WASHINGTON — The chairs of the Congressional Progressive, Black, Hispanic, and Asian Pacific American Caucuses jointly urged the Treasury Department today to support House Democrats’ recent approval of a new issuance of urgently needed financial assistance through the International Monetary Fund (IMF). The Special Drawing Rights (SDRs) would help hundreds of millions of people in developing countries still suffering from the ongoing effects of the global COVID-19 pandemic.

SDRs, which are reserve assets issued by the IMF to all member states, cost nothing to U.S. taxpayers and allow developing countries to stabilize their economies and invest in social and public health needs. SDRs can be converted into hard currency by low-income countries to purchase essential goods such as food, vaccines, energy supplies, medical equipment, and lifesaving drugs. They can also help reduce low- and middle-income countries’ borrowing costs, minimize capital flight, and avoid balance-of-payments and debt crises. With the Biden Administration’s support, the IMF issued 456 billion SDRs earlier this year, with many of the most vulnerable countries in the world being among the first to take advantage of them. The House of Representatives approved an additional issuance of 1.5 trillion SDRs in the State and Foreign Operations Appropriations bill in July.

Rep. Pramila Jayapal (WA-07), chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus; Rep. Joyce Beatty (OH-03), chair of the Congressional Black Caucus; Rep. Raul Ruiz (CA-36), chair of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus; and Rep. Judy Chu (CA-27), chair of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus, were joined by Rep. Jesús “Chuy” García (IL-04), author of the Robust International Response to Pandemic Act, which served as the basis of legislation adopted by the House.

In a letter sent to Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen today, the lawmakers wrote, “As President Biden observed, ‘one thing we learned’ from the 2009 economic recovery is that ‘we can’t do too much here. We can do too little. We can do too little and sputter.’ A one-time allocation of SDRs may be too little given the continuing upsurges in COVID19 infections worldwide. By further boosting global demand for U.S. exports, assisting in a worldwide economic recovery, easing major spikes in hunger, poverty and disease, and providing financial resources for mass vaccinations abroad at no cost to the United States, a new issuance of 1.5 trillion SDRs remains a vital tool for this administration’s efforts to crush the coronavirus and build back better, both at home and abroad.”

The members of Congress praised the Biden Administration for “ending the previous administration’s virtually solitary opposition” to the IMF’s issuance of SDRs, as well as the Biden administration’s moves to rejoin the Paris Climate Accord and the World Health Organization, as examples that “the United States is once again playing a leadership role in multilateral efforts to solve global crises.”

The lawmakers expressed concern that “highly unequal vaccine access has led to just 20 percent of people in low- and lower-middle-income countries receiving a first vaccine dose compared to 80 percent in higher-income countries.” In addition, the lawmakers point to the fact that “as many as 161 million more people faced hunger in 2020 than in 2019.” Major global setbacks in the fight against tuberculosis, HIV, and malaria, they add, “pose a risk to the economic strength, national security, and public health of the United States.” The members of Congress conclude by asking for Secretary Yellen’s support in enacting House legislation to issue additional SDRs “to resolve the global pandemic, accelerate America’s economic recovery, and save millions of lives worldwide.”

The letter to Secretary Yellen builds on a previous joint effort in 2020 that succeeded in securing House passage of legislation authorizing a major SDR issuance in the 116th Congress. The chairs of the Congressional Progressive, Black, Hispanic, and Asian Pacific American Caucuses have also been joined by prominent Democratic Senators and former Republican Senator Sam Brownback (KS) this year in advocating for the issuance of additional SDRs to alleviate global poverty.

WASHINGTON — Representative Pramila Jayapal (WA-07), chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, issued the following statement in response to President Biden’s announcement that he will renominate Jerome Powell for a second term as Chair of the Federal Reserve and Dr. Lael Brainard as Vice Chair: 

“I congratulate Mr. Powell and Dr. Brainard for their nominations by President Biden to lead the Federal Reserve. Mr. Powell has demonstrated an unprecedented commitment to full employment during his first term as Fed Chair, including his celebration of ‘great things happening from a tight labor market’ and enthusiasm for workers’ bargaining power, which, he noted, led to employers ‘going to prisons and getting to know people before they came out and giving them jobs as they came out.’ This is the perspective we need at the Federal Reserve as it steers the economy through the turbulence of the pandemic and toward a truly equitable recovery.

“As a result of Powell and Brainard’s support for full employment, as well as Congressional Democrats’ passage of the President’s American Rescue Plan earlier this year, the unemployment rate has fallen to 4.6 percent in October. In contrast, it took more than nine years after the Great Recession for unemployment to fall to this level. A full employment commitment will continue to be critical as the Fed is pressured to raise interest rates and throw people out of work, despite the fact that we are still 4.2 million jobs below pre-pandemic levels. Rate hikes would be unnecessary and cause much more suffering through lower employment and wages, harming communities of color disproportionately.

“In addition, I hope that under Powell and Brainard’s leadership, the Fed does much more to advance the Progressive Caucus’s priorities of tackling climate change and monopoly power, as well as Wall Street corruption and the need to aggressively regulate the financial sector. As our caucus noted last year, the Federal Reserve has significant authority under the Dodd Frank Act to address the threat climate change poses to the stability of our financial markets. It is crucial that the Federal Reserve take strong action on this front.

“I am pleased that the President nominated two vocal proponents of full employment who have repeatedly shown their willingness to resist partisan pressures, and I hope that their nominations will be rapidly confirmed by the Senate.”

WASHINGTON — Representative Pramila Jayapal (WA-07), chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, issued the following statement upon passage of the Build Back Better Act through the House of Representatives:

“The Progressive Caucus entered the negotiations around President Biden’s Build Back Better agenda with a clear vision: this transformational legislation should deliver immediate, tangible change in the lives of working people. We articulated at the beginning of the process the need for significant investments in five critically important priority areas: climate action, affordable housing, improving health care while lowering drug prices, lifting up our immigrant workers through humane reforms, and the care economy including universal child care, pre-K, home-based care and paid leave.

“Throughout the process, we worked with House and Senate leadership, committee chairs, and the White House to ensure these priorities made it into the Build Back Better Act. When others cut the size of the package, we insisted that all of these critical priorities be funded robustly, even if for a shorter time. Most importantly, we insisted that the Build Back Better Act had to move forward with the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, so that no one was left behind.

“Just six weeks ago, by refusing to leave anyone behind and insisting the two bills pass the House together, we were able to allow space for President Biden to get negotiations started between the two Senators and the CPC. We were able to get a framework announced that had our progressive priorities in it, and get progressives coalesced around that framework. We were able to get full legislative text for a bill that is largely pre-conferenced with the Senate. We were able to get a vote on the rule to move Build Back Better forward. And most importantly, we were able to get a public commitment from the five Democrats who needed more information that we would pass the Build Back Better Act this week. That is exactly what has happened today.  

“At every step of the way, the Progressive Caucus kept our eyes on the prize of successfully delivering on President Biden’s entire agenda. This is truly one of the most transformative and progressive packages in recent history, and it comes at a time when Americans are waiting for us to deliver on our promises to provide relief to working and poor people across the country. We salute the tremendous leadership of President Biden, both in articulating the vision to start with, and in leading negotiations, as well as the work of our colleagues who kept their word today. We also thank the Speaker for her leadership all along the way.

“While this version of the bill isn’t everything we want or that our communities deserve, we recognize that this transformative piece of legislation was developed with the slimmest of margins in the House and Senate, and under the strict rules of budget reconciliation. Despite those margins, we continued to push for the most we could get for the American people, and we are proud of what we achieved. This legislation will deliver real, long overdue and urgently needed results to working people, and it begins to level the playing field so that corporations and the wealthiest Americans finally pay their fair share in taxes.

“Our work will not stop until the Build Back Better Act passes the Senate without any weakening of these popular provisions. We call on the Senate to quickly pass this bill and send it to the President’s desk as soon as possible. It’s time to deliver.”

The Build Back Better Act includes: 

  • $150 billion federal investment in housing, the largest in our history, for one million new and improved affordable housing units as well as housing vouchers;

  • Universal preschool for 3 and 4 year-olds in the largest expansion of public education since the K-12 system was originally created;

  • High-quality child care, where no family pays more than 7 percent of their income; 

  • A half-trillion dollar investment in taking on climate change, with meaningful reductions in carbon emissions and Justice 40 measures that get us on the path to a clean energy future; 

  • A Civilian Climate Corps to create green jobs in communities most impacted by climate change;

  • Improved health care through Medicare expansion of hearing aids, as well as subsidies for low-income families in states that have not expanded Medicaid;

  • Provisions to cap insulin costs, allow Medicare to negotiate down the prices of some of the most expensive drugs, limit out-of-pocket drug costs for seniors, and penalties for pharma companies that increase prices faster than inflation;

  • Funding for home-based care for seniors and people with disabilities, and to raise the wages of in-home care workers;

  • Four weeks paid family and medical leave, the first national investment in paid leave in American history;

  • Provisions to provide Dreamers, TPS holders, essential workers, and farmworkers protection from deportation, work permits, access to benefits, and freedom to travel.

WASHINGTON — Representative Pramila Jayapal (WA-07), chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, issued the following statement today on the agreement reached by Democratic legislators for prescription drug pricing reform in the Build Back Better Act:

“Prescription drug pricing reform is overwhelmingly popular and desperately needed across the country, which is why the Progressive Caucus included it as one of our priorities for this legislation. Americans pay more than any other country in the world for prescription drugs, and this agreement allows us to begin tackling that outrage with policy.

“This agreement will, for the first time ever, allow Medicare to negotiate down prices on some of the highest-cost drugs, a policy supported by nearly 90 percent of Americans. It will cap insulin at $35 for a month’s supply, a life-saving measure for those with diabetes who are currently forced to pay upwards of $200 per vial. It ensures seniors will not pay more than $2,000 out of pocket for their drugs annually, and it will impose a tax penalty on drug companies that increase their prices faster than inflation. This is real progress, and it gives Congress something to build on, setting us up to continue to take action that curbs the pharmaceutical industry’s greed and profiteering.

“But given this framework’s limitations, it’s clear that Big Pharma — which has spent millions of dollars lobbying Congress — still has far too much influence over our legislative process. The good news: we have a President and an administration thoroughly committed to tackling price gouging and monopoly power throughout the economy. We urge President Biden, Health and Human Services Secretary Becerra, and others in the Administration to join Congress in this fight. By using its full authority and pursuing aggressive executive action, the administration can finally provide millions of Americans relief from unfair drug pricing.”

WASHINGTON — U.S. Representative Pramila Jayapal (WA-07), chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, issued the following statement on the status of Build Back Better negotiations:

The Congressional Progressive Caucus just overwhelmingly voted to endorse, in principle, the entire Build Back Better Act framework announced by President Biden today. We appreciate the President’s leadership and his commitment to getting this process over the finish line. He reaffirmed, as our Caucus has month after month, that both the infrastructure bill and the popular Build Back Better Act must move together because they are part of the same agenda. Today, we are reiterating our enthusiastic commitment to delivering that entire agenda to people across America.

“The reality is that while talks around the infrastructure bill lasted months in the Senate, there has only been serious discussion around the specifics of the larger Build Back Better Act in recent weeks, thanks to the Progressive Caucus holding the line and putting both parts of the agenda back on the table. Now, Congress needs to finish the job and bring both bills to a vote together. This cannot be accomplished without legislative text that can be fully assessed and agreed upon by all parties, including 218 Representatives and all 50 senators in the Democratic Caucus. There is too much at stake for working families and our communities to settle for something that can be later misunderstood, amended, or abandoned altogether. That is why dozens of our members insist on keeping both bills linked and cannot vote only for one until they can be voted on together.

“Members of our Caucus will not vote for the infrastructure bill without the Build Back Better Act. We will work immediately to finalize and pass both pieces of legislation through the House together.”

 

WASHINGTON — Representative Pramila Jayapal (WA-07), chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, issued the following statement after the Senate failed to advance the Freedom to Vote Act:

“With the right to vote under direct assault in states across the country, Senate Republicans have once again used the filibuster to block urgently needed legislation that not only protects voting rights, but also our very democracy. Congress cannot just sit back and do nothing as Jim Crow-style voter suppression returns with a vengeance, partisan and racist gerrymandering robs voters of their right to choose their representatives rather than the other way around, and Republican-led legislatures chip away at the bedrock of our democracy.

“As Americans, we should all be able to agree that everyone in this country has the right to have their voice heard and their vote counted — no matter their race, income, ZIP code, or anything else. We applaud Senate Democrats who voted for urgently needed solutions to an unprecedented attack on voting rights. But the next step is clear: The Senate must reform, if not end, the archaic filibuster, and pass federal legislation to protect voting rights. It is the only way forward — and inaction is simply not an option."

Together with the John Lewis Voting Rights Act, the Freedom to Vote Act would strengthen access to the ballot by expanding automatic and same-day voting registration, early voting, and vote by mail. It would also end partisan gerrymandering, establish Election Day as a national holiday, and limit election subversion from foreign interference, dark money, and partisan actors while promoting digital ad transparency.

WASHINGTON — U.S. Representative Pramila Jayapal (WA-07), chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, issued the following statement after a meeting with President Biden regarding negotiations around the Build Back Better Act:

“I want to thank President Biden for his leadership and for continuing to fight for his visionary, transformative, and popular Build Back Better Act. We had a very productive and necessary conversation about the urgent need to deliver the full Build Back Better agenda. We feel progress is being made toward an agreement that will make transformational investments in the five priorities that the CPC laid out months ago, specifically the care economy — including child care, pre-K, paid leave, and home and community based care; housing; health care; climate action; and a roadmap to citizenship for immigrants. We also appreciate the President fighting for progress on all of these key priorities, even if it is for a shorter period of time, as the CPC had articulated weeks ago is our preferred option to bring down the overall price tag.

“We agree with the President that now is the time for all Democrats to come to the table, join together, and negotiate in good faith so that we can pass the entirety of the Build Back Better agenda as quickly as possible, so that we do not leave anyone behind. We emphasized our commitment to the principles that we believe should guide these ongoing negotiations: delivering transformative investments that can be immediately felt by the American people, and doing so through universal programs that keep the President’s commitment to racial equity.

“We look forward to moving this process forward with our colleagues in the House and Senate, Congressional leadership, and the White House so we can send the infrastructure bill and the Build Back Better Act to President Biden’s desk.”



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The Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC) is made up of nearly 100 members standing up for progressive ideals in Washington and throughout the country. Since 1991, the CPC has advocated for progressive policies that prioritize working Americans over corporate interests, fight economic and social inequality, and advance civil liberties. The CPC champions progressive policy solutions like comprehensive immigration reform, good-paying jobs, fair trade, universal health care, debt-free college, climate action, and a just foreign policy. The caucus has been the leading voice calling for bold and sweeping solutions to the urgent crises facing this nation, including ending America’s broken for-profit health care system, raising the minimum wage, eliminating political corruption, bolstering labor protections for working families, and taking swift action to stop the warming of our planet.

WASHINGTON — The leadership of the Congressional Progressive Caucus continued their fight to protect the promise of the Build Back Better Act today, advocating that the scope of programs be maintained in the negotiations over size.

In a letter to Speaker Pelosi, the 27 House members of the Caucus Executive Board argued that in attempts to decrease the overall cost of the Build Back Better Act, legislators lower the number of years funding is allocated for each program, rather than to trim the number of programs included. In the case for “making the President’s vision a reality,” they write: “Much has been made in recent weeks about the compromises necessary to enact this transformative agenda. We have been told that we can either adequately fund a small number of investments or legislate broadly, but only make a shallow, short-term impact. We would argue that this is a false choice.”

The lawmakers highlight four arguments for their approach:

  1. To make shorter, transformative investments: Making “robust investments over a shorter window [will] help make the case for our party’s ability to govern, and establish a track record of success that will pave the way for a long-term extension of benefits...We cannot pit childcare against housing, or paid leave against home- and community-based care.”

  2. To touch people’s lives immediately: “Where given an option, we should err on the side of structuring legislation so that benefits flow to the American people as quickly as possible, both to assist the Biden Recovery and to demonstrate our commitment to tangibly improving the lives of the American people.”

  3. To provide universal benefits to ensure lasting change: “We strongly believe that this is the moment to demonstrate to the American people that regardless of geography, race, gender, or class, Democrats believe that everyone has a right to affordable child care, pre-K, clean water, and a community college education. We can choose to strengthen the bond Americans have to one another by proposing universal social insurance benefits that broadly benefit all Americans, or we can pursue complicated methods of means testing that the wealthy and powerful will use to divide us with false narratives about ‘makers’ and ‘takers.’”

  4. To keep the President’s commitment to racial equity: “[The bill] addresses needs disproportionately felt by Black and Brown Americans, like housing, and corrects inequalities in fields of work that are primarily held by people of color, like home-based and elder care [and] addresses needs of thousands of undocumented individuals, many of whom have served as essential workers during the Covid-19 pandemic who have long been vulnerable to discrimination, labor abuses and denial of equal protection under the law due to their immigration status. If we cut those programs, we reduce the broadly transformative power of this legislation, and we once again fall behind on our promises to ensure racial equity.”

“This bill offers us a chance to fundamentally transform the relationship between the American people and their government,” they conclude.

Signatories of the letter include: Caucus Chair Rep. Pramila Jayapal (WA-07), Deputy Chair Rep. Katie Porter (CA-45), Whip Rep. Ilhan Omar (MN-05); Chairs Emeriti Rep. Raúl Grijalva (AZ-03), Rep. Barbara Lee (Ca-13), Rep. Mark Pocan (WI-02); Vice Chairs Rep. Jamie Raskin (MD-08), Rep Joe Neguse (CO-02), Rep. Marie Newman (IL-03), Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (TX-18), Rep. Donald Norcross (NJ-01), Rep. Rashida Tlaib (MI-13), Rep. David Cicilline (RI-01), Rep. Jesús “Chuy” García (IL-04), Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman (NJ-12); Deputy Whips Rep. Cori Bush (MO-01), Rep. Debbie Dingell (MI-12), Rep. Veronica Escobar (TX-16), Rep. Mondaire Jones (NY-17), Rep. Ro Khanna (CA-17), Rep. Lloyd Doggett (TX-35), Rep. Andy Levin (MI-09), Rep. Mark Takano (CA-41), Rep. Adriano Espaillat; Special Order Hour Conveners Rep. Jamaal Bowman (NY-16), Rep. Teresa Leger Fernandez (NM-03), and Executive Board Member at Large Rep. Jan Schakowsky (IL-09).

“I want to thank President Biden for his leadership and for continuing to fight for his visionary Build Back Better Act that people throughout this country want, need, and deserve. We had a very productive and necessary conversation about the urgent need to deliver the full Build Back Better agenda — not only investing in roads and bridges, but also in child care, paid leave, health care, climate action, affordable housing, and education.

“As the President has continually emphasized, as recently as this afternoon, both the infrastructure bill and the Build Back Better Act are necessary to make good on his promises to the American people. Progressives fought to get the full Biden agenda back on track, and now we are beginning negotiations to deliver it to working people, families, and our communities. By ensuring both bills move forward together, we are ensuring that we don’t leave anyone behind. We look forward to continuing this conversation and working with our colleagues in the House and Senate, Congressional leadership, and the White House to send the infrastructure bill and the Build Back Better Act to President Biden’s desk.”

WASHINGTON U.S. Representative Pramila Jayapal (WA-07), chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, issued the following statement after the 96-member coalition’s meeting about the ongoing infrastructure and Build Back Better negotiations:

“We remain fully committed to passing President Biden’s entire Build Back Better agenda and delivering the transformative change that people throughout this country urgently want, need, and deserve. Moving forward without the Build Back Better Act would put long-overdue investments in child care, paid leave, health care, affordable housing, pre-k, community college, climate action, and a roadmap to citizenship for Dreamers, TPS recipients, and essential workers at risk. Our Progressive Caucus members remain clear: we will not allow this process to be dictated by special interests and corporations at the expense of women, working families, and our communities. We will not leave anyone behind.

“This agenda is not some fringe wish list: it is the President’s agenda, the Democratic agenda, and what we all promised voters when they delivered us the House, Senate, and White House. It is supported by nearly every Democrat in Congress and is overwhelmingly backed by the American people. It was committed to in a deal among Senators when they passed the infrastructure bill in that chamber — a commitment reiterated just last week. We articulated this position more than three months ago, and today it is still unchanged: progressives will vote for both bills, but a majority of our members will only vote for the infrastructure bill after the President’s visionary Build Back Better Act passes.”

In June, the Congressional Progressive Caucus shared that, “A recent poll of our 96-member Caucus showed overwhelming support for the House not passing a bipartisan infrastructure bill unless a larger reconciliation package containing our progressive priorities moved simultaneously.” In July, the Caucus reiterated that position, saying, “a small and narrow bipartisan infrastructure bill does not have a path forward in the House of Representatives unless it has a reconciliation package, with our priorities, alongside it.”

More than a month ago, the Caucus once again confirmed that, “We will work to first pass the Build Back Better reconciliation bill so we can deliver these once-in-a-generation, popular, and urgently needed investments to poor and working families, and then pass the infrastructure bill to invest in our roads, bridges, and waterways.” The chair added, “As our members have made clear for three months, the two are integrally tied together, and we will only vote for the infrastructure bill after passing the reconciliation bill.”