WASHINGTON — Representative Pramila Jayapal (WA-07), Chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, issued the following statement responding to President Biden’s 2024 State of the Union address:

“President Biden’s first term has been marked by a singular understanding of how we build an economy and a country for everyone. Tonight, I was proud to hear him lift up the powerful results of that agenda, the opportunity it has created, and rally communities across the nation with a proposition agenda that we can deliver with Democrats in power.

“Progressives have been proud to partner with the President and his administration on a bold, populist economic agenda, and I was thrilled to hear that highlighted so prominently tonight. He addressed the need to raise wages and lower costs, particularly of housing and child care as the two biggest inflationary costs squeezing families, and protect Social Security and Medicare. He lifted up the power of promoting competition, the critical role that unions play in all our families’ ability to live with dignity, and the need to support workers. The economic success of this presidency is real — with more than 15 million jobs created, the lowest unemployment in decades, and real wages rising — but too many working- and middle-class people still aren’t feeling those gains. That’s why I was so pleased to hear the President rightly name the villain in this story — the wealthy corporations raking in record profits while continuing to raise prices on consumers and the ultra-rich who aren’t paying their fair share in taxes — and insist that we right those imbalances going forward.  

“One of President Biden’s strengths is his commitment to protecting both Americans’ rights and freedoms and ensuring their economic security, which was on full display in this speech. As one of the one in four women in this country who’s had an abortion, I appreciate his commitment to restoring Roe while naming that the attacks on IVF and emergency care are connected, and that the fight for reproductive freedom must continue. He seized the platform to continue to press Congress on passing nationwide voting rights protections, because the future of our democracy depends on it. He lifted up the historic investments his administration has made on climate action and committed to continue that work. I was proud to hear the President talk about humane immigration reform and was deeply moved by his inclusive message about how America is a nation of immigrants.

“The path forward is clear. The President and his administration must continue to take bold executive action to deliver immediate, tangible results for the American people. Democrats in Congress must continue to lift up this bold, populist, inclusive agenda and remind our constituents of Democrats’ values and priorities for when we are in power. As always, progressives in Congress and our movement allies will organize, advocate, and build power to continue the progress we’ve made and bring about this change our communities desperately need.”

WASHINGTON — Representative Pramila Jayapal (WA-07), Chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, issued the following statement applauding a new final rule from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) limiting credit card late fees at eight dollars:

“We are thrilled to celebrate another pro-consumer, corporate accountability move from the CFPB.

“Excessive credit card fees are a perfect example of the kind of junk fees that slowly but surely increase the cost of living. They are designed to make banks money and punish people for not being able to pay their bills — like overdraft fees, which the CFPB also cut earlier this year. Unnecessary and punitive hits on credit — like the inclusion of medical debt, which the CFPB banned in fall 2023 — prohibit people from being able to get a loan for their small business, buy a car, or find a home.

“Director Chopra and his team have shown a keen understanding of what it takes to succeed in today’s economy and relentless drive to make that success attainable for middle- and working-class people. The CPC looks forward to continuing to partner with the agency on the implementation of this rule, alongside its other pro-consumer economic justice policies.”

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.”