WASHINGTON — Representative Pramila Jayapal (WA-07), chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, issued the following statement upon House passage of H.Res. 915, a Resolution Recognizing the Rights of Congressional Workers to Organize, introduced by CPC Deputy Whip Rep. Andy Levin (MI-09):

“Every worker deserves a union — including in Congress. The Progressive Caucus is proud to be the first caucus to support congressional staff unionization, and we were proud to vote for this resolution today.

“Congress would not work without our staff, who are essential both to the functioning of the legislative branch and to ensuring that Congress well represents the communities we serve. But for too long, House rules have stood in the way of their right to organize and collectively bargain. Today, they can now begin the process that every worker should have access to, and that thousands have found power in during recent years: they can form a union. This resolution will also make critical progress toward staff retention, ensuring that those with institutional knowledge, deep expertise, and a commitment to public service can continue to work on the Hill. From Seattle to Staten Island, everyone has the right to dignity, safety, and fair treatment in the workplace — and they will always find champions and allies among progressives in Congress.”

WASHINGTON — Representative Pramila Jayapal (WA-07), chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, issued the following statement in response to a new Department of Justice (DOJ) enforcement order advancing environmental justice:

“We’re thrilled to see the Biden administration continue to advance key policies from our CPC Executive Action Agenda, this time putting the full power of the Department of Justice behind advancing environmental justice. 

“In our agenda, we urged President Biden to respond to the disproportionate and devastating impact of climate change and pollution on poor communities and people of color in two ways: ensuring at least 40 percent of the overall benefits from federal investments in climate and clean energy go to disadvantaged communities, and holding government agencies accountable for reducing disproportionate environmental impacts on frontline communities. We applaud the new DOJ Office of Environmental Justice for advancing significant progress on those two goals. 

“Today’s announcement shows an administration that is not afraid to go to bat for our most vulnerable communities against waste, corruption, and discrimination. We’re seeing the Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Justice play hardball on behalf of communities of color, and a Biden administration bringing the full weight of its enforcement powers — not only its regulatory ones — in the fight for environmental justice. We look forward to continuing to work with President Biden and his administration to advance our executive action agenda and deliver for communities across the country.”

Progressives have long been some of the loudest champions in Congress for environmental justice. CPC Chair Emeritus and Natural Resources Committee Chair Representative Raúl Grijalva (AZ-03) led the introduction of the Environmental Justice For All Act, legislation to trengthen environmental compliance and pollution standards and provide new enforcement tools to counter environmental discrimination; the bill was endorsed by the Progressive Caucus earlier this year. Rep. Jayapal and CPC member Representative Nanette Barragán (CA-44) co-chair the bicameral Environmental Justice Task Force. And CPC members Representatives Rashida Tlaib (MI-13), Lisa Blunt Rochester (DE-AL), and Debbie Dingell (MI-12) lead the Get The Lead Out Caucus to fight for full funding to replace lead pipes across the country.

Today’s executive order is the sixth action implementing portions of the Progressive Caucus’ executive action agenda since it was announced in March. It follows orders to: fix the Affordable Care Act “family glitch,” end Title 42, require public companies disclose information about their climate risk, develop heat and wind labor standards, and invoke the Defense Production Act to mobilize the production of renewable energy technology, all of which were proposed by the CPC in the agenda.

WASHINGTON — Representative Pramila Jayapal (WA-07), chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, issued the following statement in response to the leaked draft Supreme Court opinion in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Center, which  would overturn Roe v. Wade:

“As one of the one in four women in this country who’ve had an abortion, the leaked draft of the Supreme Court ruling overturning Roe v. Wade is terrifying and enraging. This is about the fundamental freedoms of women across this country, who absolutely have the right to make decisions about our bodies and have control over our futures and our economic security. Taking that away is wrong. Let’s be absolutely clear about who will be hurt if this draft becomes a final ruling: 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. But everyone should fear this ruling for the freedoms it removes. We cannot let that happen.

“This draft opinion confirms that this radical Supreme Court majority does not respect precedent, does not respect women, does not respect freedom. Let us also be clear that these five justices, appointed by two presidents who lost the popular vote, are prepared to overturn what was a 7-2 decision in 1973, and that 69 percent of Americans across the political spectrum do not believe should be overturned. People across this country who mourn the politicization of the Supreme Court by a radical minority must take to the streets and to the voting booths.

“There is still time for Congress to intervene and avert what would be a disaster for health care in this country — but that time is running out, fast. The House passed the Women’s Health Protection Act to outlaw state anti-abortion laws and codify Roe, but the Senate failed to do so. We applaud Majority Leader Schumer’s commitment to bring that legislation back to the Senate floor. 

“It’s now time for the Senators who voted no to reconsider their decision — as well as the devastation that awaits this country if they don’t. The threat to legal abortion is no longer hypothetical, and Senators have an obligation to act accordingly, including making an exception to the filibuster to pass this legislation to protect reproductive freedom. 

“In the meantime, it is important to remind everyone that this is a draft opinion, and has not changed current law in any way. Today, Roe v. Wade is the law of the land, and abortion is still legal. If you need care, please reach out to the community of providers and health care professionals who are waiting to support you.”

WASHINGTON — Representative Pramila Jayapal (WA-07), chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, issued the following statement in response to President Biden’s order granting clemency to 75 people and pardons to three people, as well as an administration strategy to support the reentry of those formerly incarcerated:

“We are pleased to see the President use his singular power of clemency to grant pardons and commute these sentences. This is the first time that he has issued such an order since taking office more than a year ago, and it will change the lives of these 78 individuals and their families. 

“Today’s move is also an important demonstration of the commitment to racial justice his administration espouses. The Progressive Caucus included clemency in our executive action agenda not only because of the unique power of the executive to deliver in this area, but because tackling mass incarceration — which has decimated generations of Black and Brown families and communities — must be a priority for Democratic governance.

“As we celebrate the freedom of those who were granted clemency today, we cannot forget the two million of our fellow neighbors who are still behind bars. We urge President Biden to act on the rest of the Progressive Caucus’ recommendations with further actions. First, the President must ensure that the Bureau of Prisons effectively implements the Attorney General’s strong Office of Legal Counsel memo, including by granting clemency to those who have complied with the terms of their home confinement regardless of the length of their sentences. This will build on the success of the pandemic home confinement program, which alleviated prison overcrowding and mass incarceration. And second, the administration should also create an independent, permanent clemency board to review more than 18,000 pending clemency petitions. Today’s order is an important step to bending the moral arc a bit closer toward justice — but it cannot be the end.”

WASHINGTON — Congressional Progressive Caucus Chair Representative Pramila Jayapal (WA-07) called on House leadership to advance legislation that would strengthen Social Security and increase benefits. In a new letter to Speaker Pelosi, the CPC Chair advocates for H.R.5723, Social Security 2100: A Sacred Trust to be quickly brought to the floor for passage in the House of Representatives. 

The bill makes a number of urgently needed improvements to the program, including increasing retirement, disability, and dependent benefits; protecting against inflation; removing penalties against dual-income households; ending the five-month waiting period for disability benefits; repealing provisions that lessen benefits for public servants, including teachers; providing caregiver credits; and extending benefits to students. The legislation also protects the program to ensure it can continue supporting Americans long into the future by establishing a Social Security Trust Fund and extending its solvency.

Crucially, Rep. Jayapal writes, these improvements are “paid for by making millionaires and billionaires pay the same rate as everyone else by ensuring the payroll tax is applied to wages above $400,000.”

“Since the advent of Social Security,” she writes, “Democrats have worked steadfastly for nearly a century to build  on that landmark achievement and create a more just society, guaranteeing a life of dignity to our seniors. Social Security 2100: A Sacred Trust upholds this tradition.”

The Progressive Caucus has long advocated for protecting and expanding Social Security, including naming it as a priority in the CPC’s “People’s Budget” for more than a decade, advocating for the essential role Social Security plays in advancing both economic and disability justice. As Chair Jayapal emphasized in the letter, “This bill’s rapid adoption by the House of Representatives will demonstrate Democrats’ commitment to furthering the legacy of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt and strengthening the most important anti-poverty program in America’s history.”

WASHINGTON — Representative Pramila Jayapal (WA-07), chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, issued the following statement following today’s vote in the U.S. Senate to confirm  Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to the Supreme Court of the United States:

“This is truly a joyful day for the country. Judge Jackson is one of the most experienced nominees in decades: a former District Court and Court of Appeals judge, Supreme Court clerk, U.S. Sentencing Commission member, and former public defender. The country saw her poise, grace, thoughtfulness, and brilliance as she handled every part of the confirmation process — including some outrageous attacks from Republican Senators that damaged only their credibility, not hers. She has shown what it means to rise above the nastiness and to bring her history as a judge and her experience as a Black woman to her jurisprudence. She rightfully has earned the admiration and respect of millions across the country. 

“Judge Jackson is a compassionate, thoughtful, and deliberate jurist, deeply dedicated to equal justice under law and the Constitution. She is, in fact, exactly who we need on the Supreme Court — and an exemplary choice to make history as our first Black woman justice.

“The Progressive Caucus joins today in the joy of millions across the country who are celebrating the historic confirmation of Judge Jackson to the United States Supreme Court, and we congratulate the phenomenal soon-to-be Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson.”

WASHINGTON — Representative Pramila Jayapal (WA-07), chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, issued the following statement on President Biden’s executive order to expand access to the Affordable Care Act:

“We are thrilled to celebrate President Biden’s executive order today that will expand access to the Affordable Care Act (ACA) to one million more people. This action was one of the principal asks on our executive action agenda to lower health care costs, and will close a loophole that has left too many middle class and lower income families without access to affordable health care. It will have a particular impact for women, who are the majority of those effectively locked out of the ACA marketplace, as well as children, many of whom are falling through the gap between the ACA and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). As we continue the fight for Medicare For All — because health care is a right, not a privilege — this is an important step that will ensure millions more get care they need now. 

“With costs on the rise and corporations continuing to squeeze working families, actions like today’s are exactly what we need from President Biden to provide immediate, tangible economic relief. This family glitch fix follows the rescission of Title 42, the proposed SEC rule requiring climate disclosures, and the invocation of the Defense Production Act — all part of the CPC’s executive action agenda — and we encourage the administration to continue to embrace its unique power to lower costs, raise wages, and deliver for all who call this country home.”

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).