WASHINGTON — Representative Pramila Jayapal (WA-07), chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, issued the following statement after the House passage of H.R. 3917, the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement, or MORE Act.

In the House of Representatives, the MORE Act is led by Progressive Caucus members: introduced by Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (NY-10) along with Representatives Earl Blumenauer (OR-03), Barbara Lee (CA-13), Sheila Jackson Lee (TX-18), Hakeem Jeffries (NY-08), and Nydia Velázquez (NY-07). The legislation decriminalizes marijuana, removes marijuana from the list of scheduled substances under the Controlled Substances Act, and enacts key racial, economic, and criminal justice measures. Progressives have led the fight in Congress for marijuana justice for over two decades, first introducing legislation to ban federal interference with state medical cannabis laws in 2001, and with the leadership of the ??Congressional Cannabis Caucus in 2017.

“Today, the House of Representatives advances a key progressive priority to end one of the most unjust vestiges of the racist war on drugs with the passage of the MORE Act. The House passage of this comprehensive bill is a victory for racial, economic, and criminal justice. Studies show a Black person is 3.64 times more likely to be arrested for marijuana possession than a white person, even though Black and white people use marijuana at similar rates. Not only does the MORE Act decriminalize marijuana, but it also takes on mass incarceration by eliminating criminal penalties for an individual who manufactures, distributes, or possesses marijuana, and establishing a process to expunge marijuana-related convictions. And it works to address the generational denial of economic opportunity that has resulted from the targeting of Black and Brown people through marijuana criminalization by prohibiting the denial of federal public benefits and of immigration protections based on marijuana conduct, and establishing a trust fund for individuals and businesses in impacted communities. 

“The Progressive Caucus joins our colleagues in Congress, advocates across the country, and the overwhelming majority of Americans who support decriminalizing marijuana in celebrating today’s vote, and we will continue to work for the MORE Act to become law.”

WASHINGTON — Representative Pramila Jayapal (WA-07), chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, issued the following statement on President Biden’s invoking the Defense Production Act.

“We applaud President Biden’s invocation of the Defense Production Act (DPA),  and the administration’s commitment ensuring this implementation is done in the most sustainable way possible. There is a reason why the Progressive Caucus included invoking the DPA in our executive action agenda, and why the climate movement has also called for it: in light of the very real emergency of climate change, it is an essential tool and a unique power vested in the executive that can seriously expand our ability to produce renewable energy and lower utility costs for working families. As we celebrate this important step, we will continue to advocate for its use to mobilize domestic industry with good-paying union jobs to manufacture the renewable, energy-efficiency and transportation technologies we need — such as distributed solar, storage, microgrids, heat pumps, insulation, electric vehicles and charging infrastructure — both domestically and to export abroad.”

WASHINGTON — Members of Congress and the Japanese parliament issued a joint letter today to call on President Biden and Prime Minister Kishida to support a declaration of a no-first-use nuclear weapons policy for the United States. Their advocacy to the executives comes following a Nuclear Posture Review from the Biden administration that clarifies the Pentagon’s nuclear capacity.

The 35 American and 39 Japanese lawmakers, representing the Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC) and the Progressive Caucus of Japan (PCJ), encouraged both governments to clarify that they do not support the United States being the first nation to introduce the use of nuclear weapons in conflict. It was led by Representatives Pramila Jayapal (WA-07), CPC Chair, and Mark Takano (CA-41), Senators Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), and Ed Markey (D-MA), and Japanese Diet House of Representatives member and PCJ chair Masaharu Nakagawa.

While a no-first-use policy is the de facto position of both countries — a longstanding CPC priority — it is essential to clarify and strengthen that position in the wake of Russia’s illegal and unjustified invasion of Ukraine and a moment of heightened nuclear tensions. The lawmakers write: “A U.S. declaration stating that it would never start a nuclear war, supported by Japan, would breathe new life into international efforts to reduce and eventually eliminate the danger of nuclear war. This is especially important at a time when tensions between the nuclear-weapons-possessing states, especially between the United States and China, are increasing.” 

Japan is part of a group of non-nuclear countries covered by the U.S. nuclear “umbrella,” which pledges the United States to retaliate if any of the included countries were attacked with nuclear weapons. Analysis by the Union of Concerned Scientists found the Japanese government would accept a U.S. no-first-use declaration and is unlikely to develop its own nuclear weapons in response — and that the assurance to the umbrella countries would remain even with a no-first-use declaration. 

The letter concludes, “Though the U.S. has recently completed its Nuclear Posture Review, it is never too late to commit to a no-first-use policy. Making this sensible change to U.S. nuclear weapons policy enjoys overwhelming support, both in our respective legislatures as well as among the citizens we represent.”

The full list of American signatories includes: Representatives Pramila Jayapal (WA-07), Mark Takano (CA-41), Donald S. Beyer Jr. (VA-08), Earl Blumenauer (OR-03), Judy Chu (CA-27), Steve Cohen (TN-09), Peter DeFazio (OR-04), Lloyd Doggett (TX-35), John Garamendi, Jesús G. “Chuy” García (IL-04), Raúl M. Grijalva (AZ-03), Sheila Jackson Lee (TX-18), Henry C. “Hank” Johnson Jr. (GA-04), Andy Levin (MI-09), Mike Levin (CA-49), Ted W. Lieu (CA-33), Alan Lowenthal (CA-47), Carolyn B.  Maloney (NY-12), James P. McGovern (MA-02), Gwen Moore (WI-04), Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.), Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (NY-14), Ilhan Omar (MN-05), Mark Pocan (WI-02), Ayanna Pressley (MA-07), Jamie Raskin (MD-08), Jan Schakowsky (IL-09), Rashida Tlaib (MI-13), Nydia M. Velázquez (NY-07), Maxine Waters (CA-43), Bonnie Watson Coleman (NJ-12), Peter Welch (VT-AL), and Senators Ed Markey (D-MA), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA).

WASHINGTON — Representative Pramila Jayapal (WA-07), chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, issued the following statement after a meeting between Caucus leadership and President Biden:

“I want to thank President Biden for a very productive meeting on how to advance so many of our shared goals. We discussed progressive legislative priorities and our mutual commitment to delivering as much relief as possible for the American people. On executive action, we urged immediate movement on the agenda the Progressive Caucus released earlier this month which was centered around eight areas: lowering health care costs, canceling federal student loan debt, expanding worker power and raising wages, advancing immigrants’ rights including ending Title 42, delivering on the promise of equal justice under law, combating the climate crisis and reducing fossil fuel dependence, investing in care economy jobs and standards, and regulating for economic and tax fairness. 

“In particular, we encouraged the administration to quickly act on policies that will lower costs, raise wages, and put money back in working people’s pockets, including canceling student debt, raising the overtime threshold, lowering prescription drug costs, expanding renewable energy to decrease reliance on fossil fuels, and fixing the Affordable Care Act ‘family glitch’ to expand access to health care.  

“We look forward to continuing to work with the President and our colleagues in Congress to maximize Democrats’ governing opportunity and deliver the relief working families so desperately need.”

WASHINGTON — Today, on the occasion of the first hearing on universal health care coverage in the 117th Congress, the Congressional Progressive Caucus celebrated this historic moment for the Medicare For All movement.

The Congressional Progressive Caucus has long championed health care as a right, not a privilege, with a history of members introducing single-payer legislation. Today’s Medicare For All Act, introduced by CPC chair Representative Pramila Jayapal (WA-07) and Representative Debbie Dingell (MI-12) in both the 116th and 117th Congress, is the most comprehensive Medicare for All bill yet, providing a clear roadmap to achieving single-payer healthcare. It is co-sponsored by 120 members of Congress in the House; similar legislation was introduced in the Senate last Congress by CPC co-founder Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT).  

For its three decades, CPC members have consistently fought to expand Medicare and access to coverage, including health care benefits for immigrants, equitable gender and LGBTQ+ inclusive coverage, lower cost premiums and prescription drugs, and abortion and reproductive health coverage. In the 116th Congress, for the first time, three committees of jurisdiction held hearings on Medicare for All and the need to expand healthcare coverage. Today’s hearing, the first on the bill in the 117th Congress, continues to build necessary momentum and education on the need for Medicare for All. We applaud the House Oversight and Reform Committee for holding this hearing.

Representative Jayapal said:

“The pandemic has made it clear now more than ever that we must guarantee health care as a human right with no copays, no deductibles, and no premiums. We need Medicare for All now, when nearly 100 million people are uninsured or underinsured in the richest nation on the planet. There’s no excuse for this broken system — where parents have to choose between taking their kid to the doctor or paying rent. Today, we take a major step forward on this critical legislation in the House Oversight Committee. The path ahead is tough, but Medicare for All is necessary, popular, and most importantly will save thousands of lives. I’m going to continue fighting to make it the law of the land.”

Progressive Caucus members of the House Oversight and Reform Committee issued the following statements:

“Americans deserve a health care system that guarantees health and medical services to all,” said Representative Cori Bush (MO-01). “Congress must implement a system that prioritizes people over profits, humanity over greed, and compassion over exploitation. The systemic racism perpetuating health inequities cannot be overstated — Black women are 3-4 times more likely to die during childbirth. We are more likely to have rates of asthma and cancer from generations living next to pollution centers. We are more likely to have foregone routine screenings and medical appointments for a real fear of having our pain dismissed. That’s why my colleagues and I are coming through in force for our first Medicare for All hearing since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. This policy will save lives, I want to make that clear. I hope this hearing will be one more step forward in our commitment to ensuring everyone in this country, and particularly our Black, brown and Indigenous communities, have the medical care they need to thrive.”

“When I was a child, my hospital visits for pneumonia nearly bankrupted my parents who worked multiple jobs without health insurance. No family should ever face this situation,” said Representative Jimmy Gomez (CA-34). “The time has come when we as a nation guarantee access to quality, affordable healthcare. I’d like to thank Chairwoman Maloney for calling today’s hearing, and I thank my Congressional Progressive Caucus Colleagues for leading the charge on Medicare for All.” 

 “For decades, Democrats have fought to protect and expand access to health care, and at every step, Republicans try to gut our efforts,” said Representative Hank Johnson (GA-04). For us, health care is a human right. Democrats want to move towards expanding access to health care, which is essential to improving health equity. Medicare for All and Medicaid expansion are tools to help get us there. Republicans have made it clear – they want to take health care away from the millions benefitting from Medicare, Medicaid and the Affordable Care Act to prioritize corporate profits over Americans’ health. Now is the time to expand access to healthcare, not cut it.”

“Universal health coverage is not optional: it’s urgent,” said Representative Ro Khanna (CA-17). “Private health insurance is a crushing tax on working families and businesses. Medicare for All would save an estimated 68,000 lives a year while reducing U.S. health care spending by billions of dollars. It’s good policy and the right thing to do."

“As Chairwoman of the Oversight Committee, I’m proud to convene today’s hearing and join with my colleagues in working to ensure that every person in the United States can access health care,” said Representative Carolyn Maloney (NY-12). “I have spent my career fighting to guarantee health care as a human right, and with Medicare for All, we have the opportunity to create a more equitable health care system that treats every person with empathy and dignity.”

“Healthcare is a fundamental human right and we must legislate accordingly,” said Representative Ayanna Pressley (MA-07). “For too long, our nation’s healthcare system, which puts profits over people, has threatened the very ability of poor, Black, brown, Indigenous, and disabled folks to live and survive in America—that must change. This historic hearing will move us one step closer to ensuring that every person has access to quality care when they need it and where they need it. We must enact Medicare for All and I am grateful to Congresswoman Maloney for holding this long overdue hearing and giving this critical legislation the attention it deserves.”

“The COVID-19 pandemic demonstrated the need for a comprehensive health care system that makes public health paramount. Covid showed us that every person’s health is integrally connected to everyone else’s,” said Representative Jamie Raskin (MD-08). “In the richest society in the history of our species at its richest moment, to deny our fellow Americans universal health care is to deny our common humanity. As a proud founding member of the Medicare for All Caucus, I’m committed to securing health care as a right for every American. I look forward to hearing from our witnesses at this hearing, like my friend the incomparable Ady Barkan, whose passionate, unyielding activism has helped move the needle across the country on this fundamental imperative for our people.”

"This pandemic exposed just how broken the health care system is in our country,” said Representative Rashida Tlaib (MI-13). “Millions of people across the country know that passing Medicare for All is long overdue. In the richest country, our residents should not face financial ruin, continue to be sick, or even die because they lack adequate coverage and care. We need Medicare for All now and we will not stop fighting until we have it. This hearing ignites the reality that we must act now.”

Progressive Caucus members also testified before the hearing:

“As a Member of Congress, I am more than adequately covered, can get a checkup anytime I want, and if something’s wrong, I can get treated on the spot — so many  people in this country don’t have that privilege,” said Representative Jamaal Bowman, Ed.D. (NY-16). “Those of us who support Medicare for All believe that every single person who lives in this country should have that level of care. It’s very simple: if people knew they had exemplary health care, they would go to the doctor more. But as it stands, millions of people often skip preventive and routine care, instead waiting until they are severely ill to seek treatment. And as a Black man, I am acutely aware of the specific care needs that Black people have in our society. It is well-known, for example, that Black Americans have the highest rates of hypertension, and Black women are facing a Black maternal health crisis. Medicare for All is urgently needed and this hearing brings us one step closer toward making it a reality for all.”

WASHINGTON — Representatives Pramila Jayapal (WA-07), chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, Mark Pocan (WI-02), and Barbara Lee (CA-13), chairs emeriti of the Congressional Progressive Caucus and co-chairs of the Defense Spending Reduction Caucus, issued the following statement in response to President Biden’s FY2023 budget proposal:

“There is much to be applauded in the President’s budget today. We are particularly pleased to see an increase in non-defense discretionary spending to meet critical needs and funding to deliver the investments from the President’s economic agenda for working people. It also makes corporations and billionaires pay their fair share, including through a new tax on billionaires’ total incomes, a longstanding progressive priority supported by a significant majority of the American people. 

“But if budgets are value statements, today’s White House proposal for Pentagon spending shows that we have a lot of work to do. It is simply unacceptable that after the conclusion of our longest war and during a period of Democratic control of both chambers of Congress, the President is proposing record high military spending. 

“Last year, the President requested $753 billion for Pentagon spending, topping the Trump administration’s last enacted spending level of $740 billion. The U.S. House of Representatives more than doubled that desired increase, and Congress ultimately enacted the full amount of $782 billion in military spending for Fiscal Year 2022, totaling defense-related budgets across agencies. Still, the White House has requested yet more for Fiscal Year 2023, $813 billion — nearly half of which is likely to go to private military contractors. The Pentagon remains unable to pass an audit, and its history of waste, fraud, and abuse continues to misuse taxpayer dollars.

“As Pentagon spending has exploded, the federal government has been forced to pinch pennies for decades when it comes to investments in working families. Appropriators and advocates are constantly called to answer for how we will afford spending on lowering costs and expanding access to health care, housing, child care services, on fighting the COVID-19 pandemic, and on combating climate change — but such concerns evaporate when it comes to the Pentagon’s endlessly growing, unaudited budget.

“We will continue to vigorously advocate against this military spending proposal, as we have in years past. And we remain committed to our mission of working toward a federal budget that prioritizes peace, diplomacy, and American families’ needs over those of war.”


WASHINGTON — Representative Pramila Jayapal (WA-07), chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, issued the following statement on the hearings of Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson for nomination to the Supreme Court:

“At the conclusion of the week of hearings, it could not be clearer why President Biden nominated Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to serve on the Supreme Court, and how deeply deserving she is of confirmation. Her knowledge, breadth of experience, and skill as a jurist were on full display under questioning. Her empathy, passion, and commitment to equal justice under law could not be dimmed, even with shameful attacks thrown at her. In the face of outrageous treatment from Republicans on the committee, she showed what can only be described as judicial temperament.

“But even as America applauds how Judge Jackson endured the hearings with fortitude and grace under fire, it demands to be said: she should not have been subjected to this treatment in the first place. The Republican party — from Senators on the committee, to members of the Caucus, to campaign arms on social media — have used this occasion not to undertake a serious constitutional obligation, but rather to berate, hector, and discredit the first Black woman nominated to the high court. The baseless and frankly racist attacks we have seen in recent days demean the Senate Judiciary Committee and these proceedings, and disparage the nominee to an unacceptable degree.

“Judge Jackson’s treatment will unfortunately be all too familiar to women, especially women of color and particularly Black women. We can recall every moment we’ve experienced what can at best be described as antagonizing and at worst as bullying. But of course, Judge Jackson responded as Black women and women of color will also recognize: with poise and unflappable dignity. I join millions around the country in applauding her nomination, her performance throughout these hearings, and look forward to recognizing her as Justice Jackson.”

WASHINGTON — On the seventh anniversary of the Saudi-led war in Yemen, Representative Pramila Jayapal (WA-07), Representative Peter DeFazio (OR-04), Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT), and Representative Ro Khanna (CA-17) issued the following statement: 

“Seven years ago today, the United States began unauthorized military participation in Saudi Arabia’s devastating war in Yemen. In the time since, Saudi Arabia’s airstrikes and air-and-sea blockade have cost hundreds of thousands of lives and threatened millions more with famine, triggering the worst humanitarian crisis in the world. On this grim anniversary —  spanning seven years and three presidential administrations — we are calling for an immediate end to American involvement in the Saudi-led coalition’s brutal military campaign.  

“With each passing day, the crisis in Yemen intensifies. Saudi airstrikes have escalated in recent months, with a pace killing and injuring four times as many civilians as the previous year. The Saudi blockade has reportedly prevented all fuel from arriving at Yemen’s major port since January, causing massive shortages. And with 30 percent of Yemen’s wheat imports coming from Ukraine and food prices soaring, acute hunger is expected to increase five-fold 

Congress has repeatedly voted to end the United States’ unconstitutional participation in this conflict. This past fall, for the third time in as many years, a bipartisan majority in the House of Representatives passed a measure in the National Defense Authorization Act to terminate ongoing military involvement. Still, the flow of U.S. logistics, spare parts, and maintenance essential to Saudi Arabia’s devastating bombings and aerial siege continue to this day.  

“We know that concern is not limited to Congress. In 2019, then-candidate Biden urged Congress to override Trump’s veto and pass a War Powers Resolution to end unconstitutional U.S. military involvement in Yemen. Last year, he announced a commitment to ending support for ‘offensive’ operations in Yemen. After Saudi Arabia’s de facto ruler Mohammed bin Salman outrageously declined to take President Biden’s phone calls, reportedly demanding deeper U.S. involvement in the Yemen war, there is no better time for the President to fulfill his promise: ‘end U.S. support for the disastrous Saudi-led war in Yemen,’ and ‘make clear that America will never again check its principles at the door just to buy oil or sell weapons.’ 

“While the United States may not be able to unilaterally end all fighting in Yemen, we can stop participating in Saudi Arabia’s brutal campaign, and exert leverage to compel them to lift their blockade. Now, on this solemn anniversary, we urge the Biden administration to act. If not, we remain committed to invoking Congress’ constitutional authorities to pass a new Yemen War Powers Resolution to end unauthorized involvement in this conflict. American complicity in this humanitarian disaster has persisted for too long — and we will not allow it to continue.”

WASHINGTON– Representative Pramila Jayapal (WA-07), chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, announced today that the membership of the CPC voted to endorse the Environmental Justice For All Act. The bill was introduced in the House by CPC Chair Emeritus Raúl M. Grijalva (AZ-03) and Representative A. Donald McEachin (VA-04). 

The lawmakers introduced the Environmental Justice For All Act on March 18, 2021, the culmination of a years-long, inclusive, transparent community-led process to draft comprehensive environmental justice legislation based on public input.

“Progressives understand the demands of this moment in our country. We know that as we work to rebuild from the Trump years, the pandemic, and combat the climate crisis, we cannot continue to leave low-income communities and communities of color behind,” said Rep. Jayapal. “We have a special duty to those who’ve borne the brunt of pollution and environmental racism. Our work to transition to renewable energy, build and develop technologies that protect our clean air and water, and create good, union paying jobs, has presented us with an opportunity to address the cumulative impact of environmental and social injustice on Black, Brown, Indigenous, and economically deprived communities. The Progressive Caucus is thrilled to endorse the Environmental Justice For All Act, and join Chair Emeritus Grijalva and Rep. McEachin in the fight for this visionary legislation.”

The bill’s co-authors issued the following statements: 

“For too long, unjust federal policies have allowed major polluters, like power plants and manufacturing facilities, to concentrate in poor communities and communities of color, putting their health, safety, and quality of life on the line,” said House Natural Resources Committee Chair Grijalva. “The Environmental Justice For All Act reverses course on that history, ensuring that all communities have the right to clean air, clean water, and an environment that enriches their lives. I’m proud to have the support of the Progressive Caucus as we continue the fight to make environmental justice a reality for all Americans

“I thank the Congressional Progressive Caucus for endorsing the Environmental Justice for All Act,” said Rep. McEachin. “This legislation was developed through meaningful consultation with impacted communities, climate advocates, and other stakeholders to develop tailored, community-driven solutions to environmental injustice. The EJ For All Act will take comprehensive steps to combat generational inequities and empower vulnerable communities that are disproportionately impacted by environmental injustice and degradation. This endorsement adds important momentum to our efforts to ensure a healthy, livable future for all Americans.”

Among other provisions, the Environmental Justice For All Act:

  • Strengthens environmental compliance and pollution standards by requiring the consideration of cumulative environmental impacts in permitting decisions under the Clean Air Act and the Clean Water Act. The bill ensures that permits will not be issued if projects are unable to show a reasonable certainty of no harm to human health after consideration of cumulative impacts. Currently, there is no federal limit on cumulative impact pollution for environmental justice communities that are already overburdened by industrial pollution. 

  • Provides new enforcement tools to counter environmental discrimination by strengthening the Civil Rights Act to allow citizens and communities to legally challenge prohibited discrimination in court, overturning the Alexander v. Sandoval ruling; and

  • Promotes more equitable access to environmental amenities, including through technical application assistance for federal grants, dedicated environmental justice community grants to support research, education, outreach, development, and implementation of projects to improve environmental conditions in environmental justice communities. 

WASHINGTON — Representative Pramila Jayapal (WA-07), chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, issued the following statement in response to a new proposed rule from the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) that would require greater disclosure from public companies when climate change is impacted.

“Just last week, the Congressional Progressive Caucus released an agenda of executive action for the Biden administration to address climate change, increase economic fairness, and much more. We are thrilled to see that today, we have the first movement on those priorities coming from the SEC — firmly in line with its mission to protect investors and create orderly, fair, and efficient markets.

“For years, investors have been asking for information regarding the climate impact of public companies’ activities in their decisions — but there was no requirement that such impact be disclosed. Instead, investors were made to rely on companies volunteering this information or following inconsistent disclosure laws. That is a problem for corporate transparency, for well-informed investment decisions, and for the federal government’s efforts to conduct fair and consistent regulation. Today, the SEC is fulfilling its goals as an institution and delivering for investors who have long needed this information to guide their choices. With the implementation of this new rule, companies will have clear and consistent guidance to follow, and investors can feel confident that firms will provide shareholders with the relevant information they need regarding climate impacts. It’s one more example of how the Biden administration is working to hold corporations accountable and create a fairer economy. We applaud the Commission for this proposed rule, and look forward to seeing it finalized quickly.”

The Congressional Progressive Caucus’ executive action agenda, released Thursday last week, includes the following priority that would be met through the SEC rule:

“Advance corporate transparency through a Securities and Exchange Commission rule requiring public companies to disclose information about their exposure to climate-related risks, including: the company’s direct and indirect greenhouse gas emissions; the total amount of fossil fuel-related assets the company owns or manages; the company’s expected valuation if climate change continues at its current pace or greenhouse gas emissions are restricted to meet the 1.5 degrees Celsius goal; and the company’s risk management strategies related to the physical risks and transition risks posed by the climate crisis.”