WASHINGTON — Representative Pramila Jayapal (WA-07), Chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, issued the following statement on the Biden-Harris administration’s announcement that the cost of child care will be capped at no more than seven percent of a family’s income for those enrolled in the Child Care Development Block Grant (CCDBG) program:

“Today’s announcement is a historic milestone in the fight for universal child care. This rule to cap the cost of child care in the CCDBG program at no more than seven percent of household income will save more than 100,000 low-income families hundreds of dollars a month. This policy was part of the vision championed by the Congressional Progressive Caucus and our movement allies for nationwide universal child care, and which was embraced by every House Democrat in 2021 in the Build Back Better Act. Rent and child care continue to be among the biggest cost burdens on working families, so the finalization of this rule couldn’t be more timely. 

“We urge the administration to quickly implement this policy, and we look forward to continuing the work to lower costs for everyday Americans and ensure that no family in this country pays more than seven percent of their income for child care.”

WASHINGTON — Representative Pramila Jayapal (WA-07), Chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, issued the following statement on the Department of Education’s announcement of a new proposal to cancel the student debt of borrowers in financial hardship:

“This is another important step from the Biden administration to relieve the burden of student loan debt for those who need it most.

“Contrary to some of the most popular lies about student borrowers, people need this relief to make ends meet. 97 percent of people with federal student loans are low- and middle-income, 40 percent of them never were able to finish their degree, and millions are seniors in retirement. Canceling student loan debt is essential to lowering monthly costs for Americans across the country who are struggling to keep up with rising prices of housing and food.

“This new rule is an attempt to address borrowers who’ve experienced the greatest financial hardship: who were defrauded by predatory for-profit colleges, who are part of households making less than $71,000 per year, who have filed for bankruptcy, or for whom college was so expensive that they weren’t able to finish their degrees. The rule could also correct the imbalance for people whose outstanding debt exceeds what they originally borrowed and people whose professional earnings have failed to live up to the promise of their education. 

“I thank President Biden and Secretary Cardona for their ongoing efforts to chip away at the student debt crisis. We must ensure that today’s proposal results in tangible relief for the millions who are owed it, and Progressives will continue to partner with the administration so it becomes a reality.” 

The new proposed rule is responsive to asks made by Representative Jayapal, Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Representative Ayanna Pressley (MA-07), CPC Deputy Chair Ilhan Omar (MN-05), and Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) in a January 2024 letter.

WASHINGTON — Representatives Pramila Jayapal (WA-07), Chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC) and Barbara Lee (CA-12), CPC Chair Emeritus and Peace and Security Task Force Chair issued the following statement on the recent election in Pakistan:

"In their elections last week, Pakistanis sent an unequivocal message that they want a country led by the people, not the military. We condemn the Pakistani military’s efforts to impede those free and fair elections and call for immediate cessation of any of those continuing efforts. We join the State Department in calling for accountability around efforts to impede the elections. Given the history of U.S. support for Pakistan's government and security forces, we have a special responsibility to ensure that, going forward, our security cooperation is with a government that represents the will and democratic consent of the Pakistani people."

WASHINGTON — Representatives Pramila Jayapal (WA-07), Chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC); Ilhan Omar (MN-05), Deputy Chair of the CPC; Greg Casar (TX-35), CPC Whip; and Barbara Lee (CA-12), CPC Chair Emeritus and Peace and Security Task Force Chair issued the following statement on recent developments in the Middle East:

“Since October, we have seen a steady escalation between varied armed actors and U.S. forces throughout the Middle East. These rising tensions culminated in this past weekend’s tragedy, where three U.S. service members were killed and dozens wounded in an Iraq-based militia strike on a U.S. base in Jordan.

“We mourn the loss of these soldiers, as well as the Navy SEALs who were lost earlier this month in a separate Red Sea operation. Since October, 165 attacks have injured more than 120 U.S. service members across the region, and repeated U.S. retaliatory strikes in Yemen, Syria, and Iraq have not deterred these armed groups.

“We are facing the most serious threat of regional war since Donald Trump’s reckless and unauthorized strike against Iranian General Qassem Soleimani four years ago — so it comes as no surprise that congressional Republicans are now irresponsibly pushing direct military confrontation with Iran. For years, these extreme voices have been fixated on closing the door to diplomacy and drawing the United States into direct conflict with Iran.

“The American people have no interest in such a conflict, which would erode our nation’s global standing and irreparably damage our national security. As the people’s representatives in Congress, we take seriously our constitutional responsibility over war, peace, and security and we remind the White House that Congress must be involved in and approve of the offensive use of military force. 

“Now is the time to take concrete actions to decrease tensions that threaten our service members. At this dangerous and unpredictable moment, we call for a renewed focus on de-escalation, diplomacy, and on addressing the root causes that have inflamed the region and provoked attacks on U.S. personnel in recent months.” 

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.