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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Washington, D.C. — Congressional Progressive Caucus Co-Chairs Mark Pocan (WI-02) and Pramila Jayapal (WA-07) released the following statement on the passing of CPC member and civil rights icon Congressman John Lewis:

“Our hearts are broken. John Lewis modeled public service, courage, and compassion every single day. The ‘Conscience of the Congress’, he was a guiding light at the Progressive Caucus.

“He’s known all around the world, rightfully, as a warrior for justice, equality, and peace. But he should also be remembered for his personal generosity and compassion as a mentor, friend, and beloved colleague.

“John Lewis taught us all how to stand up for things before they were popular or accepted. He taught us how to push the boundaries of what is seen as ‘possible’ so we could bring about what seemed impossible at one time. He taught us to be better public servants and foot soldiers for civil rights and justice. As we mourn his passing, we take solace in the fact that his contributions live on in a new generation of young people ready to take up his call for ‘good trouble’ and work to build a better world. 

“Our deepest condolences are with his family, loved ones, and the 5th District of Georgia. In his memory, we march onwards. Rest in power.”

Washington, D.C. – Congressional Progressive Caucus Co-Chairs Congressman Mark Pocan (WI-02) and Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal (WA-07) applauded the inclusion of many key CPC priorities in the Congressional Action Plan from the House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis. Earlier this year, the CPC sent a comprehensive list of recommendations to the Select Committee for inclusion in the report.

“For far too long, corporate profits and special interests have been prioritized above the health and safety of our planet and communities. American families are experiencing the consequences of decades of inaction on the climate crisis – from historic wildfires and prolonged droughts to record-breaking storms and once-in-a-century floods,” said CPC Co-Chairs Mark Pocan and Pramila Jayapal. “We do not have any time to waste. The Climate Action Plan from the House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis sends a powerful message that the time for transformative change is now, and we are prepared to meet the moment with a bold and comprehensive response.”

The Select Committee’s Climate Action Plan included more than 37 proposals and bills recommended by the Progressive Caucus, including:

  • The Environmental Justice for All Act, which centers environmental justice and redress for frontline communities in climate action efforts.
  • A prohibition on legal immunity for polluters and a requirement that fossil fuel companies will not be able to claim liability relief for contributing to the climate crisis.
  • Workplace rights as a cornerstone of climate justice, including protections for workers organizing a union to negotiate for higher wages, safer working conditions, and better benefits.
  • Ending egregious tax breaks for large oil and gas companies.


“We applaud the work of the House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis and appreciate the inclusion of so many of our progressive priorities in the final Congressional Action Plan,” continued Representatives Pocan and Jayapal. “This comprehensive document provides Congress with a critical roadmap for addressing the climate crisis, centering impacted communities in our response, and building a sustainable future for us all.”

A copy of the Progressive Caucus climate recommendations is available here.

Washington, D.C. – Congressional Progressive Caucus Co-Chairs Congressman Mark Pocan (WI-02) and Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal (WA-07) released the following statement responding to the announcement by the pharmaceutical company Gilead Sciences that remdesivir, a medication which has been used to treat COVID19 and was developed with substantial taxpayer investment, would be priced at $3120 for a typical US patient with health insurance:


“In a time of unprecedented national suffering, with more than 125,000 of our neighbors, coworkers, and loved ones dead from the coronavirus, Gilead has chosen to exploit the desperation of millions and profiteer off a pandemic. This doesn’t come as a surprise – after all, this is the same company that once priced a lifesaving Hepatitis C drug, Sovaldi, at $1000 per pill, totaling $84,000 for a single course of treatment. Sadly, as we’ve seen all too often from Big Pharma, saving lives is incidental to their business model – the profit motive always comes first.

“But just because Gilead will exploit this pandemic, that doesn’t mean that Congress should let them. As we consider future legislation to address the ongoing pandemic, we urge Democratic Leadership to pass H.R. 7296, the bipartisan Make Medications Affordable by Preventing Pandemic Pricegouging Act, sponsored by Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky.

“Researchers have estimated that Gilead could cover the price of manufacturing remdesivir at scale with reasonable profit at a market price of $1 per day. But instead, Gilead plans to charge $520 a vial – an outrageous and unjustifiable mark-up. Big Pharma’s greed is a danger to public health – Congress cannot allow it to go unaddressed any longer.”

Washington, D.C. – Congressional Progressive Caucus Co-Chairs Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal (WA-07) and Congressman Mark Pocan (WI-02) released the following statement on H.R. 1425, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Enhancement Act:

“We’re pleased that, at our request, this bill has been expanded to include health care access for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients. As the Supreme Court affirmed earlier this month, Dreamers are home. At minimum, Congress should ensure that DACA recipients –including more than 200,000 who are bravely serving as essential workers during this pandemic – have equal access to quality, affordable health care. We’re grateful to the leadership of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus and the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus for working with us to ensure the inclusion of this critical provision in the final bill. Congress should continue to build on this progress by eliminating the discriminatory and harmful five-year waiting period for lawful residents —including green card holders who are on their way to citizenship — to access key health programs. This is both a taxpayer equity issue and vitally necessary, especially during this health pandemic when so many are struggling and need access to these critical programs.

“More must be done to guarantee universal health care as a human right for all people. We support the important improvements that this legislation makes to strengthen the Affordable Care Act, but until we address the profiteering, exploitation, and inefficiencies in our health care system that make healthcare unaffordable for tens of millions of Americans, our work is not done. As the pandemic has shown clearly, we must untether healthcare from employment and take on our corrupt, for-profit health care system that has widespread and damaging ramifications for public health. Now, more than ever, we need Medicare For All to guarantee quality health care to every person living in the United States.”

Washington, D.C. — Congressional Progressive Caucus Co-Chairs Congressman Mark Pocan (WI-02) and Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal (WA-07) released the following statement on passage of H.R. 51, the Washington, D.C. Admission Act:

“The disenfranchisement of the people of Washington, D.C. is a stain on our nation and our democracy. With today’s passage of H.R. 51, the Washington, D.C. Admission Act, we have taken an historic step to correct a centuries-old injustice and extend the promise of equal representation to the citizens in our nation’s capital.

“The passage of this legislation, which was cosponsored by every member of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, is a milestone for our democracy. We’re grateful for the persistence and dedication of CPC Member Eleanor Holmes Norton, who has fought tirelessly for decades to make this vote a reality. We will continue to fight for D.C.’s fundamental right to equal representation and self-determination.”

Washington, D.C. – Today, the Congressional Progressive Caucus announced the endorsement of H.R. 7120, the Justice in Policing Act, sweeping legislation to confront systemic racial bias in law enforcement.

“For far too long, the epidemic of police brutality has gone unaddressed in this country, while our loved ones, neighbors, and communities have been oppressed, abused, and murdered by those sworn to protect them,” said CPC Co-Chairs Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal (WA-07) and Congressman Mark Pocan (WI-02). “Congress must act. We are pleased to endorse the Justice in Policing Act, which takes critical and long overdue action to address systemic racism in police departments and bring justice to Black communities.”

“We are particularly pleased that this comprehensive legislation includes critical provisions long championed by members of the Progressive Caucus, including ending 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 co-chairs continued. “While we recognize that this legislation, on its own, will not end institutional racism in this country, it is our hope that this legislation can serve as a guidepost as we continue the essential work of dismantling racist systems and reinvesting in Black communities.”

Washington, D.C. — On Wednesday, June 10th at 3:00pm ET, the Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC) will hold a remote hearing entitled “Conducting Effective Oversight: What Congress Can Do to Root Out Corruption and Ensure Coronavirus Relief Funds Benefit the American Public,” featuring experts to discuss the need for greater oversight of the lending authorities in the CARES Act to ensure that these programs assist midsize businesses, and place meaningful conditions on assistance to large corporations.


This week’s hearing will be chaired by CPC Co-Chair Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal (WA-07) and CPC Executive Board Member Congresswoman Katie Porter (CA-45). The hearing will examine the work of the Congressional Oversight Commission and identify solutions to ensure federal funds are being used to keep workers on payrolls.

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

WHAT: CPC Remote Hearing; “Conducting Effective Oversight: What Congress Can Do to Root Out Corruption and Ensure Coronavirus Relief Funds Benefit the American Public”

WHO:

  • CPC Co-Chair Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal (WA-07)
  • Congresswoman Katie Porter (CA-45)
  • Bharat Ramamurti, Member of the Congressional Oversight Commission and Managing Director of the Corporate Power Program at the Roosevelt Institute.
  • Norm Eisen, Senior Fellow, Governance Studies at Brookings Institution
  • Damon Silvers, Policy Director at the AFL-CIO
  • Lisa Gilbert, Vice President of Legislative Affairs at Public Citizen
  • Members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus

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

WHEN: Wednesday, June 10th at 3:00pm Eastern/12:00pm Pacific

BACKGROUND: Over the last few months, the Progressive Caucus has been holding weekly virtual hearings to examine bold ideas to tackle the coronavirus crisis. On April 29th, the CPC held its first remote hearing on the pandemic, focused on the need for expanded worksharing and to prevent layoffs. On Wednesday, May 6th, the CPC held its second hearing, focused on the disproportionate toll of the epidemic on communities of color. And on May 13th, the CPC held its third hearing on strategies for ramping up testing and contact tracing to safely reopen the economy. The hearings are available to watch on the Progressive Caucus’s Facebook page. 

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