WASHINGTON — Congressional Progressive Caucus Chair Pramila Jayapal (WA-07) released the following statement after the Reforming Intelligence and Securing America Act, legislation to reauthorize Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), passed the House of Representatives.

“Today is a sad day, where the Congress failed to prioritize Americans’ right to privacy and stop warrantless surveillance from intelligence agencies. The Reforming Intelligence and Securing America Act that GOP leadership put on the floor today does not meaningfully protect our constituents’ constitutional rights.  

“The CPC has had a longstanding position that we must reform Section 702 in order to prevent warrantless surveillance of Americans. Along with House Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Jerry Nadler (NY-12) and Rep. Zoe Lofgren (CA-18), we worked in a bipartisan way to craft a bill that did exactly this. That bill included critical reforms, including the simple requirement to obtain a warrant to surveil Americans, and passed the Judiciary committee with a 35-2 vote. 

“GOP leadership, along with intelligence community leaders on both sides of the aisle, worked hard to prevent the bill from coming to the floor. Despite that, a bipartisan coalition was able to ensure that we vote on the critical bipartisan amendment I introduced with Reps. Biggs (R-AZ), Nadler (D-NY), Davidson (R-OH), Lofgren (D-CA), and Jordan (R-OH) to require federal agencies to obtain a warrant before searching Americans’ private communications in the Section 702 database. The CPC also took a formal position to endorse the amendment, which requires two-thirds support from the membership. Very unfortunately, that amendment failed by a tie vote of 212-212.

“Since FISA was enacted, government agencies have consistently misused Section 702. In 2022 alone, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) used this authority more than 200,000 times to search Americans’ data without a warrant. Section 702 has been used to warrantlessly search the private communications of racial justice protestors, political activists, a state court judge who reported civil rights violations by a local police chief, immigrants, people of ‘Middle Eastern descent,’ and even sitting members of Congress. These warrantless searches violate Americans’ civil rights, civil liberties, and their Fourth Amendment right to privacy. 

“I am incredibly proud of every member, Democratic and Republican, who stood up to the pressure and misinformation surrounding my bipartisan amendment. This tied vote was the closest we have ever come to ensuring the protection of privacy rights of all Americans — and that fight will continue.”

WASHINGTON — Following a survey of its members, the Congressional Progressive Caucus announced the CPC’s support of the bipartisan amendment to ban warrantless surveillance of Americans’ communications in legislation reauthorizing the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) as its formal position.

In accordance with Caucus bylaws, this was adopted after a vote of the membership, with more than two-thirds voting in favor of taking a formal position to support the warrant amendment.

Although FISA is intended to authorize federal agencies to gather information from foreigners’ communications, the government admits it is using the law to search Americans' private communications — including internet activity, phone records, and texts — without a warrant. The bipartisan amendment, introduced by Reps. Biggs (R-AZ), Jayapal (D-WA), Nadler (D-NY), Davidson (R-OH), Lofgren (D-CA), and Jordan (R-OH), would target this abuse and require federal agencies to obtain a warrant before searching U.S. persons’ communications in the Section 702 database. With exceptions for the most pressing cases, this amendment would codify essential protections for Americans’ Fourth Amendment rights. 

In 2022 alone, the FBI exploited Section 702 more than 200,000 times to search for Americans' data, circumventing the Fourth Amendment and betraying public trust. These searches unjustly targeted individuals, including Members of Congress, 141 Black Lives Matter protesters, 19,000 donors to a congressional campaign, a local political party, tens of thousands of people involved in “civil unrest,” visitors to FBI offices, and individuals based solely on their race. The House has voted multiple times to end this practice of performing backdoor searches on Americans with strong bipartisan support. Requiring the government to obtain a warrant before searching Section 702 data for Americans’ communications is supported by 76 percent of Americans.

Last year, the CPC endorsed Rep. Lofgren’s Government Reform and Surveillance Act (H.R. 6262), which would dramatically curb abuse and protect Americans’ civil liberties.

WASHINGTON — Representative Pramila Jayapal (WA-07), Chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, issued the following statement on a set of new initiatives announced today that build on the Biden administration’s efforts to cancel student debt:

“I applaud this historic set of rules that will cancel student debt for millions of Americans and promise to bring the total number of borrowers who’ve received relief from this administration up to more than 30 million. The proposals announced today target borrowers who have been financially burdened by their student loans and people who have been carrying this debt for decades, eliminating accrued interest for 23 million borrowers and providing 10 million with $5,000 or more in debt relief. Four million borrowers will see their student debt completely canceled.

“When the Supreme Court struck down the President’s plan for nationwide, universal student debt relief, borrowers, activists, and progressives in Congress organized for a new plan from the Biden administration. In the aftermath of that decision, we stressed the urgency of finding other avenues to provide this desperately needed relief. I am thrilled President Biden and his administration continue to meet the moment and use his existing statutory authority to cancel student debt. This plan advances economic justice, delivering for the 40 percent of borrowers who didn’t finish their degree, the majority of borrowers who have no household wealth, and people of color.  

“Progressives were the earliest and loudest champions of student debt cancellation, and this President is delivering — despite Republican obstruction. We are proud to continue our partnership with the Biden administration on its implementation of this and other pathways to cancellation.”

The new proposed rule is responsive to asks made by Chair 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 and builds on the tireless advocacy of CPC members including Representatives Maxine Waters (CA-43) and Alma Adams (NC-12). 

They include proposed rules to: 

  • Automatically cancel up to $20,000 of interest on loans for individuals making less than $120,000 per year who are enrolled in affordability programs like the SAVE Program or the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) Program, enrollment in which will speed the delivery of relief;

  • Cancel debt for borrowers who've been enrolled in repayment for 20 years for undergraduate loans and 25 for graduate school loans; 

  • Cancel debt for borrowers who took out loans for programs that have yielded low financial reward; and,

  • Cancel debt for borrowers who have or will experience financial hardship as a result of their student debt.

WASHINGTON — Representative Pramila Jayapal (WA-07), Chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, issued the following statement applauding the Federal Communications Commission’s vote to end Trump-era attacks on net neutrality and reestablish open internet protections:

“I am thrilled to see Chair Rosenworcel and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) will use their power to undo the harm caused by the Trump administration and reinstate the 2015 Open Internet Order.

“That 2015 order enshrined the policy of ‘net neutrality’ into law and prevented large corporate internet service providers from throttling internet speeds, favoring or blocking certain types of online content, or engaging in other types of anti-competitive behavior. The Trump-era decision to overturn those protections left online consumers at the mercy of special and corporate interests and allowed wealthy corporations to consolidate power. In the years since, internet companies have rigged access to what has become a fundamental public utility with pay-to-play schemes.

“The reestablishment net neutrality fulfills long standing progressive policy objectives, including in our CPC Executive Action Agenda. Americans have a right to a free, open internet. They have a right to net neutrality. Those rights will finally be restored.”

The Congressional Progressive Caucus was one of the first voices to call for Title II reclassification and strong enforceable net neutrality protections in 2014. The passage of the 2015 Save the Net Act was the culmination of a years-long Congressional campaign spearheaded by the Progressive Caucus in solidarity with activists, organizers, innovators, small business owners, and everyday families.

WASHINGTON — Representative Pramila Jayapal (WA-07), Chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, issued the following statement in response to CPC Chair Emeritus Representative Raúl Grijalva (AZ-07)’s announcement of his cancer diagnosis:

“My heart goes out to Representative Grijalva, his family, loved ones, and staff as they process the difficult news of the Congressman’s cancer diagnosis. As a Chair Emeritus of the CPC, Rep. Grijalva is an invaluable part of our Caucus and a cherished member of the progressive movement family. He has been instrumental in advancing environmental justice, including to ensure that frontline communities receive the support they deserve, and immigrant justice, never failing to stand up for the humanity and dignity of immigrant communities in his border state of Arizona. I know the entire Progressive Caucus membership joins me in sending our best wishes for health and healing to Rep. Grijalva as he and his family navigate treatment.”

WASHINGTON — Representative Pramila Jayapal (WA-07), Chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, issued the following statement on letters from the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC), the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC), and the Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC), collectively known as the Tri-Caucus, to corporations on their diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) commitments:

“Across the country, workplace Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) positions and departments created in the wake of the summer 2020 uprising for racial justice are being rolled back and defunded. At this time, our Tri-Caucus colleagues’ efforts to ensure accountability is more important than ever.

“Progressives are proud to support the Tri-Caucus call for Corporate America to uphold the diversity commitments they made in 2020: to reaffirm the companies’ dedication to those values, articulate their plans for delivering on that commitment, and to work with members of the Tri-Caucus to close the racial wealth gap. For these companies — some of the largest employers and wealth creators in the country — diversity, equity, and inclusion must be more than website buzzwords, recruiting tactics, or public relations maneuvers. People of color contribute to our communities, deliver in our workplaces, and are integral to the success of this economy. We look forward to continuing to partner with our Tri-Caucus colleagues to ensure that that is recognized with results.”

WASHINGTON — Representative Pramila Jayapal (WA-07), Chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, issued the following statement on new action from the Biden administration to cancel nearly $6 billion in student debt and ensure relief for borrowers enrolled in the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program:

“The President gets it. Today, thousands more borrowers are finally able to imagine life after student debt.

“After the Supreme Court struck down his plan for nationwide, universal student debt relief, he and Secretary Cardona got to work. They’ve been relentless in the pursuit of other avenues to help the millions of Americans burdened by student debt. Today’s new action means that commitment has resulted in nearly $144 billion in debt canceled for about four million borrowers. With the administration’s fixes to the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program, teachers, nurses, firefighters, and others in public service will see their relief sooner and can finally start putting their hard-earned income towards buying homes, investing in their communities, and taking care of their families. 

“Progressives were the earliest and loudest champions of student debt cancellation, and this President is delivering — despite Republican blocking. We are proud to continue our partnership with this administration on its implementation of this and other pathways to cancellation.”

WASHINGTON — Representative Pramila Jayapal (WA-07), Chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, issued the following statement on the final rule from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on car and truck emissions:

“I’m thrilled to see EPA’s final rule to curb emissions from cars and trucks. This action adds to an exciting and bold track record from the agency, which during the Biden administration has aggressively implemented its regulatory power to tackle the climate crisis, reduce pollution, and protect our health.

“Today’s new rule was part of our 2023 CPC Executive Action Agenda for a simple but essential reason: the U.S. is one of the world’s leading carbon polluters, and so we must be one of the leaders in taking on emissions. This new rule meets that challenge, cutting C02 emissions by 7.2 billion metric tons by 2055. It will also lower the costs of fuel and vehicle maintenance while providing automakers the flexibility to follow the new standards in the way that best serves their customers. And it will save lives, preventing up to 2,500 premature deaths in 2055.

“I applaud President Biden and Administrator Regan for their unyielding commitment to climate action and for exercising the full power of the EPA to put that commitment into practice. Progressives look forward to continuing to work with the administration to implement this and future climate-saving initiatives.”

WASHINGTON — Ahead of the Federal Reserve’s Board of Governors Federal Open Markets Committee meeting, 23 members of the House and Senate, led by the Congressional Progressive Caucus, call on Chairman Jerome Powell to quickly present a plan to start lowering interest rates that continue to squeeze working people.

In a new letter the lawmakers write, “With core inflation already having come into line with the Federal Reserve’s target, today’s excessively contractionary monetary policy needlessly worsens housing market imbalances and the unaffordability of home ownership, creates risks for banking stability, and could threaten the achievements of strong employment and wage growth and its attendant reductions in economic and racial inequalities.”

“The American economy recovered from COVID because congressional Democrats and President Biden partnered to invest in workers over corporations and created paths to economic security for people who had been locked out before,” said Representative Pramila Jayapal (WA-07), Chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus. “Unnecessarily high rates put all that at risk. They will only punish everyday Americans: exacerbating the housing crisis, hindering the deployment of clean energy, and throwing the future of the Biden recovery into uncertainty, while threatening the wages and jobs that our communities depend on. It’s past time for the Fed to end this squeeze on working- and middle-class families.”

The Federal Reserve has increased interest rates 11 times since March 2022 despite clear evidence that inflation has cooled to within the Fed’s target range, contradicting its argument for suppressing employment and worker pay and keeping mortgages high and loans unaffordable. 

The members write, “The data over the last year also provide evidence that we may be on a faster productivity growth path, which will further alleviate inflationary pressures. None of these indicators correspond with an overly strong labor market that could threaten to spike inflation. The more realistic concern in light of these labor-market trends is that the Federal Reserve may wait too long to lower rates and allow tight monetary policy to reduce employment and real wage growth.”

The impact of the Fed’s decision is particularly acute amidst a nationwide housing crisis. As the lawmakers emphasize,“the housing market is facing major imbalances and making homeownership unaffordable due to persistently high interest rates. New housing starts have fallen almost 20 percent from their April 2022 level. Existing home sales have fallen to a 30-year low.”

Representative Jayapal added, “The Congressional Progressive Caucus has invited Chairman Powell to meet with our members to discuss the agency’s monetary policy and we hope the Chairman will join us in the near future.

The full letter can be found here.

Signatories include: Senators Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA); Representatives Pramila Jayapal (WA-07), Becca Balint (VT-AL), Nannette Barragán (CA-44), Jamaal Bowman, Ed.D. (NY-16), Greg Casar (TX-35), Steve Cohen (TN-09), Veronica Escobar (TX-16), Jésus “Chuy” García (IL-04), Jonathan Jackson (IL-01), Steven Horsford (NV-04), Val Hoyle (OR-04), Jared Huffman (CA-02), Barbara Lee (CA-12), James P. McGovern (MA-02), Jerrold Nadler (NY-12), Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (NY-14), Ayanna Pressley (MA-07), Delia Ramírez (IL-03), Rashida Tlaib (MI-12), Juan Vargas (CA-52), and Frederica Wilson (FL-24).

WASHINGTON — Representative Pramila Jayapal (WA-07), Chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, issued the following statement on the anniversary of the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank:

“One year ago, Silicon Valley Bank’s collapse became the second largest bank failure in U.S. history. While the bank's wealthy depositors were made whole almost immediately, the systemic failures that allowed the collapse in the first place still have not been addressed.

“Silicon Valley Bank’s collapse was the predictable and direct outcome of a furious 2018 effort by bank lobbyists to evade basic oversight, transparency, and financial stability in favor of profit. 

“This anniversary is an opportunity to course correct across the federal government. The Senate must pass Senator Sherrod Brown’s bipartisan ‘Recovering Executive Compensation Obtained from Unaccountable Practices (RECOUP) Act’ to hold the executives of failed banks accountable for their misconduct and claw back their compensation. The Federal Reserve, OCC, and FDIC must strengthen capital requirements to decrease risk throughout the banking system, protect American taxpayers’ money, and ensure that no bank is ‘too big to fail.’ Lastly, as progressives advocated in our 2023 Executive Action Agenda, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) must advance strong rulemaking to curb incentive-based compensation arrangements at financial firms that encourage excessive and inappropriate risk-taking.

“Progressives will continue, as we always have, to demand a rewrite of the rules of a rigged economy so that working families can bank with peace of mind and bank executives are held accountable for reckless behavior and profiteering.”