Washington, D.C. – Today, Progressive Caucus Co-Chairs Congressman Mark Pocan (WI-02) and Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal (WA-07), along with CPC Deputy Whip Congressman Lloyd Doggett (TX-35), sent a letter to Speaker Nancy Pelosi calling for the repeal of $160 billion in tax breaks for millionaires tucked into last month’s CARES Act.


“One of the Progressive Caucus’s guiding principles as we consider the next relief package is ensuring every action Congress takes addresses inequality. Relief must be focused on those who need it most, and we must resist regressive measures that deliver most benefits to those at the top, while doing little for working families,” the letter notes. “The $160 billion in no-strings-attached handouts was more than aid provided in the CARES Act for hospitals across America...We appreciate your recently stated opposition to these provisions, which are totally unrelated to the pandemic, and urge you to prioritize their repeal in the next relief package.”

The full letter is below.
 



Dear Speaker Pelosi:

Thank you for your leadership as the nation continues to battle the coronavirus and we work together to deliver further relief for those suffering. One of the Progressive Caucus’s guiding principles as we consider the next relief package is ensuring every action Congress takes addresses inequality. Relief must be focused on those who need it most, and we must resist regressive measures that deliver most benefits to those at the top, while doing little for working families.

As small businesses and workers were running out of options last month, Republicans tucked into the CARES Act tax breaks for “net operating losses” that will overwhelmingly benefit the super-rich and large corporations. The $160 billion in no-strings-attached handouts was more than aid provided in the CARES Act for hospitals across America. At a time when workers need a paycheck guarantee and monthly direct cash assistance, the Joint Committee on Taxation found that those with $1 million or more in annual income, who will enjoy 82% of the benefits of one provision, will get an average of $1.6 million each. We appreciate your recently stated opposition to these provisions, which are totally unrelated to the pandemic, and urge you to prioritize their repeal in the next relief package.

We also urge opposition to further tax breaks targeted at the wealthy few and large corporations. Corporate lobbyists are pushing for numerous handouts that have little to do with the pandemic and more to do with locking in or expanding the windfall they reaped from the Republican tax scam in ways that will not promote economic recovery. Whether in the form of tax breaks, loans, or other federal support, any assistance to corporations must at the very least come with adequate guardrails to ensure workers benefit instead of executives and wealthy shareholders. However, our focus as Democrats must be on advancing relief measures that put assistance directly into the hands of the working families that need it most.

Thank you for your continued leadership and consideration.

Sincerely,

Mark Pocan

Pramila Jayapal

Lloyd Doggett 

Washington, D.C. – Today, the Congressional Progressive Caucus held the second in a series of remote hearings on bold solutions to the coronavirus pandemic. Today’s hearing, entitled “A Just Response: Addressing Racial and Economic Disparities in the COVID-19 Pandemic” was chaired by CPC Executive Board members Congresswoman Barbara Lee (CA-13) and Congresswoman Veronica Escobar (TX-16).


The hearing featured expert testimony from four witnesses:

  • Reverend Dr. William J. Barber, Co-Chair of the Poor People’s Campaign
  • Dr. James E.K. Hildreth, Ph.D, M.D., 12th President and Chief Executive Officer of Meharry Medical College
  • Nayna Gupta, Associate Director of Policy, National Immigrant Justice Center
  • Dr. Christina Paz, CEO of Centro San Vicente

The hearing is available to watch here. 

Washington, D.C. — Wednesday, May 6th from 2:00-3:30pm ET, the Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC) will hold a remote hearing entitled “A Just Response: Addressing Racial and Economic Disparities in the COVID-19 Pandemic.” This hearing will be the second in a series from the Progressive Caucus examining bold solutions to the coronavirus crisis.

Wednesday’s hearing will be chaired by CPC Executive Board members Congresswoman Barbara Lee (CA-13) and Congresswoman Veronica Escobar (TX-16). The hearing will examine the various factors – including health disparities, economic inequality, and inhumane detention practices – that have put communities of color at greater risk in this pandemic.

Wednesday's virtual hearing will be available to watch live here.

WHAT: CPC Remote Hearing; “A Just Response: Addressing Racial and Economic Disparities in the COVID-19 Pandemic”

WHO: 

  • Congresswoman Barbara Lee (CA-13)
  • Congresswoman Veronica Escobar (TX-16)
  • CPC Co-Chair Pramila Jayapal (WA-07)
  • Members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus
  • Reverend Dr. William J. Barber, Co-Chair of the Poor People’s Campaign
  • Dr. James E.K. Hildreth, Ph.D, M.D., 12th President and Chief Executive Officer of Meharry Medical College
  • Nayna Gupta, Associate Director of Policy, National Immigrant Justice Center
  • Christina Paz, CEO of Centro San Vicente


WHERE: The hearing will air live on the Progressive Caucus’s Facebook Page

WHEN: Wednesday, May 6th at 2:00pm Eastern/11:00am Pacific

Washington, D.C. – Yesterday, the Co-Chairs of the Congressional Progressive Caucus sent a letter to Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Majority Leader Steny Hoyer urging quick action to enact a remote voting system and pass a bold and inclusive CARES-2 package to protect the physical health and financial security of families across the country.

Read the letter below.


Dear Speaker Pelosi and Majority Leader Hoyer,

As Congress considers the next steps for a just and resilient recovery, we write to you on two important issues.

First, we ask that Congress work urgently to pass—within the next two weeks—a comprehensive and inclusive CARES-2 bill that meets the scale of the crisis. Since the last letter we wrote you on April 9th, the Covid19 crisis has worsened dramatically, and has taken a disproportionate toll on vulnerable communities:

• As of today, at least 55,000 of our friends, neighbors, and loved ones have died from this pandemic – approaching the death toll of American servicemembers in the Vietnam War.
• African Americans comprise nearly one-third of all US Covid19 deaths, despite making up only 13 percent of the US population, a staggering total rooted in a long history of structural inequalities and environmental racism.
• More than 24 million Americans – one in seven workers – have filed for unemployment in just the last five weeks, with job loss disproportionately concentrated among low-income workers and women.
• It’s estimated that only 29 percent of jobless Americans received unemployment benefits in March, leaving millions without income or a safety net.

CARES 2 must provide immediate and substantial relief on four key priority areas that will put families first and leave no-one out. Those priorities are:

1. Keeping people on payrolls: Stop mass layoffs and ensure federal dollars go to workers and small businesses, not enriching CEOs and Wall Street.
2. Providing financial relief: Expand aid for the most vulnerable in the COVID-19 epidemic, including direct cash assistance, increased food aid, debt relief, and eviction protections.
3. Protecting public health: Provide full health coverage for all COVID-19 care, ensure protections and hazard pay for essential workers, and secure critically-needed state and local funding.
4. Safeguarding our elections: Enact a vote-by-mail requirement for 2020 federal elections while maintaining access to in-person voting for those who do not have access to mail voting

Second, we urge you to work with us to find a way for Congress to safely vote on both the proxy voting proposal and a CARES-2 package as soon as possible. We appreciate the decision to delay next week’s return given the ongoing pandemic, but we must find a way for members of Congress to vote on issues of critical national importance while protecting public health. Time is of the essence.

Below, we have reattached the CPC letter from April 9th for your consideration. We look forward to working with you to ensure Congress takes a comprehensive and inclusive approach to the next coronavirus package.

Sincerely,

Pramila Jayapal
Co-Chair
Congressional Progressive Caucus

Mark Pocan
Co-Chair
Congressional Progressive Caucus

Washington, D.C. -- Congressional Progressive Caucus Co-Chairs Mark Pocan (WI-02) and Pramila Jayapal (WA-07) released the following statement calling for immediate action on bold, sweeping CARES-2 legislation:


“While important, the interim legislation passed by Congress today comes nowhere close to meeting the needs of families across this country. More than 47,000 Americans have died, 26 million people are unemployed, and there is no end in sight to this crisis.

“Congress must do far more to direct relief to the everyday families who need help the most. We’re pleased that Speaker Pelosi has committed to drafting a CARES-2 bill that originates in the House, with input from all House Democrats. We must pass bold legislation that meets the scale of this crisis and that is grounded in justice, equity and inclusion.

“Two weeks ago, we sent a letter to Speaker Pelosi outlining our four priorities for the next big coronavirus response legislation, namely:

  1. keeping people on payrolls through worksharing and a paycheck guarantee;
  2. providing economic relief;
  3. protecting public health;
  4. and safeguarding our elections. 

“By centering these principles in the next package, and ensuring that these programs are open to all, regardless of immigration status, Congress can show that we are putting people first.

“We cannot afford to think small in a time that calls for bold and decisive action. House Democrats must lead with vision and urgency by passing a CARES-2 bill that meets the immense needs of this moment.”

Washington, D.C. — Today, the Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC) announced the launch of a series of remote congressional hearings to examine bold solutions to the coronavirus crisis. The hearings, entitled “The Progressive COVID-19 Response: Proposals to Protect Families’ Physical and Financial Health,” will feature presentations from experts.

The series will start on Wednesday, April 29rd at 2pm Eastern/11am Pacific with a hearing entitled “Preventing Layoffs: Keeping People Employed through Worksharing and a National Paycheck Guarantee.” The hearing, which will be chaired by CPC Co-Chairs Congressman Mark Pocan (WI-02) and Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal (WA-07), will examine efforts to expand the Workshare program within Unemployment Insurance to more states and businesses, as well as legislation on a national paycheck guarantee.

Wednesday's virtual hearing will be available to watch live here.

WHAT: Congressional Progressive Caucus Remote Hearing on Preventing Layoffs: Keeping People Employed through Worksharing and a National Paycheck Guarantee

WHO: CPC Co-Chairs Mark Pocan (WI-02) and Pramila Jayapal (WA-07)
Members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus
Sharon Block, Executive Director of the Labor and Worklife Program at Harvard Law School
Amanda Ballantyne, Director of The Main Street Alliance
Owen Herrnstadt, Esq., Chief of Staff to the International President of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers

WHERE: The hearing will air live on the Progressive Caucus’s Facebook Page

WHEN: Wednesday, April 29th at 2:00pm Eastern/11:00am Pacific
 

Washington, D.C. — Today, the Congressional Progressive Caucus released a letter, signed by members of the CPC Executive Board, urging Democratic House Leadership to take bold action in the CARES-2 package.

The letter identifies four key areas that should be prioritized in a just, effective, and equitable response to the COVID-19 epidemic, specifically:

  • keeping people on payrolls;
  • providing economic relief;
  • protecting public health;
  • and safeguarding our elections. 

Additionally, the letter highlights three principles that should underpin all Democratic efforts on the coronavirus crisis.

  • Firstly, ensuring everyone, regardless of tax or immigration status, age or disability status, is eligible for robust assistance — including parity for tribal residents, U.S. territorial residents, and people living in the District of Columbia.
  • Secondly, ensuring financial assistance lasts the duration of the crisis through automatic triggers that tie assistance to economic conditions.
  • And lastly, ensuring every action taken by Congress addresses inequality and strengthens racial equity and economic equality.

The letter was signed by Congressional Progressive Caucus Co-Chairs Mark Pocan (WI-02) and Pramila Jayapal (WA-07), as well as CPC Executive Board Members Ro Khanna (CA-17), Ilhan Omar (MN-05), Barbara Lee (CA-13), Raul Grijalva (AZ-03), Jamie Raskin (MD-08), Rashida Tlaib (MI-13), Katie Porter (CA-45), David Cicilline (RI-01), Katherine Clark (MA-05), Debbie Dingell (MI-12), Veronica Escobar (TX-16), Ruben Gallego ( AZ-07), Sheila Jackson Lee (TX-18), Joe Neguse (CO-02), Donald Norcross (NJ- 01), Jan Schakowsky (IL-09), Mark Takano (CA-41), Lloyd Doggett (TX-35), Adriano Espaillat (NY-13), Deb Haaland (NM-01), Andy Levin (MI-09), and Jesus “Chuy” Garcia (IL-04).

The full letter is available here. 

Washington, D.C. — The Congressional Progressive Caucus Co-Chairs, Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal (WA-07) and Congressman Mark Pocan (WI-02), released the following statement on the $2 trillion COVID-19 relief package passed by Congress:

“The urgency of this pandemic cannot be overstated. The United States now leads the world in documented COVID-19 cases and communities across our nation are faced with limited resources and impossible choices.

“This bill was far from perfect, but the American public needs help — and they need that help now. To address our public health emergency, the bill provides desperately needed funds to states and municipalities facing this crisis and makes investments in PPE and medical devices which will save lives. To stabilize our economy, this legislation dramatically expands unemployment insurance for millions of Americans and provides critical aid to small businesses and nonprofits to weather this crisis.

“We have wide-ranging and serious frustrations with provisions that Republicans insisted on inserting into the bill, including the watered-down conditions on industry aid, the inadequate protections for frontline workers, incarcerated and detained individuals, and other vulnerable populations, and the exclusion of immigrants from these urgent public health and economic relief initiatives. And while we were glad to see cash assistance included in the bill, a one-time check is nowhere near sufficient for families facing an unprecedented economic downturn and months of mounting debt.

“We can’t let this bill be the end of this conversation. Working families need more than a one-time check to keep them afloat. Frontline health workers need stronger protections, to keep themselves and our entire community healthy. Immigrants need protections so they can afford to stay safe and healthy too. And we must ensure aggressive and constant scrutiny of the appropriated industry aid to ensure it does not become a corporate slush fund. We will keep fighting for these priorities in the coming weeks and months, as our nation confronts this unprecedented public health emergency.”

Washington, DC – Today, the Congressional Progressive Caucus released a letter outlining twelve key priorities for mitigating the COVID-19 outbreak in the United States and protecting workers and families from the devastating economic impact of the pandemic. The letter to Speaker Pelosi was signed by the CPC Co-Chairs Mark Pocan (WI-02) and Pramila Jayapal (WA-07).


“This is a pivotal moment for our health care system and our economy. We need to give workers the financial resources to stay healthy and ensure our health system is equipped to provide life-saving, universal care to everyone in our country,” said Reps. Pocan and Jayapal. “In our letter, we provide urgent recommendations for legislative action to address the gravity of this moment and provide economic security and peace of mind to families at this critical time.”

The twelve top priorities for legislative action identified by the Progressive Caucus are as follows:
• Provide Immediate Cash Assistance:
• Address Housing Insecurity
• Provide Worker-Centered Industry Assistance
• Provide Higher Education Assistance
• Support for Small Businesses and Nonprofit Organizations
• Include Broad Expansion of Worksharing and Other Unemployment Insurance (UI) Programs
• Provide Free Testing, Treatment, and Prevention
• Include Immigration and Criminal Justice Protections
• Expand Paid Leave Policies
• Maintain Election Integrity
• Ensure Parity for Tribes, Tribal Organizations, and Urban Indian Organizations
• Utilize the Defense Production Act (DPA)

The full letter is below.



Dear Speaker Pelosi:

Thank you for acting with urgency to address the widespread impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak on families, workers and businesses across the country. The members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus have collectively identified the following as top priorities for the next package to ensure we protect the health and safety of individuals, families and our economy.

Provide Immediate Cash Assistance:
• Guarantee immediate, targeted monthly payments of up to $2,000 for each adult, and up to an additional $1,000 for families with children for up to 6 months, with an opportunity to extend another 6 months as needed, with eligibility based upon income.
• Children under 18 in eligible households per the criteria above are eligible for the child payment if they were eligible for the 2019 Child Tax Credit, except that filers of any age (and their spouses) who claim dependents are instead eligible for the adult payment.
• Distribute checks through the IRS, Social Security, Electronic Benefits Transfer and FEMA.

Address Housing Insecurity:
• Implement a temporary, nation-wide moratorium on evictions and foreclosures for homeowners and renters.
• Provide emergency rental assistance to renters directly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. With low-income workers and communities of color more likely to be living paycheck-to-paycheck, many cities across the country are already implementing similar measures to address housing insecurity.
• Increase funding for the McKinney-Vento Emergency Solution grant, the McKinney-Vento Continuum of Care grant, the FEMA Emergency Food and Shelter grant, and the Disaster Housing Assistance Program to assist those who are already homeless or housing insecure.

Provide Worker-Centered Industry Assistance:
• Condition assistance on maintaining payroll and covering other essentials, such as rent and utilities, on respecting existing collective bargaining agreements and adhering to robust paid leave policies, as included in the Families First Coronavirus Response Act and CDC-directed public health guidelines.
• Prohibit the use of funds for stock buybacks, executive bonuses and dividends, and a cap on senior executive pay at no more than 50 times the pay of their median worker.
• Establish an oversight body that includes unions and other worker representatives.
• Provide support and issue regulations to ensure the integrity of collective bargaining agreements and any pension or retirement plans if a corporation seeks bankruptcy, reorganization, a merger, an acquisition, or other significant disruptions to their employment structure.

Provide Higher Education Assistance:
• Implement an immediate moratorium on all negative credit reporting and ensure a period of debt forgiveness or loan forbearance with no additional interest accrued through the crisis on all loans.
• Prohibit lenders from making loans fall due immediately after the pandemic ends.
• Ensure that any payments made or debts forgiven by the federal government toward student loan payments and interest charges count toward achieving Public Service Loan Forgiveness completion.

Support for Small Businesses and Nonprofit Organizations:
• Provide direct cash assistance or grants to small business owners and nonprofit organizations (50 employees or less) to cover lost expenses and costs such as rent, utilities, etc. during a time of forced closure or limited operations. This should cover independent contractors, sole proprietors, and gig economy workers.
• Protect small businesses and nonprofits from evictions, utility shut-offs and other impacts related to an inability to pay bills or loans as a result of forced closure or operational limits imposed by city or state officials.
• Ensure that new businesses or nonprofits that will not qualify for benefits also receive assistance.

Include Broad Expansion of Worksharing and Other Unemployment Insurance (UI) Programs:
• Require all states to offer robust work-sharing unemployment insurance programs for workers whose hours are reduced to maintain payroll and reduce layoffs. To incentivize take up, the replacement rate should be at least 80% of what an employee made in the highest two-week period.
• Extend Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA) to cover self-employed individuals and others ineligible for regular UI.
• Increase the UI replacement rate to no less than 80% and provide a benefit period for up to 52 weeks.
• Eliminate UI eligibility requirements that overly restrict access.
• Provide federal funding to cover the cost of these temporary changes.

Provide Free Testing, Treatment, and Prevention:
• Require private health insurers, Medicare Part B, Medicare Advantage, Medicaid, CHIP, TRICARE, and the Indian Health Service to fully cover coronavirus testing, treatment and prevention at no out-of-pocket cost.
• Guarantee additional resources to hospitals, community health centers, and clinics.
• Use the National Disaster Medical System to cover uninsured people with Medicare for any recommended care for coronavirus, including workers recently laid off.
• Provide additional emergency appropriations to cover these costs and the state share of Medicaid during this crisis to alleviate the strain on state budgets.

Include Immigration and Criminal Justice Protections:
• Mitigate the risk of a COVID-19 outbreak in prisons, jails, and immigration detention facilities by consulting with public health and medical professionals to implement best practices to prevent and manage the spread of infection while maintaining access to counsel and visitation, and upholding constitutional rights.
• Identify people who can be released, particularly those most vulnerable to contracting COVID-19, through release on recognizance, reasonable bond, or other appropriate alternatives to detention.
• Protect the health of everyone by providing free testing and treatment to all immigrants, regardless of their immigration status.
• Suspend immigration court operations and excuse or relax immigration deadlines for the duration of the outbreak and at least three months after.
• Cease immigration arrests for people who pose no significant public safety risk to minimize the risk of a COVID-19 outbreak in immigration detention.

Expand Paid Leave Policies:
• Reinstate protections for frontline workers including medical staff and domestic workers.
• Provide full wage replacement for workers who are unable to work.
• Mandate that businesses with more than 500 employees follow the same policies for employees without federal subsidy.
• Remove the hardship exemption for businesses with fewer than 50 employees given that these costs will be fully refunded by the federal government.

Maintain Election Integrity:
• Provide for nationwide no-excuse absentee voting as long as at least one-quarter of states are under emergency, as proposed in the Resilient Elections During Quarantines and Natural Disasters Act of 2020 introduced last week by Reps. Blumenauer, DelBene, and Raskin.
• Provide at least $500 million to states to implement mail-in voting programs.
• Provide appropriate polling place adjustments to uphold public health and maintain access to in-person voting for those who do not have access to mail voting.

Ensure Parity for Tribes, Tribal Organizations, and Urban Indian Organizations:
• Ensure that all federal funding streams and resources created to address the COVID-19 outbreak include Tribes, Tribal Organizations, and Urban Indian Organizations by explicitly listing Tribes as eligible for any funding that states and local governments are eligible for.
• Create a Tribal Relief Fund to ensure that Indian Country is adequately prepared to address COVID-19 and provide impacted businesses with emergency relief, as well as access to capital and loans they need to maintain solvency.
• Ensure parity so that tribal governments receive the same resources provided in legislation, such as the tax credits, expanded nutrition benefits, and access to the Strategic National Stockpile of Medical Supplies.

Utilize the Defense Production Act (DPA):
• Require the President to provide Congress with a plan for the use of DPA authorities, including targets and timelines for the production of supplies needed to address the COVID-19 pandemic.
• Provide appropriate additional funding for the Defense Production Act fund to ensure that the nation’s needs are met.

Sincerely,

Mark Pocan
Co-Chair
Congressional Progressive Caucus

Pramila Jayapal
Co-Chair
Congressional Progressive Caucus 

Washington, D.C. — Congressional Progressive Caucus Co-Chairs Pramila Jayapal (WA-07) and Mark Pocan (WI-02) released the following statement on the proposed FISA reauthorization:

“For months, we worked hard to secure vital reforms needed to overhaul the expansive surveillance powers authorized in Section 215 and the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. Unfortunately, the final bill falls short of the reforms we requested last fall and are insufficient to protect the civil rights and liberties of the American public. It’s disappointing that Congress will not take this rare bipartisan opportunity to end sweeping, unconstitutional surveillance programs. Given the lack of these critical reforms, we will be voting no on the final legislation this week.

“Though this final legislation is an improvement over a clean reauthorization, it doesn’t go far enough. Congress can and must do more to protect civil liberties, and we will continue our fight to curb FISA abuses.”