WASHINGTON — The Congressional Progressive Caucus advanced key priorities throughout the House Fiscal Year 2023 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) process. The CPC secured debates and votes on dozens of amendments that strengthen labor and civil rights for service members, minimize civilian harm abroad, reassert congressional war powers, reduce wasteful Pentagon spending, reduce costly and unnecessary nuclear weapons programs, and advance innovative approaches to public health, including authorizing low-cost federal production of insulin for the first time.

The amendments build on longstanding progressive advocacy, including repealing the 2002 Authorization of Use of Military Force against Iraq, divesting from excess militarism and endless wars to invest in American communities, and prohibiting the unauthorized military presence in Syria, as well as addressing new and urgent crises including conducting critical oversight over the conflict in Ukraine.

The CPC also worked to ensure that the Democratic House uses this governing moment to advance just and progressives priorities in the NDAA including: requiring detailed evaluation on the benefits of nonexclusive licensing for an eventual vaccine emerging from taxpayer-financed COVID19 research, preferencing contractors that respect the rights of workers, preventing forced arbitration of contracts involving servicemembers, prohibiting stock holding and trading by senior Pentagon officials, allowing state-legal cannabis businesses to access the banking system, and increasing wages for lower-paid servicemembers.

CPC Chair Representative Pramila Jayapal (WA-07) said: “This year’s House NDAA process has included robust debate and votes on key progressive priorities that advance peace, reduce waste, promote transparency, and restore Congress’s authority over war. For too long, Congress has allowed the Pentagon and its contractors to operate without sufficient oversight and accountability. Far too often, our brave servicemembers have been directed to participate in conflicts that neither further vital national security interests nor have the congressional authorization as the Constitution requires. I thank House leadership, including Chairs Smith, McGovern and Meeks, for their collaboration and support in this remarkably open process that welcomed the vital policies proposed by our Progressive Caucus members to tackle some of the most urgent crises facing the world today.”

Congressional Progressive Caucus amendments debated and voted on in the National Defense Authorization Act include:

  • Amendment #2 by Mondaire Jones (NY-17): Prohibits Department of Defense from contracting with any employer found to have engaged in an unfair labor practice, defined by Section 8(a) of the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA), in the three years preceding a contract award date. Includes an exception for employers who have remedied unfair labor practice violations

  • Amendment #3 by Jan Schakowsky (IL-09): Establishes a preference for Department of Defense contractors that respect workers’ right to organize

  • Amendment #4 by Andy Kim (NJ-03): Establishes a preference for construction firms that hire locally

  • Amendment #8 by Veronica Escobar (TX-16): Requires harassment or discrimination complaints be completed within 180 days, and allows servicemembers to seek review or appeal in a U.S. court afterward

  • Amendment #12 by Ro Khanna (CA-17): Authorizes up to $5 million per year to advance civilian harm mitigation at the Defense Department

  • Amendment #13 by Barbara Lee (CA-13), Mark Pocan (WI-02): Reduces the FY23 NDAA topline by $100 billion, leaving health, pay and benefits untouched, citing a Congressional Budget Office study determining the feasibility of such a cut.

  • Amendment #14 by Barbara Lee (CA-13), Mark Pocan (WI-02): Reverses the $36.987 billion increase made at committee mark-up and restores the FY23 topline to the amount requested by the President

  • Amendment #15 by Pramila Jayapal (WA-07): Eliminates budgetary waste by repealing the requirement for the Defense Department to submit unfunded priorities lists to Congress

  • Amendment #16 by Adam Smith (WA-09): Allows the Navy to retire nine Littoral Combat Ships

  • Amendment #19 by John Garamendi (CA-03), Pramila Jayapal (WA-07), Don Beyer (VA-08): Prevents testing and development of the new, unnecessary Sentinel (GBSD) nuclear missile and instead extends the existing program through 2040

  • Amendment #20 by Rashida Tlaib (MI-13): Strikes the prohibition on the reduction of the total number of nuclear-armed Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles (ICBMs) deployed in the United States

  • Amendment #25 by Eleanor Holmes Norton (DC): Gives the Mayor of the District of Columbia the same authority over the D.C. National Guard that the governors of states and territories have over their National Guards 

  • Amendment #384 by Jamaal Bowman (NY-16), Ro Khanna (CA-17), Jan Schakowsky (IL-09), Cori Bush (MO-01), Earl Blumenauer (OR-03), Mondaire Jones (NY-17): Prohibits U.S. military presence in Syria without Congressional approval

  • Amendment #392 by Pramila Jayapal (WA-07): Establishes an Office of Climate Resilience

Congressional Progressive Caucus amendments included en bloc for NDAA consideration include:

  • Amendment #22 by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (NY-14): Adds MDMA and psilocybin as substances authorized for a study on the use of therapies alternative to prescription opioids in the treatment of members of the Armed Forces

  • Amendment #35 by Sara Jacobs (CA-53): Require the Secretary of Defense to report on Department of Defense purchase and use of location data generated by Americans’ phones and their internet metadata

  • Amendment #36 by Ted Lieu (CA-33): Requires the Secretary of State to develop guidance for investigating indications that U.S.-origin defense articles have been used in Yemen by the Saudi-led coalition in substantial violation of relevant agreements with countries participating in the coalition and to report to Congress, consistent with GAO recommendations

  • Amendment #37 by Pramila Jayapal (WA-07): Requires a report on the feasibility, change in price, and equitable access of non-exclusive licensing and government-owned contractor-operated manufacturing of COVID-19 vaccines or medical interventions developed by the Department of Defense, including the COVID-19 vaccine under development at the Walter Reed Army Institute for Research.

  • Amendment #47 by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (NY-14), Pramila Jayapal (WA-07): Directs the Department of Defense to report knowledge from 1980-2010 regarding Colombian military involvement in assassinations, disappearances, collaboration in paramilitary offensives, military conduct, and any gross violations of human rights

  • Amendment #203 by Pramila Jayapal (WA-07), Jan Schakowsky (IL-09): Authorizes the Department of Defense to engage in public manufacturing of insulin to meet the needs of military health programs

  • Amendment #204 by Pramila Jayapal (WA-07), Earl Blumenauer (OR-03): Directs the Defense Department to provide a report on a risk assessment regarding likelihood of use of a nuclear weapon as a result of Russia's invasion of Ukraine and whether such risk increases as the war continues

  • Amendment #205 by Pramila Jayapal (WA-07): Directs the Defense Department to provide a report on distribution and use of U.S. weaponry provided to Ukraine, including compliance with relevant laws and its efforts to prevent such arms from being sold on the black market or obtained by extremist groups

  • Amendment #104 by Jamaal Bowman (NY-16):  Grants the Secretary of Defense authority to increase the inflation bonus pay above 2.4 percent for servicemembers and DOD civilian employees who make $45,000 or less annually in order to respond to the ongoing economic impact of inflation.

  • Amendment #34 by Sara Jacobs (CA-53) and David Cicilline (RI-01): Requires human rights vetting on U.S. military training and cooperation with foreign forces.

  • Amendment #293 by Katie Porter (CA-45): Prohibits the ownership or trading of stocks by senior officials at the Department of Defense for any company that received over $1 billion in revenue from the Department of Defense during the preceding calendar year.

  • Amendment #383 by Barbara Lee (CA-13): Repeals the 2002 Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq

  • Amendment #413 by Pramila Jayapal (WA-07): Requires that federal agencies begin debarment proceedings against federal contractors that have committed two or more violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act within the past five years. Directs the Department of Labor to establish a database of covered entities that have been suspended or debarred for violations of federal labor law

  • Amendment #415 by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (NY-14): Allows the Office of Federal Contractor Compliance Programs at the Department of Labor to establish compliance procedures for the prohibition on criminal history inquiries by Federal contractors and allows the Department of Labor to investigate compliance by a contractor by conducting a compliance evaluation

  • Amendment #431 by David Cicilline (RI-01): Prevents the enforcement of predispute forced arbitration clauses in any dispute covered under the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act

  • Amendment #452 by Jesús “Chuy” Garcia (IL-04): Requires a report on the humanitarian impacts of U.S. sanctions

  • Amendment #462 by Katherine Clark (MA-05): Adds the President, Vice President, and any Cabinet member to the current statutory prohibition on members of Congress contracting with the Federal Government

  • Amendment #473 by Earl Blumenauer (OR-03): Authorizes Department of Veterans Affairs providers to assist veterans in providing recommendations, opinions, and completion of the forms reflecting these recommendations or opinions in compliance with state-legal medical cannabis programs

  • Amendment #508 by Adriano Espaillat (NY-13): Requires the Department of Homeland Security to issue a report on cases involving noncitizen service members, veterans and immediate family members of service members in order to connect them with services and resources to assist military members, veterans, and their families

  • Amendment #517 by Jesús “Chuy” Garcia (IL-04): Directs the Treasury Department to support a one-year review and suspension of the International Monetary Fund’s surcharge policy, which requires developing countries to pay onerous fees to the IMF besides principal and interest of loans.

  • Amendment #540 by Pramila Jayapal (WA-07): Requires the State Department to prepare a report to Congress analyzing the effects of government-ordered internet or telecommunications shutdowns on human rights and global security.

  • Amendment #557 by Andy Levin (MI-09): Sense of Congress that it is the policy of the United States to support a Haitian-led solution to the current crisis and that the Haitian people must be empowered to choose their leaders and govern Haiti free from foreign interference.

  • Amendment #578 James McGovern (MA-02): Requires the State Department’s annual Country Reports on Human Rights include a list of reports published by U.S. government agencies on the status of internationally recognized human rights in the United States.

  • Amendment #248 James McGovern (MA-02): Requires the Department of Defense, in coordination with USDA, to collect data on food insecurity and usage of federal anti-hunger programs among active duty servicemembers and their families, and to report to Congress on their findings.The amendment also requires DOD to train and designate a point person at military installations on where to refer servicemembers seeking food assistance.

  • Amendment #581 James McGovern (MA-02): Strengthens monitoring, reporting, oversight, and determinations on arms sales and human rights.

  • Amendment #509 by Adriano Espaillat (NY-13): “requires that Veterans Affairs Hospitals submit a Locality Pay Survey to ensure that VA nurse pay stays competitive. This amendment also requires that the Secretary submit a report on the pay rates at VA hospitals to the Committees on Veterans Affairs of the Senate and House of Representatives”.

  • Amendment #429 by Carolyn Maloney (NY-12): Strengthens the ability of the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board to provide meaningful oversight of artificial intelligence for counterterrorism purposes.

  • Amendment #576 by Carolyn Maloney (NY-12): Requires federal financial regulatory agencies to adopt specified data standards with respect to format, searchability, and transparency. All data would be made available in an open-source format that is electronically searchable, downloadable in bulk and without license restrictions.

  • Amendment #576 by Carolyn Maloney (NY-12): Requires federal financial regulatory agencies to adopt specified data standards with respect to format, searchability, and transparency. All data would be made available in an open-source format that is electronically searchable, downloadable in bulk and without license restrictions.

  • Amendment #585 by Grace Meng (NY-06): Requires that menstrual products are stocked in and made available free of charge in all restrooms in public buildings, including the Smithsonian Institution, the National Gallery of Art, and the U.S. Capitol.

  • Amendment #586 by Grace Meng (NY-06): Urges the U.S. Secretary of State to consult with South Korean officials on potential opportunities to reunite Korean Americans with family members in North Korea, including by video. Encourages the Special Envoy on North Korean Human Rights Issues to work with the Korean American community to identify those same opportunities.

  • Amendment #588 by Grace Meng (NY-06): Ensures recipients of U.S. aid provide safe and secure access to sanitation facilities, with a special emphasis on women and girls, and vulnerable populations.

WASHINGTON — Congressional Progressive Caucus Chair Pramila Jayapal (WA-07), Vice Chair Jesús “Chuy” Garcia (IL-04), and Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) led 31 House members and 13 U.S. Senators in calling on the Biden Administration to “immediately support” the issuance of at least $650 billion in Special Drawing Rights (SDRs), a cost-free reserve asset distributed by the International Monetary Fund (IMF). A new SDR issuance would provide urgently needed resources for developing countries to address the “combined international crises” of an ongoing pandemic and alarming increases in food insecurity and poverty, while providing a critical infusion of immediate financial support to Ukraine.

In a letter to President Biden and Treasury Secretary Yellen, the lawmakers cite a doubling of those facing acute food insecurity globally, billions who remain unvaccinated against COVID-19, emerging debt crises, and declining economic growth in the developing world. They cite the success of last year’s SDR issuance, which allowed at least 99 developing countries “to stabilize their currencies, shore up reserves, pay off debts, and finance health care, such as vaccinations, and other urgent needs.” 

The urgency for a new issuance of SDRs has only increased since Russia’s war of aggression in Ukraine, the lawmakers argue, noting that the Ukrainian government used the entirety of its holdings. Ukraine’s Finance Minister Sergii Marchenko has described the need for additional SDRs as “a question of the survival of our country,” in light of estimates that the country’s GDP will contract by 45 percent. Ukraine’s economic crisis has disrupted the global food supply, increasing developing countries' need for funding that can stave off life-threatening hunger. A new SDR issuance “would provide the Ukrainian government with an immediate and vital $2.75 billion boost in its reserves,” they note.

Support for an even larger issuance of SDRs enjoys broad support in Congress, with the House  having voted in favor of authorizing nearly $1 trillion in new SDRs for developing countries last year, with the advocacy of the chairs of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, Black Caucus, Hispanic Caucus, and Asian Pacific American Caucus. Through unilateral action, the Biden Administration can support an issuance of an additional $275 billion for developing countries, a key demand among the Progressive Caucus’s executive action recommendations. The UN Global Crisis Response Group recently echoed congressional support, arguing that “all available rapid disbursement mechanisms at international finance institutions must be reactivated, and a new emission of Special Drawing Rights must be pursued.”

“The United States has demonstrated its leadership and the value of the existing multilateral financial system and we ask that it do so once again,” the lawmakers conclude. “It is currently in the power of the administration to immediately act in support of a new $650 billion new SDR issuance for global relief.” 

Signatories on the letter include: Representatives Pramila Jayapal (WA-07), Jesus “Chuy” Garcia (IL-04), Karen Bass (CA-37), Earl Blumenauer (OR-03), Jamaal Bowman (NY-16), Sheila Cherfilus-McCormick (FL-20), Peter DeFazio (OR-04), Lloyd Doggett (TX-35), Adriano Espaillat (NY-13), Raul Grijalva (AZ-03), Sheila Jackson Lee (TX-18), Sara Jacobs (CA-53), Hank Johnson (GA-04), Mondaire Jones (NY-17), Ro Khanna (CA-17), Andy Levin (MI-09), Alan Lowenthal (CA-47), Stephen Lynch (MA-08), James McGovern (MA-02), Grace Meng (NY-06), Marie Newman (IL-03), Eleanor Holmes Norton (DC), Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (NY-14), Ilhan Omar (MN-05), Mark Pocan (WI-02), Katie Porter (CA-45), Ayanna Pressley (MA-07), Jamie Raskin (MD-08), Michael San Nicolas (GU), Jan Schakowsky (IL-09), Rashida Tlaib (MI-13), and Juan Vargas (CA-51), and Senators Elizabeth Warren (MA), Richard Blumenthal (CT), Cory A. Booker (NJ), Senate Banking Chair Sherrod Brown (OH), Benjamin L. Cardin (MD), Robert P. Casey Jr. (PA), Senate Appropriations Chair Patrick J. Leahy (VT), Edward J. Markey (MA), Jeffrey A. Merkley (OR), Alex Padilla (CA), Bernard Sanders (VT), Senate Finance Chair Ron Wyden (OR), and Christopher Van Hollen (MD). 

WASHINGTON — Representative Pramila Jayapal (WA-07), chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, issued the following statement after the close of the 2021 Supreme Court term year:

“Last week, the Supreme Court finished one of the most consequential and destructive terms in recent decades. The Senate created a vacuum by upholding the filibuster and allowing the minority to block necessary legislation — and this radical Supreme Court has stepped into that vacuum, overturning long-settled precedents, wreaking havoc on our country, and increasingly losing legitimacy.

“The list of precedents nullified and democratic institutions and principles this Supreme Court gutted or fully overturned this term is horrifying: the separation of church and state, constitutional protections in the 100-mile border zone, the rights of those convicted on death row, state-level conceal carry laws, Miranda rights, the power of federal agencies tasked with protecting our health and the environment, and the legal right to abortion. The court denied Social Security benefits to the residents of Puerto Rico, blocked a federal vaccine-or-test requirement, denied detained immigrants bond hearings, undermined tribal sovereignty, allowed the CIA to withhold information about torture at black sites, and entrenched Louisiana’s racially gerrymandered electoral maps. They won’t stop here: the justices have already agreed to hear cases next term that could weaken our electoral process, allow discrimination against same-sex couples, and end affirmative action.

“These extreme decisions are the result of a decades-long project to stack the bench with adherents to a right-wing agenda and overrule precedent and the will of the American people. The majority has made clear it has no concern for ethics; there is evidence that a sitting justice’s wife was involved in efforts to overturn a free and fair presidential election, and when legal challenges on that very issue came before the court, the justice did not recuse himself. Three others appear to have misled the Senate Judiciary Committee about Roe v. Wade being settled precedent. The Supreme Court has overreached its authority and destroyed its legitimacy. 

“We do not have to simply accept the devastation of these rulings. The constitution created three co-equal branches of government, vesting the people’s elected representatives with the broad authority to check and balance a judiciary that oversteps its mandate. That’s why Congress has an obligation to respond, and do so quickly. We must pass Representatives Jerry Nadler (NY-10), Hank Johnson (GA-04), and Mondaire Jones (NY-17)’s Judiciary Act to add justices and expand the Supreme Court, and their Supreme Court Ethics, Recusal, and Transparency (SCERT) Act to institute a Supreme Court ethics and recusal standard and require disclosure of lobbying and dark money interests. We must pass the Judicial Ethics and Anti-Corruption Act, my bill with Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) to overhaul our nation’s judicial ethics laws and restore public faith in our court system. In the Judiciary Committee, we must continue our critical oversight obligations and hold additional hearings on the violations of ethics and transparency the Supreme Court has committed. We must hold these rogue justices to account.”

WASHINGTON — Representative Pramila Jayapal (WA-07), chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, issued the following statement in response to the Supreme Court ruling in West Virginia v. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA):

“Today, the Supreme Court has issued yet another blow to our democracy and the rights of future generations. With this decision, the Court once again overturned a significant precedent, this time from Massachusetts v. EPA, gutting the administration’s regulatory authority and cutting it off from the most powerful tools it needs to combat climate change. 

“The catastrophic impact of this decision cannot be understated. Already, the United States is behind schedule when it comes to lowering emissions and deploying renewable energy due to the policies of former President Trump and decades of Republican obstructionism in Congress. But now that the EPA cannot enforce the Clean Air Act, our already narrow path to meeting President Biden’s goal of halving carbon emissions by 2030 is even narrower. Polluters will be able to destroy our lands and waters and poison our communities with impunity. Without federal regulation and enforcement, we cannot ensure that environmental justice communities — those living on the frontlines of the climate crisis, disproportionately Black, Brown, Indigenous, and low-income neighborhoods — will experience further harm. This opinion will also have ramifications beyond the EPA, hobbling the regulatory power of agencies across the federal government. From today, the duly elected presidential administration can no longer actually use the tools of the executive to enact the agenda the people voted for.

“We cannot accept defeat. The administration has taken steps to invoke the Defense Production Act (DPA) to speed the production of renewable energy technologies, and we need them to double down on climate action. In our Progressive Caucus agenda, we have identified a number of actions that can, and must, be pursued in light of this decision: ending fossil fuel subsidies, ending financing for fossil fuel infrastructure overseas, and declaring a national emergency to put the full power of the administration behind renewable energy. Congress must also meet this moment with a renewed sense of urgency. There is broad consensus among Democrats in both chambers for climate action, and we are running out of time to pass it. We must pass legislation clarifying the EPA’s authority to regulate emissions, the Stop Corporate Capture Act to improve the regulatory process and ensure it works for the American people, and we must finalize a reconciliation bill with clean energy investments this month.”

WASHINGTON — Representative Pramila Jayapal (WA-07), chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, issued the following statement in response to the Supreme Court ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Center, which overturns the constitutional right to abortion:

“Today, a decades-long project of the extreme right-wing has come to fruition: the Supreme Court has overturned the constitutional right to abortion established in Roe v. Wade. As one of the one in four women in this country who has had an abortion, I am outraged for what this will mean for those who need abortion care — particularly those who will be most harmed by this decision: Black and Brown women, those who live in rural areas or have lower incomes and can’t afford to cross state lines for care, young people and LGBTQ people, and women in abusive relationships. The Supreme Court has now mandated forced pregnancy, taking away an intensely personal freedom for pregnant people to make decisions about our own bodies with a doctor or loved one, and instead bringing politicians into your decision and your bedroom. Every woman, every family, every pregnant person should fear what this means for their futures. 

“As a member of the House Judiciary Committee, I am furious that right-wing extremists and Republican Senators have warped the Supreme Court into a partisan political body that does not respect decades of precedent or the fundamental freedoms of millions of Americans. These five justices were appointed by two presidents who lost the popular vote, yet have overturned what was a 7-2 decision in 1973, a decision that 69 percent of Americans across the political spectrum support today and that Americans have considered settled for half a century. This decision makes it clear that this Supreme Court is far out of step with the American people and taking us backwards, not forward.

“It is important that Americans understand that this Supreme Court and Republicans in Congress will not stop here. In Justice Thomas' concurrence, he says explicitly that the Court should reconsider ‘all substantive due process precedents,’ including right to contraception, to same-sex marriage, and to same-sex relationships. It is clear he and the Court's majority have no respect for other precedents that have been won in recent decades.  This Supreme Court is out of touch with the American people and increasingly suffers a legitimacy crisis.

“House Democrats have passed bills to protect LGBTQ rights and abortion rights, as well as to end discriminatory insurance coverage bans on abortion to expand access — but all have been blocked by Republicans in the Senate. Those Senators who voted no have an obligation to reconsider their decision — and the devastation facing this country if they don’t. But we also clearly need not just a Democratic majority, but a clear pro-choice majority in the Senate, as we do in the House. But most immediately, all of us must continue to take this righteous anger to the streets and to the voting booths.

WASHINGTON — Representative Pramila Jayapal (WA-07), chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, and Representative Ilhan Omar (MN-05), whip of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, issued the following statement on the House passage of the Keep Kids Fed Act, legislation to extend the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)’s waiver authority to provide school meals for millions of children across the country:

“No child in the richest country in the world should go hungry. We are thrilled that the House of Representatives once again stepped up to extend school meal waivers. The USDA waivers provided essential flexibility for families to get food, and to ensure schools can keep providing nutritious meals for children across the country — as many as 10 million children received free breakfast and lunch each day under this program. While those waivers were scheduled to expire this month, the need has not. Especially given the inflated cost of food and the continuing challenges of COVID, we cannot allow 95 million meals to be missed by kids this summer. The impact of this program has been unequivocal: 95 percent of school nutrition staff reported the waivers helped reduce child hunger, 89 percent said they eased the burden on parents and guardians, and 82 percent said they support academic achievement.

“That data shows us why school meals have been the lifeblood of working class communities for decades: hungry kids can’t learn. House Democrats have acted decisively to protect children’s health and keep meals affordable. With promising bipartisan consensus emerging in the Senate to extend these waivers, we urge the upper chamber to quickly pass the House bill and send it to the President’s desk without delay. Going forward, Congress should enact the Universal School Meals Program Act to make nutrition support permanent and ensure our children never face an emergency hunger cliff again. No family should be punished for needing to rely on school meals to get their kids the food they need — and we have the legislative tools to make they don’t ever again.”

The bill passed today comes after aggressive advocacy from the Progressive Caucus to address the issue immediately, and builds on legislation from CPC members. In March 2020, Representative Omar introduced and passed the MEALS Act, a bill that directly authorized these school meal waivers and protected students’ access to school meal benefits during the coronavirus pandemic. Representatives Omar, Suzanne Bonamici (OR-01), and James McGovern (MA-02) also introduced and led the passage of the Pandemic Child Hunger Prevention Act, which increased the flexibility and availability of school meals so that children who rely on the meals had access to them even as schools were closed. Representatives Omar and Gwen Moore (WI-04), along with Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT), introduced the Universal School Meals Program Act to permanently provide free breakfast, lunch, dinner, and a snack to all school children regardless of income, eliminate school meal debt, and strengthen local economies by incentivizing local food procurement.

WASHINGTON — Representatives Pramila Jayapal (WA-07) and Peter DeFazio (OR-04), lead sponsors of H.J.Res. 87, the bipartisan Yemen War Powers Resolution which includes more than 80 cosponsors, issued the following statement regarding the recent announcement that President Biden plans to visit Saudi rulers in mid-July: 

“We share the concerns of many of our congressional colleagues who have expressed grave misgivings regarding the President’s planned meeting with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and a ‘reset’ of the U.S. relationship with Saudi Arabia — after promising to treat the regime as a ‘pariah.’ President Biden made a commitment ‘that America will never again check its principles at the door just to buy oil or sell weapons’ and would ‘end U.S. support for the disastrous Saudi-led war in Yemen.’   

“In light of the administration’s reported plan to use the visit to ‘push to end the war in Yemen,’ Congress must play a constructive and active role in fulfilling these promises, while asserting its rightful constitutional role over war and peace. We urge both the House and Senate to expeditiously consider our bipartisan Yemen War Powers Resolution to ensure the President’s goal is realized. Its passage will help maintain the tenuous ceasefire between the Houthis and the Saudi-led coalition, while preventing any resumption of deadly Saudi airstrikes which rely on critical U.S. operational support. We also ask for President Biden’s full support of this critical resolution. 

“The United States has participated in the Saudi-led war in Yemen for more than seven years without congressional authorization. Congress acting to pass our Yemen War Powers Resolution will send a powerful signal to the Crown Prince that both the President and Congress are committed to seeing an end to this war and alleviating the world’s worst humanitarian crisis, which continues to impact tens of millions of innocent Yemenis, including children. That suffering, and the United States’ role in it, must be brought to an end.”

WASHINGTON — The Co-Chairs of the House Sustainable Energy and Environment Coalition (SEEC), Reps. Gerry Connolly, Doris Matsui, and Paul Tonko, along with the Chair of the New Democrat Coalition (NDC), Rep. Suzan DelBene and the Chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC), Rep. Pramila Jayapal, sent a letter to President Biden urging him to do everything in his power to reach a deal and sign into law as swiftly as possible a revised reconciliation package that includes the climate investments passed by the U.S. House of Representatives. These investments will be critical to tackling change, lowering energy costs for Americans during a time of rising prices, and ensuring true U.S. energy independence by transitioning to a clean energy economy.

The letter is signed by 175 members representing the wide ideological breadth of the House Democratic Caucus. It is signed by 13 Committee Chairs, 75 Members of SEEC including all 8 Members of SEEC Leadership, 73 members of the New Democrats Coalition, 89 Members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, and all Democratic Members of the Select Committee on the Climate Crisis.

“As Congress and your Administration continue to work on policies to lower gas and fuel prices in the short-term, the House-passed reconciliation package includes the necessary climate investments to put the United States on the path to achieving your long-term vision of a clean economy,” wrote the Members. “The climate investments in the House-passed reconciliation package would provide the long-term antidote to both the energy crisis and the inflation crisis our nation currently faces. These investments would help transition all sectors of our economy to a clean future with good jobs and environmental justice at its heart – from our power grid to our transportation systems, our buildings to our industries, and our agriculture to our public lands and waters. Unfortunately, we no longer have the luxury of waiting if we want to prevent the worst consequences of climate change. We simply cannot fail to meet this moment.”

It follows on previous letters that similarly demonstrated this is a top priority for House Democrats, including a March 14th letter led by Representatives Sean Casten, Jamaal Bowman, and Nikema Williams along with 86 other members of Congress urging a restart of negotiations with climate at the center, and a January 31st letter led by Rep. Mike Levin along with 22 members of Congress in competitive districts demonstrating how important this issue was to their constituents. 

The full text of the letter can be found here.

WASHINGTON — Representative Pramila Jayapal (WA-07), chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, released the following statement marking the 10th anniversary of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program:

“Today, we mark ten years since the creation of the DACA program under President Obama. It was a monumental accomplishment for the immigrant justice movement in this country, won through persistent and relentless organizing of Dreamers and their families, activists and immigrant communities. Hundreds of thousands have been protected from deportation in the decade since DACA’s creation. It allowed Dreamers to step out of the shadows, go to school and work, and build families and lives in the only country they have ever known. 

“As an immigrant, one of only two dozen naturalized citizens serving in Congress, and an organizer who spent more than a decade fighting for immigrant rights, this anniversary carries a special resonance. I am so proud of the movement’s work in making DACA a reality, and their consistent fight in the years since to keep it alive. 

“But even as we celebrate this milestone, we know we cannot stop here. Too many DACA recipients live in fear of one day losing their status, being deported from their home, and separated from their families. Congress has failed for years to provide a permanent solution for immigrants — and that was before the Trump administration tried to end the DACA program, dismantled our refugee system, and injected additional fear and chaos into the lives of immigrants. 

“On this anniversary, we must commit to creating a different future for our immigrant neighbors. We must deliver Dreamers and all the 11 million undocumented immigrants are in the United States a roadmap to citizenship. As the Progressive Caucus called for in our executive action agenda, we must expand Temporary Protected Status (TPS) and Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) so that safety is guaranteed to every immigrant that calls this country home, not just some. We must end Remain in Mexico, Title 42, and rebuild our asylum system to once again guarantee asylum as a human right.

“Today and every day, progressives are proud to declare unequivocally that Dreamers belong here. Dreamers are home. Dreamers are us. We will not stop fighting to build a just system that welcomes every immigrant with open arms and open hearts.”

 

WASHINGTON — Representative Pramila Jayapal (WA-07), chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, issued the following statement on the House of Representatives vote to pass  H.R. 7910, the Protecting our Kids Act, legislation that would raise the purchasing age for assault rifles to 21, mandate safe gun storage, prevent gun trafficking, ban high-capacity magazines, and implement other gun safety measures:

“I am proud to have been involved in the Judiciary Committee’s effort to advance this critical package under Chairman Nadler’s leadership, and that progressives helped pass it on the floor today. This bill will implement widely popular, commonsense policies that fulfill the most basic mandate of our government and society: keep our children, our families, and our communities safe. Today’s passage would not have been possible without the impassioned, tireless activists, volunteers, and survivors who have never given up the work for a safer America. In honor of their fight and the millions across this country who have lost a loved one to gun violence — and in commitment to losing not one more life — we voted yes today.

“As this bill heads to the Senate, the entire country is watching: will Senate Republicans finally join with Democrats to prevent further mass slaughter of our constituents, or will they remain beholden to the gun lobby and moneyed interests that would allow the devastation on our streets to continue? After Buffalo, Tree of Life, and El Paso, after Uvalde and Sandy Hook, after Pulse and Aurora and Columbine, will they finally heed the calls of the majority of Americans from across the political spectrum and act? Or will they simply throw up their hands and allow the carnage to continue? We have been elected to represent the will of the people — and it certainly does not represent their will to continue to allow our families to live in fear and at risk of being gunned down in schools, grocery stores, churches, and across our public spaces. It’s time to meet the urgency and moral clarity of this moment, and send gun safety legislation to the President’s desk.

“This is the beginning of essential congressional action, but it cannot — and will not — be the end. House Democrats will advance Rep. McBath and Rep. Carbajal’s Federal Extreme Risk Protection Order Act to ensure those who are a serious danger to themselves or others cannot access these deadly weapons. But our response must also include removing weapons of war from our streets, and passing an assault weapons ban — as President Biden, Speaker Pelosi, and 210 members of the House have supported. Progressives in Congress are firmly supportive of this legislation, and will continue to push for its passage on the House floor so that we can continue the work of saving lives.”