Washington, D.C. – Congressional Progressive Caucus Chair Pramila Jayapal (WA-07) released the following statement on the Senate passage of the American Rescue Plan:

“The American Rescue Plan is a truly progressive and bold package that delivers on its promise to put money directly in people’s pockets and decisively crush the coronavirus’s spread, which is responsible for our economic crisis. Compared to the response to the Great Recession, this package meets the scale of this unprecedented crisis, delivering the equivalent of seven percent of GDP for the coming year – exactly what economists say is needed to jumpstart our economy and the labor market. This is a crucial down payment on the $3 to $4.5 trillion in total stimulus funding needed to fully recover from this crisis.

“The Congressional Progressive Caucus worked very hard to ensure that the package that the House passed was as bold as it needed to be, keeping the thresholds for survival checks the same, including essential funding for housing, utilities, and a child tax credit that will cut poverty in half, among other provisions. The CPC also ensured inclusion of the $15 minimum wage in the House plan to continue our pressure on the Senate to pass $15. We are proud of our efforts and know that had we not passed such a bold package in the House, the resulting bill would have been far worse.

“Importantly, despite the fact that we believe any weakening of the House provisions were bad policy and bad politics, the reality is that the final amendments were relatively minor concessions. The American Rescue Plan has retained its core bold, progressive elements originally proposed by President Joe Biden and passed in the House relief package. As 24 million Americans go hungry and 40 million Americans struggle to stay in their homes, the package provides essential aid to keep people in their homes, put food on the table, reopen our schools, ensure access to childcare, keep small businesses afloat, and more.

“We remain extremely disappointed that the minimum wage bill was not included. The minimum wage remains essential policy and we must deliver on this issue. We call on the President to lay out his plan in the coming days for providing a desperately needed raise for 32 million Americans.”

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Washington, D.C. – Congressional Progressive Chair Pramila Jayapal (WA-07) released the following statement on the passage of the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act of 2021:

“This nation was founded on white supremacy. Structural racism is embedded into our institutions and written into our laws. Nowhere is that more evident than in the persistent unequal and unjust treatment of Black Americans by law enforcement and the criminal justice system.

“Last summer, millions of Americans rose up to protest this nation’s epidemic of police brutality, which has gone unaddressed for far too long. By once again passing the Justice in Policing Act, Congress is sending a message that Black Lives Matter and we are undeterred in the fight for justice and accountability. This bill contains many provisions long fought for by the Progressive Caucus, including reforming qualified immunity for police officers, limiting transfers of military-grade equipment to local law enforcement, banning chokeholds, and creating a binding national standard for the use of force. The passage of this bill is an essential piece in the fight to dismantle institutional racism and rebuild centering justice and racial equity.

“We cannot pass this bill in the House only to see it die in the Senate. The filibuster was used for generations as a tool for white supremacists to deny civil rights and basic protections for Black Americans. Allowing the filibuster to remain on the books – and thereby dooming the most transformative civil rights legislation passed in the 21st century – would be an outrage. We urge our Senate colleagues to bring this bill for a vote and end the filibuster once and for all."

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Washington, D.C. – Congressional Progressive Caucus Chair Pramila Jayapal (WA-07) released the following statement celebrating the passage of H.R. 1, the For The People Act:

“For far too long, our political system has been held captive by billionaires, lobbyists, and special interests. Our democracy has been eroded by voter suppression and gerrymandering. And the voices of everyday families have been drowned out by an avalanche of dark money.

“Our political system can’t work for the people unless we end the corruption in Washington and expand access to the ballot box. The For the People Act is a transformational bill that would restore power to where it belongs – in the hands of the people. This bill contains many priorities that the Progressive Caucus has long advocated for. It makes our elections more fair by expanding voter registration, strengthening early voting and vote by mail programs, ending partisan gerrymandering, and preventing voter suppression. It stops billionaires and big corporations from purchasing our democracy by strengthening ethics laws and oversight, strengthening public financing programs for campaigns, and shining a light on dark money donations.

“The passage of H.R. 1, the For the People Act, is a victory for our democracy and for people across the nation who deserve to have an equal voice in our government. Now, we need the Senate to act. We cannot allow for archaic Senate procedure to derail progress and undermine our democracy – it’s past time to abolish the filibuster so we can deliver real results for the American people, starting with the For the People Act.”

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Washington, D.C. – Congressional Progressive Caucus Chair Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal (WA-07) released the following statement on the Senate Parliamentarian’s ruling on the $15 minimum wage in the budget reconciliation package:

“I disagree strongly with the Senate Parliamentarian’s advisory ruling on the $15 minimum wage. As the recent CBO report showed, this provision would have a major budgetary impact and should be eligible for the budget reconciliation package. Let’s be clear: raising the minimum wage is COVID-19 relief.

“After more than 12 years since the last federal minimum wage increase to $7.25 an hour, we cannot allow the advisory opinion of the parliamentarian and Republican obstructionism stand in the way of the promise we made to voters across this country: that we would give 27 million workers a long-overdue pay raise and lift one million people out of poverty during this economic crisis. The current federal minimum wage is a starvation wage. It keeps families trapped in poverty, erases the dignity of their work, and allows billionaires and big corporations to exploit workers. Workers need – and deserve – a federal minimum wage of $15 an hour.

“The White House and Senate leadership can and should still include the minimum wage increase in the bill. We simply cannot go back to the Black, Brown, AAPI, Indigenous, poor and working class voters who delivered us the White House and the Senate majority and tell them that an unelected parliamentarian advised us – based on arcane rules – that we could not raise the minimum wage as we promised.

“The ruling only makes it more clear than ever that the Senate must reform its archaic rules, including reforming the filibuster to allow populist and necessary policies like the $15 minimum wage to pass with a majority of the Senate.

“Raising the federal minimum wage to $15 continues to be a top priority for House progressives. We worked hard with Democratic leadership to ensure it stayed in our House relief package and we look forward to voting for a bold relief package in the coming days that raises the wage for 27 million people. We will continue working with our Senate allies and the Biden Administration to pursue every avenue available to us to deliver on our promise and guarantee a minimum wage for all workers of $15 an hour, not a cent less.”

Washington, D.C. -- Congressional Progressive Caucus Chair Pramila Jayapal (WA-07) released the following statement calling on President Biden to cancel $50,000 in student loan debt for burdened borrowers:

“45 million Americans are stuck in the student debt trap – saddled with more than $1.6 trillion in debt that prevents them from pursuing their dreams, starting families, and investing in our communities. People of color are disproportionately burdened by student loan debt, creating a vicious cycle for Black and Brown borrowers and widening the racial wealth gap.

“As part of our People’s Agenda, the Progressive Caucus identified the cancellation of $50,000 in student debt as one of our top priorities for this year. Cancelling student loan debt is not only widely supported by the American people, it’s also an economic justice and racial justice issue. It would be a boon for our economy and provide a lifeline to millions of people who were swamped with insurmountable student loan debt long before this public health and economic crisis made things even worse. This policy is popular, populist, and beneficial to our economy and working class families. This crisis affects all communities – seniors account for the fastest growing demographic of student loan holders and one in five people paying off a student loan is over the age of 50. We are glad to hear that the Biden Administration has directed the Justice Department to review his authority over student debt cancellation. We believe that President Biden's legal advisors will agree that he retains the broad authority utilized by President Obama and President Trump to freeze and forgive federal loan debt. He should take this opportunity to immediately cancel $50,000 in student loan debt for borrowers across America and provide millions with this desperately needed relief.”

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Washington, D.C. – Congressional Progressive Caucus Chair Pramila Jayapal (WA-07) released the following statement applauding President Biden’s decision to nominate Julie Su to serve as Deputy Secretary of Labor:

“President Biden has made an excellent decision in nominating a progressive champion for workers’ rights to be the Deputy Secretary of Labor. From her time fighting for full civil rights as the Litigation Director at Asian Americans Advancing Justice-Los Angeles to her dedicated public service on behalf of workers as California Labor Commissioner and then the state’s Labor Secretary, Julie Su has spent years powerfully advocating for working people, families, and a more equitable economy. I am excited to see President Biden nominate such a brilliant, talented, experienced, and progressive leader as he recognizes the wealth of contributions of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders and continues to build an administration that reflects the diversity of America.

“We know that Julie will ensure that the voices of working people are always at the table as the Department of Labor and the entire Biden Administration leads our country out of the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. That’s why the Congressional Progressive Caucus proudly worked over the last two months to urge President Biden and his administration to nominate Julie and ensure that she could contribute her exemplary service to working people across America at a pivotal moment for our nation.

“We look forward to partnering closely with Julie as we work to provide COVID-19 relief that meets the scale of the crisis, put people back to work, and give workers more power. Continuing the critical progress that Julie made in California, we will protect essential workers, expand collective bargaining and the right to unionize, and build a strong families infrastructure package by investing in the caregiving economy. We also look forward to working with Julie to support small and minority-owned businesses by providing direct assistance in the form of grants to keep people on payroll and rehire workers. Together, we must ensure that no worker, family, or small business is left behind as America recovers.”

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Washington, D.C. – Congressional Progressive Caucus Chair Pramila Jayapal (WA-07) released the following statement after working with Education & Labor Chairman Bobby Scott and Speaker Nancy Pelosi to secure the inclusion of a $15 minimum wage in the House of Representatives’ pandemic relief reconciliation package:

“In the midst of a deadly pandemic, millions of American workers are risking their lives for poverty wages that haven’t been raised in over a decade. It’s long past time for Congress to right this wrong and enact a minimum wage that allows families to live with dignity.

“The Progressive Caucus has long identified the inclusion of a $15 minimum wage as a top priority for this pandemic relief package. Today, we’re pleased to announce that, after working with Democratic leadership, we have secured the inclusion of this critical provision in the budget reconciliation package to raise wages for an estimated 27 million low-wage workers and lift nearly 1 million people out of poverty. The CPC thanks Chairman Scott, Speaker Pelosi, and Senator Sanders for working diligently with us to get this done. In the richest nation on Earth, there’s no excuse to pay workers a poverty wage – every job has dignity and every worker deserves a livable wage.”

The Progressive Caucus was the first caucus to support a $15 minimum wage, with the introduction of the Pay Workers A Living Wage Act in 2015.

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Washington, D.C. – Congressional Progressive Caucus Chair Pramila Jayapal (WA-07) released the following statement on the announcement from the Biden Administration that the U.S. will end its involvement in the conflict in Yemen, a long-standing priority for the Congressional Progressive Caucus:

“President Biden’s decision to end U.S. participation in the brutal war in Yemen is a long overdue step towards peace. The Progressive Caucus has spent the last several years calling for an end to our involvement in this humanitarian atrocity, as the Yemeni people have endured unimaginable suffering at the hands of the Saudi-Emirati coalition. Last Congress, the Progressive Caucus fought for and was successful in passing a bipartisan Yemen War Powers Resolution in both chambers of Congress, which was later vetoed by President Trump despite the objections of national security experts, human rights organizations, and members of both parties.

“We applaud President Biden for listening to the consensus from the national security and human rights communities and ending U.S. support for these atrocities. But far more must still be done to address the human suffering in the region. The United States is partially responsible for the fact that 80 percent of the Yemeni population requires humanitarian aid. As we end our role in this conflict, we must redouble our efforts to facilitate peace in the region and provide the humanitarian aid that is so desperately needed. The Progressive Caucus will continue to champion robust investments in diplomacy while fighting to cut the bloated, ever-increasing Pentagon budget that fuels endless wars.”

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Washington, D.C. – Congressional Progressive Caucus Chair Pramila Jayapal (WA-07) released the following statement on the passage of H. Con. Res. 11, the FY 2021 Budget Resolution to expedite pandemic relief for millions of Americans:

“This is a moment for urgency and action. This week, House Democrats took the first critical step towards passing an ambitious and aggressive COVID-19 relief bill that will rescue our economy, prevent mass suffering, and help families and communities weather this crisis.

“We know the enormity of the challenges we face, which is why the Progressive Caucus has consistently — from the beginning of the pandemic — called for bold and expansive legislation that meets the scale of this crisis. The budget resolution passed last night is a strong framework and we look forward to passing a robust relief bill that ends this pandemic and keeps families afloat. We cannot afford a repeat of the jobless recovery from the Great Recession which cost millions of people – disproportionately low-income families and people of color – their homes, livelihoods and savings.

“As we move forward, the Progressive Caucus has identified five priorities to strengthen the proposed pandemic relief package. First, it is essential that this package increases the minimum wage to $15 an hour. Our current minimum wage is an abhorrent, immoral poverty wage – and it’s particularly shameful that frontline workers are being asked to risk their lives in a pandemic while being denied a decent, livable wage. Second, we support expanding access to health care by automatically enrolling the unemployed, uninsured, and their dependents in public plans like Medicare and Medicaid. Third, given the enormous toll this pandemic has taken on our states, municipalities, tribes, and territories, which are on the frontlines in combating this pandemic and vaccinating the public, we also support increasing aid to those governments. Fourth, we want to ensure that our relief is inclusive of and open to all communities, regardless of immigration status. Lastly, we strongly support robust payments to families to keep them afloat for the duration of the pandemic, both in the form of survival checks as well as through the child tax credit proposal which would cut child poverty in half.

“We look forward to working with House leadership and our allies in the Senate and the White House to pass this urgently-needed relief bill, rescue our economy, and fulfill our promise to the American people.”

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Washington, D.C. – Today, the Executive Board of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, led by Chair Pramila Jayapal (WA-07) and Deputy Chair Katie Porter (CA-45), sent a letter to Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer reiterating the strong progressive support for a urgent and ambitious pandemic relief package of no less than $1.9 trillion.

“With the economy in crisis, rock-bottom interest rates, and no sign of inflation, the economic consensus is clear: the best hope for the economy is a massive public investment to create jobs, raise wages, and keep people out of poverty,” the letter notes. “If we aim too low, the financial consequences will be catastrophic, long-lasting, and borne by the American families who can least afford it.”

“President Biden’s rescue package, which comes in at $1.9 trillion, is a critical first step meeting the economic need, but if anything, it doesn’t go far enough. Congress should be building off of this opening offer, not weakening it. Given the clear economic consensus and urgent need for government spending, we are deeply concerned that lawmakers – including a handful in our own party – are advocating to scale back the President’s rescue package,” the letter continues. “Deficit-financed investments, especially those targeted toward poor, working-class, and middle-class communities, will drive broad-based economic growth. Manufactured concerns about the debt will only get in the way of urgently-needed action and delay relief for millions of families.”

The letter was signed by 25 members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus Executive Board. The full letter is available here.

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