WASHINGTON — The leadership of the Congressional Progressive Caucus continued their fight to protect the promise of the Build Back Better Act today, advocating that the scope of programs be maintained in the negotiations over size.

In a letter to Speaker Pelosi, the 27 House members of the Caucus Executive Board argued that in attempts to decrease the overall cost of the Build Back Better Act, legislators lower the number of years funding is allocated for each program, rather than to trim the number of programs included. In the case for “making the President’s vision a reality,” they write: “Much has been made in recent weeks about the compromises necessary to enact this transformative agenda. We have been told that we can either adequately fund a small number of investments or legislate broadly, but only make a shallow, short-term impact. We would argue that this is a false choice.”

The lawmakers highlight four arguments for their approach:

  1. To make shorter, transformative investments: Making “robust investments over a shorter window [will] help make the case for our party’s ability to govern, and establish a track record of success that will pave the way for a long-term extension of benefits...We cannot pit childcare against housing, or paid leave against home- and community-based care.”

  2. To touch people’s lives immediately: “Where given an option, we should err on the side of structuring legislation so that benefits flow to the American people as quickly as possible, both to assist the Biden Recovery and to demonstrate our commitment to tangibly improving the lives of the American people.”

  3. To provide universal benefits to ensure lasting change: “We strongly believe that this is the moment to demonstrate to the American people that regardless of geography, race, gender, or class, Democrats believe that everyone has a right to affordable child care, pre-K, clean water, and a community college education. We can choose to strengthen the bond Americans have to one another by proposing universal social insurance benefits that broadly benefit all Americans, or we can pursue complicated methods of means testing that the wealthy and powerful will use to divide us with false narratives about ‘makers’ and ‘takers.’”

  4. To keep the President’s commitment to racial equity: “[The bill] addresses needs disproportionately felt by Black and Brown Americans, like housing, and corrects inequalities in fields of work that are primarily held by people of color, like home-based and elder care [and] addresses needs of thousands of undocumented individuals, many of whom have served as essential workers during the Covid-19 pandemic who have long been vulnerable to discrimination, labor abuses and denial of equal protection under the law due to their immigration status. If we cut those programs, we reduce the broadly transformative power of this legislation, and we once again fall behind on our promises to ensure racial equity.”

“This bill offers us a chance to fundamentally transform the relationship between the American people and their government,” they conclude.

Signatories of the letter include: Caucus Chair Rep. Pramila Jayapal (WA-07), Deputy Chair Rep. Katie Porter (CA-45), Whip Rep. Ilhan Omar (MN-05); Chairs Emeriti Rep. Raúl Grijalva (AZ-03), Rep. Barbara Lee (Ca-13), Rep. Mark Pocan (WI-02); Vice Chairs Rep. Jamie Raskin (MD-08), Rep Joe Neguse (CO-02), Rep. Marie Newman (IL-03), Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (TX-18), Rep. Donald Norcross (NJ-01), Rep. Rashida Tlaib (MI-13), Rep. David Cicilline (RI-01), Rep. Jesús “Chuy” García (IL-04), Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman (NJ-12); Deputy Whips Rep. Cori Bush (MO-01), Rep. Debbie Dingell (MI-12), Rep. Veronica Escobar (TX-16), Rep. Mondaire Jones (NY-17), Rep. Ro Khanna (CA-17), Rep. Lloyd Doggett (TX-35), Rep. Andy Levin (MI-09), Rep. Mark Takano (CA-41), Rep. Adriano Espaillat; Special Order Hour Conveners Rep. Jamaal Bowman (NY-16), Rep. Teresa Leger Fernandez (NM-03), and Executive Board Member at Large Rep. Jan Schakowsky (IL-09).

“I want to thank President Biden for his leadership and for continuing to fight for his visionary Build Back Better Act that people throughout this country want, need, and deserve. We had a very productive and necessary conversation about the urgent need to deliver the full Build Back Better agenda — not only investing in roads and bridges, but also in child care, paid leave, health care, climate action, affordable housing, and education.

“As the President has continually emphasized, as recently as this afternoon, both the infrastructure bill and the Build Back Better Act are necessary to make good on his promises to the American people. Progressives fought to get the full Biden agenda back on track, and now we are beginning negotiations to deliver it to working people, families, and our communities. By ensuring both bills move forward together, we are ensuring that we don’t leave anyone behind. We look forward to continuing this conversation and working with our colleagues in the House and Senate, Congressional leadership, and the White House to send the infrastructure bill and the Build Back Better Act to President Biden’s desk.”

WASHINGTON U.S. Representative Pramila Jayapal (WA-07), chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, issued the following statement after the 96-member coalition’s meeting about the ongoing infrastructure and Build Back Better negotiations:

“We remain fully committed to passing President Biden’s entire Build Back Better agenda and delivering the transformative change that people throughout this country urgently want, need, and deserve. Moving forward without the Build Back Better Act would put long-overdue investments in child care, paid leave, health care, affordable housing, pre-k, community college, climate action, and a roadmap to citizenship for Dreamers, TPS recipients, and essential workers at risk. Our Progressive Caucus members remain clear: we will not allow this process to be dictated by special interests and corporations at the expense of women, working families, and our communities. We will not leave anyone behind.

“This agenda is not some fringe wish list: it is the President’s agenda, the Democratic agenda, and what we all promised voters when they delivered us the House, Senate, and White House. It is supported by nearly every Democrat in Congress and is overwhelmingly backed by the American people. It was committed to in a deal among Senators when they passed the infrastructure bill in that chamber — a commitment reiterated just last week. We articulated this position more than three months ago, and today it is still unchanged: progressives will vote for both bills, but a majority of our members will only vote for the infrastructure bill after the President’s visionary Build Back Better Act passes.”

In June, the Congressional Progressive Caucus shared that, “A recent poll of our 96-member Caucus showed overwhelming support for the House not passing a bipartisan infrastructure bill unless a larger reconciliation package containing our progressive priorities moved simultaneously.” In July, the Caucus reiterated that position, saying, “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.”

More than a month ago, the Caucus once again confirmed that, “We will work to first pass the Build Back Better reconciliation bill so we can deliver these once-in-a-generation, popular, and urgently needed investments to poor and working families, and then pass the infrastructure bill to invest in our roads, bridges, and waterways.” The chair added, “As our members have made clear for three months, the two are integrally tied together, and we will only vote for the infrastructure bill after passing the reconciliation bill.”

WASHINGTON — Rep. Pramila Jayapal (WA-07), chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, issued the following statement on the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.

“Twenty years ago today, America and the lives of countless Americans were changed forever. My thoughts are with those grieving the loved ones they lost on 9/11 and in the forever wars that followed, with those who are still grappling with the trauma and health impacts of surviving the attacks and rescue missions, the communities who faced hate and discrimination in the decades that followed, and the communities in New York, D.C., and Pennsylvania that still carry the scars of that day. No matter how many years pass, that will always be with those closest to it. The country is with them today.

“Our commemoration of this anniversary would not be honest or complete without also acknowledging that, in the aftermath of that horrible day, our country learned many wrong lessons. Following the attacks, Arab, Muslim, Middle Eastern, South Asian, and Sikh communities were unfairly targeted and profiled by the government and those around us. They experienced unforgivable hate, racism, xenophobia, discrimination, and bigotry. Many in our communities were moved to activism in that period, and I’m proud to share that background with some of my colleagues in the CPC. Even in the face of unprecedented discrimination, our communities have continued to meet those challenges with courage, compassion, and resilience. Today, I join my CPC colleagues Rep. Ilhan Omar (MN-05), Rep. Rashida Tlaib (MI-13), and Rep. Judy Chu (CA-27) in a resolution condemning the treatment of Arab, Muslim, Middle Eastern, South Asian, and Sikh people in the two decades since the 9/11 attacks, and calling for an examination of the actions and policies so that this never happens again.

“Instead of keeping our focus solely on the healing of the communities affected, the United States allowed grief, fear, racism, xenophobia, and anti-Muslim hatred to guide much of our policy making. The government erected a vast apparatus to engage in warrantless surveillance and unconstitutional spying of American citizens; maintain racist, discriminatory watch and no-fly lists; and create a permission structure to violate privacy by invoking unproven national security concerns. Dozens were tortured and held without trial for years at Guantanamo — despicable practices the government hid from public view. The U.S. used the post-9/11 years to engage in not one, but two decades-long wars, costing trillions of dollars, the lives of hundreds of thousands of American service members, and an untold number of civilian lives in Iraq, Afghanistan, and half a dozen countries across the globe.

“Two decades later, we are finally beginning to unravel the consequences of our national mistakes. Rep. Barbara Lee (CA-13)’s prophetic words against the ‘war on terror’ are finally being heeded, with Congress moving to repeal the Authorizations of Military Force, and President Biden ending the war in Afghanistan. Congress has allowed Section 215 of the Patriot Act to expire, and the administration has not moved to renew it. And President Biden has ordered the declassification of documents related to the 9/11 attacks, moving to shed light on a chapter of our history that has been obscured for too long.

“Today, we must recommit to this progress. Never again can we waste trillions and kill hundreds of thousands abroad in wars and occupations, or let our communities be alienated and attacked for their religion, race, national origin, or immigration status. On this anniversary, let us bring with us the memory of those lost, and leave behind the tragic mistakes of our past to ensure this never happens again in the future.”

WASHINGTON — Rep. Pramila Jayapal (WA-07), chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, issued the following statement on the Education and Labor Committee’s passage of its portion of the Build Back Better Act. The bill includes a universal child care policy that guarantees no family will pay more than 7 percent of its income on this critical service, funding for a Civilian Climate Corps, universal two-year community college and pre-K, school infrastructure, and steep monetary penalties against companies who violate care workers’ rights.

“The Progressive Caucus has been laser-focused on achieving transformative outcomes for working families, and I am proud that our members on the Education and Labor Committee have secured wins in this bill that will be felt by millions of families across the country. Thanks to the leadership of Progressives, in partnership with frontline members, our committee has passed legislation that is going to make a real, meaningful difference.

“We secured universal child care with the cost capped at no more than 7 percent of income for every family in America — nothing short of life-changing for our communities. This program will catalyze economic growth by creating high-quality child care jobs, and allowing parents — especially women — to return to work with their children safely looked after. It will address long-standing economic and racial disparities in child care access, so that those who need this program the most will directly receive assistance.

“Thanks to Progressives and our allies, this bill will also allow us to make real progress on aggressive climate action, with funding for a Civilian Climate Corps in impacted communities, and updates to our crumbling school infrastructure. It includes strong labor protections for the care workforce, so that the mostly women of color who serve in these critical roles will finally be treated with fairness, dignity, and as central to our economy as they are. And it will advance funding for universal pre-K and two years of community college, addressing pervasive education inequities and ensuring every child, from their first years of school to their last, is set up to succeed.

“As Speaker Pelosi said, with the Build Back Better Act, our ‘children finally have leverage’ — and the Education and Labor Committee bill represents the best of our fight on their behalf. And it serves as a clear sign to working people across this country that Congress understands what parents have endured during the pandemic, that we understand the economic realities holding them back, and that we are coming to work for them. We urge our Democratic colleagues in the House and Senate to ensure these provisions are included in the final bill, and we look forward to voting for it on the floor, sending it to the President’s desk, and delivering for the people.”

Progressive Caucus members on the Education and Labor Committee were instrumental in securing bold, progressive policies in the Build Back Better Act. They include: Committee Vice Chair Rep. Jamaal Bowman (NY-16), Rep. Alma Adams (NC-12), Rep. Suzanne Bonamici (OR-01), Rep. Mark DeSaulnier (CA-11), Rep. Adriano Espaillat (NY-13), Rep. Raúl Grijalva (AZ-03), Rep. Pramila Jayapal (WA-07), Rep. Mondaire Jones (NY-17), Rep. Teresa Leger Fernandez (NM-03), Rep. Andy Levin (MI-09), Rep. Kweisi Mfume (MD-07), Rep. Joe Morelle (NY-25), Rep. Donald Norcross (NJ-01), CPC Whip Rep. Ilhan Omar (MN-05), Rep. Mark Pocan (WI-02), Rep. Mark Takano (CA-41), Rep. Frederica Wilson (FL-24), and Rep. John Yarmuth (KY-03). 

WASHINGTON — Rep. Pramila Jayapal (WA-07), chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus and a member of the House Judiciary Committee, issued the following statement on the Department of Justice (DOJ)’s announcement of its lawsuit challenging S.B. 8, the Texas abortion ban:

“This is the right move by Attorney General Garland, and we applaud the Biden Administration for acting quickly. The Progressive Caucus joined the Pro-Choice Caucus to call for action from DOJ last week after the Supreme Court failed to intervene and stop the cruel law from taking effect, as did the Judiciary Committee, and we’re glad to see the Biden administration step up to protect millions of Texans’ access to reproductive health care. Abortion is a constitutional right, and as the Attorney General stated, S.B. 8 clearly violates it.

“But Texas is not alone in their attempts to push abortion out of reach; this law is just one of nearly 600 restrictive abortion laws introduced in state legislatures in 2021. This is a nationwide crisis that requires a nationwide solution, and Congress must also do its part. That’s why we are looking forward to passing the Women’s Health Protection Act out of the House of Representatives this month, and why we’re calling on the Senate to abolish the filibuster so we can send this urgent bill to the President’s desk. That is how we finally codify the right to abortion in federal law, outlaw attacks on access, and protect health care for millions. This is a fight we cannot and must not lose.”

WASHINGTON — Today, Congressional Pro-Choice Caucus co-chairs Rep. Diana DeGette (CO-01) and Rep. Barbara Lee (CA-13), and Progressive Caucus chair Rep. Pramila Jayapal (WA-07) released the following statement in response to the enactment of S.B. 8, an extreme anti-abortion law in Texas: 

“This law is an all-out assault on reproductive health and rights in America ,and will have devastating and immediate consequences for patients in Texas. People have the right to make their own decisions about whether or not to seek abortion, but this law eliminates access to legal abortion after about six weeks — before many people even know they’re pregnant.

“While this law is now the most extreme abortion ban enacted in the U.S., Texas is not alone in its attempts to roll back decades of protections: nearly 600 abortion restrictions have been introduced in 2021 alone, and 90 have been enacted. In the coming months, the Supreme Court will hear a Mississippi case with the potential to gut the protections of Roe v. Wade.

“In light of the Supreme Court’s abdication of its duty to protect reproductive rights, the Pro-Choice Caucus and the Progressive Caucus call on Congress to immediately take action to enshrine the right to access abortion into federal law. The House should immediately pass the Women’s Health Protection Act, introduced by Rep. Judy Chu (CA-27), to ensure that states like Texas cannot ban this critical health service, and we urge the Senate to do whatever is necessary to send it to the President' desk. Congress must also continue to strike down other restrictions on access to abortion in federal law, including bans on insurance coverage like the Hyde Amendment, as well as protecting access to medication abortion from politically motivated attacks.

"The Biden administration has emphasized its commitment to protecting the right to abortion, and now is the time to put that into action. We call on Attorney General Garland to explore whatever steps the Department of Justice can take to respond to this blatant violation of Texans' constitutional rights.

“The PCC and CPC stand with people in Texas, and throughout the country, who are fighting these draconian restrictions, and working to ensure that all people have access to the abortion care they need. We know that bans like the one in Texas harm people who already face barriers to care the most: people of color, people with low incomes, people living in rural areas.  Everyone — no matter their income, where they live, or how they’re insured — has the right to make their own decisions about their bodies and their lives, and we are committed to promoting policies that protect the reproductive freedom of all people.” 

WASHINGTON — Rep. Pramila Jayapal (WA-07), chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, issued the following statement on the enactment of the budget resolution:

“We are pleased to see the House Democratic Caucus come to a consensus on the need to pass the Build Back Better budget resolution without further delay. This transformative budget resolution is a win for the American people, putting us on the path toward enacting popular and urgent policy change for our communities, including universal child care, paid leave, aggressive climate action, Medicare expansion, affordable housing, and a roadmap to citizenship.

“Our position remains unchanged: we will work to first pass the Build Back Better reconciliation bill so we can deliver these once-in-a-generation, popular, and urgently needed investments to poor and working families, and then pass the infrastructure bill to invest in our roads, bridges, and waterways. As our members have made clear for three months, the two are integrally tied together, and we will only vote for the infrastructure bill after passing the reconciliation bill. We remain united with Congressional Leadership and President Biden in our mission to enact the entire Build Back Better agenda that voters put us in the majority to accomplish — and every elected Democrat should do the same. Congress must now move urgently to send both pieces of this package to the President’s desk for his signature so we can transform people’s lives and livelihoods.”


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.