WASHINGTON — Representative Pramila Jayapal (WA-07), Chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, released the following statement applauding the Biden Administration's decision to pause approvals of new Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) exports:

“The Administration has taken a critically important step in ensuring we put our planet and the health and well-being of communities across our country and across the world who are affected by the climate crisis first. Today, the President is siding with the science and the climate justice movement and pushing back on Big Oil profits and powerful special interests. While this does not address the existing LNG plants that were already approved, it does make sure that no more are approved as the impacts of these plants on climate and communities are considered. 

“LNG exports by fossil fuel companies exacerbate climate change and pose a major threat to communities already suffering from the worst effects of the climate crisis here and abroad. LNG is primarily methane, which is significantly more potent at accelerating the climate crisis than carbon dioxide. With this decision, the Biden Administration is deepening its commitment to protect our environment and fight back against the devastating effects of climate change. Progressives look forward to continuing to work with them to continue these efforts.”

The Biden Administration’s temporary pause and environmental review is directly responsive to a November demand to overhaul its approach to determining public interest considerations for new LNG licensing from over 60 bicameral lawmakers, more than 40 of whom are Progressive Caucus members, led by CPC Vice Chair Jared Huffman. 

WASHINGTON — Representative Pramila Jayapal (WA-07), Chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, released the following statement applauding the Department of Labor’s new final rule on independent contractors:

“I am thrilled to see the Biden administration continuing to put its pro-worker commitment into action with this new final rule. 

“With gig work playing a larger role in our economy, it’s more important than ever that workers are protected under federal law and have access to all the rights to which they’re entitled. This new policy will ensure that the workers who have fallen through the cracks — from rideshare and delivery drivers to janitors and home care workers — will finally be able to access Social Security benefits and unemployment insurance and be guaranteed overtime and minimum wage pay. The rule is also an essential check on large, wealthy corporations who have skirted their obligations to these workers even as their labor makes the companies’ profits possible.

“The Progressive Caucus looks forward to continuing to work with President Biden and Acting Secretary Su to ensure this new rule is implemented fairly and equitably across the country and industries.”

WASHINGTON — Representative Pramila Jayapal (WA-07), Chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, released the following statement applauding President Biden’s decision to renominate Julie Su to serve as Secretary of Labor:

“I applaud President Biden for sticking by Acting Secretary Su and renominating her to permanently lead the Department of Labor. 

“Julie Su has spent her career as a dedicated public servant, fighting tirelessly for working people, especially the lowest-wage workers, domestic workers, immigrant workers, and workers of color. She deeply understands how the Department of Labor should work and the needs of our modern economy.

“As a civil rights attorney, California Secretary of Labor, and Deputy Labor Secretary under Secretary Walsh, she took on wage theft, fought for the rights of gig workers, and defended the rights of garment workers who were survivors of trafficking. In her year as Acting Secretary, Julie has built an impressive track record of competence and success. She has resolved successful contract fights to the benefit of striking workers and their employers and been an indispensable partner in the CPC’s fight to increase the Overtime Threshold to ensure full-time workers are actually compensated for all their hours on the job. In each role, she has prioritized the most invisible and forgotten workers, worked closely with unions, and delivered for the people.

“There is so much work still to do to raise wages, lower costs, and fight for the working people of this country, and we need Labor Secretary Su to achieve it. We urge the Senate to move swiftly and finally confirm this extremely qualified nominee.”

WASHINGTON — Representative Pramila Jayapal (WA-07), Chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, issued the following statement on the release of new merger guidelines from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and Justice Department:

“As Chair of the Progressive Caucus and a member of the Subcommittee on Antitrust, I am thrilled to see the new merger guidelines from the FTC and Justice Department. 

“The multifaceted approach, which takes into consideration terms of employment and platforms in addition to price competition, will ensure that federal agencies are taking a holistic view of companies during merger requests. The guidelines define new forms of anticompetitive abuse, including vertical integration and serial acquisitions by hedge funds and take worker impact into consideration. These moves demonstrate a real understanding of what anticompetitive behavior looks like in today’s economy, as well as a meaningful commitment to fairness and justice for working people. They will also be essential to protect small businesses, ensuring their ability to thrive and compete against large corporations, and consumers, ensuring businesses cannot simply acquire their competition away but rather are forced to compete for customers with fair pricing.

“These new merger guidelines also build on impressive moves from the antitrust agencies, including the FTC’s rule to ban non-compete agreements across industries and President Biden’s executive orders to promote competition and to take on price gouging in the meat industry. I applaud Attorney General Garland, Chair Khan, and Assistant Attorney General Kanter for their dedicated and principled leadership. Progressives have long advocated for antitrust reform across our economy, including in our 2023 Executive Action Agenda, to hold corporations accountable, raise wages, and lower costs — and this guidance does just that. I look forward to continuing to work together to hold corporations accountable and empower workers.”

WASHINGTON — Representative Pramila Jayapal (WA-07), Chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, issued the following statement on the Biden administration’s draft guidance to exercise “march-in” rights, which empower the government to authorize cheaper generic options for expensive patented drugs developed with taxpayer funds:

“The new framework shows the Biden administration continues to be concerned about the outrageous prescription drug costs that burden American families across the country. Progressives have long fought for federal action to lower prescription drug costs, including in the 117th Congress, in our 2022 Executive Action Agenda, and in our 2023 Agenda released this March. If the final policy is strong, Democrats would be able to add it to a powerful list of reforms — including capping the cost of insulin at $35/month and capping seniors’ out of pocket drug costs — that make a real difference in middle- and working-class people’s lives. 

“While we appreciate the administration’s work to address this issue from our Executive Action Agenda, we are concerned that this rule needs to be strengthened and given teeth or it will not fulfill the full promise of march-in rights. The guidance acknowledges that the high cost of drugs should be a factor in the government's determination of whether to employ its march-in authorities, but it does not provide sufficient grounds to actually take on Big Pharma's corporate profiteering or the egregious drug pricing schemes that force people to ration prescriptions, travel to Canada for lower prices, or go without life saving medication."

“As the Biden administration finalizes this guidance, progressives will be looking for key changes to strengthen it. First, the guidance must meaningfully take on Big Pharma’s price gouging that forces Americans to pay two to four times the price for the same drug as in neighboring countries. This is egregious conduct on Big Pharma’s part and that conduct should be clearly defined. Second, it should ensure the benefits of publicly funded research and development for new drugs go back to the taxpayer, rather than to line the pockets of pharmaceutical corporations. Third, the administration must instruct federal agencies to license affordable generic alternatives to prohibitively expensive drugs such as Xtandi, which is used to treat prostate cancer. These reforms must be applied as broadly as possible, without unnecessary restrictions that limit agencies’ power, and enforce real accountability mechanisms for Big Pharma when it tries to evade these requirements. 

“It is far past time we use every tool available to lower the costs of prescription drugs and ensure life saving medications are available and affordable for the people who need them most. The Progressive Caucus looks forward to being deeply engaged with the Commerce Department and the Department of Health and Human Services throughout the comment process to create policy with the greatest impact possible.”

WASHINGTON — As Americans face a nationwide housing crisis, the Chairs of leading congressional caucuses are calling for federal action to protect people’s rights and stop rent price-gouging.

Representatives Pramila Jayapal (WA-07), Chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus; Nanette Barragán (CA-44), Chair of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus; Judy Chu (CA-28), Chair of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus; and Steven Horsford (NV-04), Chair of the Congressional Black Caucus called for action from the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), the independent agency tasked with ensuring fairness in housing lending and protecting renters. 

“Renters across the nation are in crisis: high rents and rent hikes put America’s lowest-income and most marginalized renters at risk of losing their homes,” the lawmakers wrote in a letter to FHFA Director Sandra L. Johnson. “Rent inflation continues to be a driver of overall inflation…[and] nearly half of all renters spent more than a third of their income on rent in the previous year, an all-time high for our nation.”

The Caucus Chairs emphasize that the urgency is not limited to rent costs: “Eviction filings are climbing to even higher rates than before the pandemic. In the worst cases, individuals and families are being forced into homelessness, living in tents, cars, or shelters and severely devastating families with children, and older adults. The rent inflation crisis is an issue of racial and economic justice. Black, Hispanic, and Asian American renters are more likely to be severely cost burdened than white renters.”

The members called for six key reforms:

  1. Anti-rent gouging protections to stop landlords from rent hikes.

  2. “Good cause” eviction standards to safeguard against unfair, discriminatory, and retaliatory evictions. 

  3. Source of income protections to prohibit landlords from discriminating against
    households receiving housing assistance.

  4. Habitability and accessibility requirements to ensure housing is safe, decent,
    accessible, and healthy.

  5. Rental registry participation requirements so tenants are adequately informed about their landlord before signing a lease.

  6. Limits on artificial intelligence to curb rent spikes, prevent tenant discrimination, and reduce other unintended consequences.

“These protections are necessary — along with large-scale, sustained investments that only Congress can provide — to ensure that the lowest-income and most marginalized renters have an affordable place to call home,” the Chairs conclude.

The letter follows the CPC 2023 Executive Action Agenda, which called on the Biden administration to use its executive authority to combat rent price gouging and unfair evictions by landlords, expand access to affordable housing and lower rent costs, and prohibit tenant discrimination.

WASHINGTON — Following a vote of the 103-member Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC), the Caucus endorsed the Government Surveillance Reform Act (GSRA). 

The bill, led by CPC member Representative Zoe Lofgren (CA-18), reauthorizes Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) for four years, allowing intelligence agencies to continue to use the authorities granted by that law, but with significant new protections against documented abuses and new accountability measures when abuses occur. Those reforms include: requiring law enforcement to secure a warrant before searching U.S. individuals' data, outlawing law enforcement purchase of U.S. individuals' data from brokers without a warrant, and prohibiting the monitoring of foreign individuals outside the U.S. as a pretext to surveil U.S. persons within the country, known as "reverse targeting.”

“Progressives are proud defenders of civil liberties, and I am proud that the CPC is endorsing the Government Surveillance Reform Act in this key moment in the fight to reform FISA,” said Rep. Pramila Jayapal (WA-07), Chair of the CPC. “As the Intelligence Community continues to conduct backdoor searches and spy on Americans at an alarming scale, we must stand up and defend the privacy of people across the country. This legislation would do just that by overhauling privacy protections. It’s time for every member who claims to care about civil liberties to join Rep. Lofgren’s legislation and defend Americans’ Fourth Amendment rights.”

“It is encouraging and important that the Congressional Progressive Caucus is formally endorsing the most significant legislation to overhaul surveillance laws in nearly half a century – the Government Surveillance Reform Act (GSRA). We can curb surveillance abuses and uphold Americans’ Fourth Amendment rights while being kept safe,” said Rep. Zoe Lofgren, co-author of the GSRA, a senior member of the House Judiciary Committee, and the co-founder and co-chair of the Fourth Amendment Caucus. “Part of being progressive means being supportive or open to legislation that helps our country evolve for the better. It is smart progressive policy to support the GSRA before Congress considers greenlighting another major surveillance reauthorization.” 

Many of the GRSA’s key provisions were passed by the House Judiciary Committee as part of the historic bipartisan H.R. 6570, the Protect Liberty and End Warrantless Surveillance Act, under the leadership of CPC members Reps Jayapal, Lofgren, and House Judiciary Ranking Member Jerrold Nadler (NY-12). 

Other FISA reforms the GSRA would codify include: 

  • Ending "abouts" collection: The bill terminates the practice of gathering non-U.S. citizens’ communications that merely reference U.S. persons, curbing mass, warrantless surveillance of Americans.
  • Enhancing oversight and accountability: The bill stipulates stricter auditing, reporting, and redress processes, promoting responsibility and transparency across intelligence activities.
  • Curtailing overreach in Section 702 data use: The bill ensures that data collected under Section 702 is not used in criminal or civil cases unless directly connected to national security threats, thus avoiding its application in unrelated legal contexts.
  • Halting warrantless collection of business records: The bill enhances the personal data security of working individuals by disallowing warrantless surveillance of businesses.
  • Establishing oversight of the Executive Branch: The bill creates statutory safeguards and prohibits warrantless searches of Americans’ information collected pursuant to Executive Order 12333, to put an end to overly broad surveillance of Americans under Executive Order 12333.

WASHINGTON — Representative Pramila Jayapal (WA-07), Chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, issued the following statement applauding the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)’s new final rule on methane emissions:

“We’re thrilled to see President Biden and his administration continue to take the climate crisis seriously. This new rule — directly responsive to our CPC Executive Action Agenda — shows the EPA is aggressively using its rulemaking authority to enforce the Clean Air Act. 

“Methane is one of the most dangerous greenhouse gas emissions that is responsible for a third of the warming of our planet. These new standards will not only reduce that harmful pollutant, but also help prevent the equivalent 1.5 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide from being released into our air – nearly as much as all the carbon dioxide emitted by the power sector in 2021. Limiting methane emissions from oil and gas sources will improve air quality, reduce life-threatening pollution, and make a real difference in our fight for climate action. The EPA’s new policy is also essential for environmental justice, ensuring that the communities who bear the worst of pollution and climate change — often low-income communities and communities of color whose health and safety have been neglected — will see clearer air and live healthier lives.

“The CPC looks forward to continuing to work with Administrator Regan and the EPA team to ensure the new rule is implemented with equity and impact at the forefront.”

WASHINGTON — Representatives Pramila Jayapal (WA-07), Chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC); Ilhan Omar (MN-05), CPC Deputy Chair; and Greg Casar (TX-35), CPC Whip issued the following statement after an internal Congressional Progressive Caucus member survey in which of the vast majority of the 103 members responded. A majority of those respondents said they would oppose a supplemental budget agreement that gives into Republican demands to further damage our broken immigration system by undermining asylum protection, reinstating Trump-era transit bans, and severely restricting the administration’s parole authorities. The remainder of members indicated they were undecided, with virtually no members actively supporting the proposal.

“As Congress returns this week to consider the President’s emergency supplemental funding request for international aid and increased border funding, Republicans are still trying to force their anti-immigrant policies into the legislation. Progressives are clear: we will not play this game.

“House Republicans are trying the same strategy that continues to fail: hold Congress hostage to force their cruel, extreme, and unworkable agenda because they can’t pass it through the regular legislative process. This is the strategy that brought us to the brink of economic default and two government shutdowns. Proposed policies would destroy our U.S. asylum system and endanger immigrant lives while making the situation at the border worse, not better. 

“Progressives have fought for decades in Congress to advance comprehensive immigration policy that would uphold U.S. and international law, respect the humanity and dignity of those seeking refuge in this country, and strengthen the U.S. economy. We have passed common sense legislation with bipartisan majorities. Our members are prepared to work with any colleague who wants to advance thoughtful, holistic, and relevant reforms to create a roadmap to citizenship, increase the efficiency of our asylum system, and more — but this extortion is not going to work. 

“Progressives reject Republicans’ cynical attempt to imperil the lives of people seeking safety to pass this supplemental funding bill. We call on our Senate Democratic colleagues to stand up for immigrants and the allied communities who sent us to Congress and show Republican extremism for what it is by moving forward an aid package without new anti-immigrant policies.”

WASHINGTON — Representative Pramila Jayapal (WA-07), Chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, issued the following statement commending the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)’s new proposed rule to get dangerous lead out of the country’s water drinking systems:

“The Progressive Caucus is thrilled to applaud the new proposed rule from the Biden Administration to get the lead out and ensure clean drinking water for families across the country.

“This new rule will put the United States on track to locate and replace all lead pipes in the next decade, an endeavor that is critical for public health and will create thousands of good-paying, union jobs. It includes strengthened protections for communities that have been particularly impacted by pollution and climate change — often low-income neighborhoods and communities of color whose health and safety have been neglected — in an essential move for environmental justice. The proposal is also the third EPA regulatory action to take on pollution and improve public health following rulemaking on fossil fuel-fired power plants and emissions — all of which the Progressive Caucus advocated for as part of our 2023 Executive Action Agenda

“We celebrate the tenacity of movement organizing: activists across the country who have fought tirelessly for clean water as a human right and progressives in Congress, including CPC members and Get The Lead Out Caucus co-chairs Representatives Rashida Tlaib (MI-12) and Lisa Blunt Rochester (DE-AL) and Representatives Debbie Dingell (MI-06), Sylvia Garcia (TX-29), Sara Jacobs (CA-51), and Mary Gay Scanlon (PA-05).

“I look forward to continuing to work with the Biden administration to advance environmental justice, take climate action, and invest in working families.”