward to voting for a bold relief package in the coming days that raises the wage for 27 million people. We will continue working with our Senate allies and the Biden Administration to pursue every avenue available to us to deliver on our promise and guarantee a minimum wage for all workers of $15 an hour, not a cent less.”

Washington, D.C. -- Congressional Progressive Caucus Chair Pramila Jayapal (WA-07) released the following statement calling on President Biden to cancel $50,000 in student loan debt for burdened borrowers:

“45 million Americans are stuck in the student debt trap – saddled with more than $1.6 trillion in debt that prevents them from pursuing their dreams, starting families, and investing in our communities. People of color are disproportionately burdened by student loan debt, creating a vicious cycle for Black and Brown borrowers and widening the racial wealth gap.

“As part of our People’s Agenda, the Progressive Caucus identified the cancellation of $50,000 in student debt as one of our top priorities for this year. Cancelling student loan debt is not only widely supported by the American people, it’s also an economic justice and racial justice issue. It would be a boon for our economy and provide a lifeline to millions of people who were swamped with insurmountable student loan debt long before this public health and economic crisis made things even worse. This policy is popular, populist, and beneficial to our economy and working class families. This crisis affects all communities – seniors account for the fastest growing demographic of student loan holders and one in five people paying off a student loan is over the age of 50. We are glad to hear that the Biden Administration has directed the Justice Department to review his authority over student debt cancellation. We believe that President Biden's legal advisors will agree that he retains the broad authority utilized by President Obama and President Trump to freeze and forgive federal loan debt. He should take this opportunity to immediately cancel $50,000 in student loan debt for borrowers across America and provide millions with this desperately needed relief.”

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Washington, D.C. – Congressional Progressive Caucus Chair Pramila Jayapal (WA-07) released the following statement applauding President Biden’s decision to nominate Julie Su to serve as Deputy Secretary of Labor:

“President Biden has made an excellent decision in nominating a progressive champion for workers’ rights to be the Deputy Secretary of Labor. From her time fighting for full civil rights as the Litigation Director at Asian Americans Advancing Justice-Los Angeles to her dedicated public service on behalf of workers as California Labor Commissioner and then the state’s Labor Secretary, Julie Su has spent years powerfully advocating for working people, families, and a more equitable economy. I am excited to see President Biden nominate such a brilliant, talented, experienced, and progressive leader as he recognizes the wealth of contributions of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders and continues to build an administration that reflects the diversity of America.

“We know that Julie will ensure that the voices of working people are always at the table as the Department of Labor and the entire Biden Administration leads our country out of the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. That’s why the Congressional Progressive Caucus proudly worked over the last two months to urge President Biden and his administration to nominate Julie and ensure that she could contribute her exemplary service to working people across America at a pivotal moment for our nation.

“We look forward to partnering closely with Julie as we work to provide COVID-19 relief that meets the scale of the crisis, put people back to work, and give workers more power. Continuing the critical progress that Julie made in California, we will protect essential workers, expand collective bargaining and the right to unionize, and build a strong families infrastructure package by investing in the caregiving economy. We also look forward to working with Julie to support small and minority-owned businesses by providing direct assistance in the form of grants to keep people on payroll and rehire workers. Together, we must ensure that no worker, family, or small business is left behind as America recovers.”

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