WASHINGTON — Representative Pramila Jayapal (WA-07), Chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, issued the following statement on the Biden administration’s draft guidance to exercise “march-in” rights, which empower the government to authorize cheaper generic options for expensive patented drugs developed with taxpayer funds:

“The new framework shows the Biden administration continues to be concerned about the outrageous prescription drug costs that burden American families across the country. Progressives have long fought for federal action to lower prescription drug costs, including in the 117th Congress, in our 2022 Executive Action Agenda, and in our 2023 Agenda released this March. If the final policy is strong, Democrats would be able to add it to a powerful list of reforms — including capping the cost of insulin at $35/month and capping seniors’ out of pocket drug costs — that make a real difference in middle- and working-class people’s lives. 

“While we appreciate the administration’s work to address this issue from our Executive Action Agenda, we are concerned that this rule needs to be strengthened and given teeth or it will not fulfill the full promise of march-in rights. The guidance acknowledges that the high cost of drugs should be a factor in the government's determination of whether to employ its march-in authorities, but it does not provide sufficient grounds to actually take on Big Pharma's corporate profiteering or the egregious drug pricing schemes that force people to ration prescriptions, travel to Canada for lower prices, or go without life saving medication."

“As the Biden administration finalizes this guidance, progressives will be looking for key changes to strengthen it. First, the guidance must meaningfully take on Big Pharma’s price gouging that forces Americans to pay two to four times the price for the same drug as in neighboring countries. This is egregious conduct on Big Pharma’s part and that conduct should be clearly defined. Second, it should ensure the benefits of publicly funded research and development for new drugs go back to the taxpayer, rather than to line the pockets of pharmaceutical corporations. Third, the administration must instruct federal agencies to license affordable generic alternatives to prohibitively expensive drugs such as Xtandi, which is used to treat prostate cancer. These reforms must be applied as broadly as possible, without unnecessary restrictions that limit agencies’ power, and enforce real accountability mechanisms for Big Pharma when it tries to evade these requirements. 

“It is far past time we use every tool available to lower the costs of prescription drugs and ensure life saving medications are available and affordable for the people who need them most. The Progressive Caucus looks forward to being deeply engaged with the Commerce Department and the Department of Health and Human Services throughout the comment process to create policy with the greatest impact possible.”

WASHINGTON — As Americans face a nationwide housing crisis, the Chairs of leading congressional caucuses are calling for federal action to protect people’s rights and stop rent price-gouging.

Representatives Pramila Jayapal (WA-07), Chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus; Nanette Barragán (CA-44), Chair of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus; Judy Chu (CA-28), Chair of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus; and Steven Horsford (NV-04), Chair of the Congressional Black Caucus called for action from the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), the independent agency tasked with ensuring fairness in housing lending and protecting renters. 

“Renters across the nation are in crisis: high rents and rent hikes put America’s lowest-income and most marginalized renters at risk of losing their homes,” the lawmakers wrote in a letter to FHFA Director Sandra L. Johnson. “Rent inflation continues to be a driver of overall inflation…[and] nearly half of all renters spent more than a third of their income on rent in the previous year, an all-time high for our nation.”

The Caucus Chairs emphasize that the urgency is not limited to rent costs: “Eviction filings are climbing to even higher rates than before the pandemic. In the worst cases, individuals and families are being forced into homelessness, living in tents, cars, or shelters and severely devastating families with children, and older adults. The rent inflation crisis is an issue of racial and economic justice. Black, Hispanic, and Asian American renters are more likely to be severely cost burdened than white renters.”

The members called for six key reforms:

  1. Anti-rent gouging protections to stop landlords from rent hikes.

  2. “Good cause” eviction standards to safeguard against unfair, discriminatory, and retaliatory evictions. 

  3. Source of income protections to prohibit landlords from discriminating against
    households receiving housing assistance.

  4. Habitability and accessibility requirements to ensure housing is safe, decent,
    accessible, and healthy.

  5. Rental registry participation requirements so tenants are adequately informed about their landlord before signing a lease.

  6. Limits on artificial intelligence to curb rent spikes, prevent tenant discrimination, and reduce other unintended consequences.

“These protections are necessary — along with large-scale, sustained investments that only Congress can provide — to ensure that the lowest-income and most marginalized renters have an affordable place to call home,” the Chairs conclude.

The letter follows the CPC 2023 Executive Action Agenda, which called on the Biden administration to use its executive authority to combat rent price gouging and unfair evictions by landlords, expand access to affordable housing and lower rent costs, and prohibit tenant discrimination.

WASHINGTON — Following a vote of the 103-member Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC), the Caucus endorsed the Government Surveillance Reform Act (GSRA). 

The bill, led by CPC member Representative Zoe Lofgren (CA-18), reauthorizes Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) for four years, allowing intelligence agencies to continue to use the authorities granted by that law, but with significant new protections against documented abuses and new accountability measures when abuses occur. Those reforms include: requiring law enforcement to secure a warrant before searching U.S. individuals' data, outlawing law enforcement purchase of U.S. individuals' data from brokers without a warrant, and prohibiting the monitoring of foreign individuals outside the U.S. as a pretext to surveil U.S. persons within the country, known as "reverse targeting.”

“Progressives are proud defenders of civil liberties, and I am proud that the CPC is endorsing the Government Surveillance Reform Act in this key moment in the fight to reform FISA,” said Rep. Pramila Jayapal (WA-07), Chair of the CPC. “As the Intelligence Community continues to conduct backdoor searches and spy on Americans at an alarming scale, we must stand up and defend the privacy of people across the country. This legislation would do just that by overhauling privacy protections. It’s time for every member who claims to care about civil liberties to join Rep. Lofgren’s legislation and defend Americans’ Fourth Amendment rights.”

“It is encouraging and important that the Congressional Progressive Caucus is formally endorsing the most significant legislation to overhaul surveillance laws in nearly half a century – the Government Surveillance Reform Act (GSRA). We can curb surveillance abuses and uphold Americans’ Fourth Amendment rights while being kept safe,” said Rep. Zoe Lofgren, co-author of the GSRA, a senior member of the House Judiciary Committee, and the co-founder and co-chair of the Fourth Amendment Caucus. “Part of being progressive means being supportive or open to legislation that helps our country evolve for the better. It is smart progressive policy to support the GSRA before Congress considers greenlighting another major surveillance reauthorization.” 

Many of the GRSA’s key provisions were passed by the House Judiciary Committee as part of the historic bipartisan H.R. 6570, the Protect Liberty and End Warrantless Surveillance Act, under the leadership of CPC members Reps Jayapal, Lofgren, and House Judiciary Ranking Member Jerrold Nadler (NY-12). 

Other FISA reforms the GSRA would codify include: 

  • Ending "abouts" collection: The bill terminates the practice of gathering non-U.S. citizens’ communications that merely reference U.S. persons, curbing mass, warrantless surveillance of Americans.
  • Enhancing oversight and accountability: The bill stipulates stricter auditing, reporting, and redress processes, promoting responsibility and transparency across intelligence activities.
  • Curtailing overreach in Section 702 data use: The bill ensures that data collected under Section 702 is not used in criminal or civil cases unless directly connected to national security threats, thus avoiding its application in unrelated legal contexts.
  • Halting warrantless collection of business records: The bill enhances the personal data security of working individuals by disallowing warrantless surveillance of businesses.
  • Establishing oversight of the Executive Branch: The bill creates statutory safeguards and prohibits warrantless searches of Americans’ information collected pursuant to Executive Order 12333, to put an end to overly broad surveillance of Americans under Executive Order 12333.

WASHINGTON — Representative Pramila Jayapal (WA-07), Chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, issued the following statement applauding the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)’s new final rule on methane emissions:

“We’re thrilled to see President Biden and his administration continue to take the climate crisis seriously. This new rule — directly responsive to our CPC Executive Action Agenda — shows the EPA is aggressively using its rulemaking authority to enforce the Clean Air Act. 

“Methane is one of the most dangerous greenhouse gas emissions that is responsible for a third of the warming of our planet. These new standards will not only reduce that harmful pollutant, but also help prevent the equivalent 1.5 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide from being released into our air – nearly as much as all the carbon dioxide emitted by the power sector in 2021. Limiting methane emissions from oil and gas sources will improve air quality, reduce life-threatening pollution, and make a real difference in our fight for climate action. The EPA’s new policy is also essential for environmental justice, ensuring that the communities who bear the worst of pollution and climate change — often low-income communities and communities of color whose health and safety have been neglected — will see clearer air and live healthier lives.

“The CPC looks forward to continuing to work with Administrator Regan and the EPA team to ensure the new rule is implemented with equity and impact at the forefront.”

WASHINGTON — Representatives Pramila Jayapal (WA-07), Chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC); Ilhan Omar (MN-05), CPC Deputy Chair; and Greg Casar (TX-35), CPC Whip issued the following statement after an internal Congressional Progressive Caucus member survey in which of the vast majority of the 103 members responded. A majority of those respondents said they would oppose a supplemental budget agreement that gives into Republican demands to further damage our broken immigration system by undermining asylum protection, reinstating Trump-era transit bans, and severely restricting the administration’s parole authorities. The remainder of members indicated they were undecided, with virtually no members actively supporting the proposal.

“As Congress returns this week to consider the President’s emergency supplemental funding request for international aid and increased border funding, Republicans are still trying to force their anti-immigrant policies into the legislation. Progressives are clear: we will not play this game.

“House Republicans are trying the same strategy that continues to fail: hold Congress hostage to force their cruel, extreme, and unworkable agenda because they can’t pass it through the regular legislative process. This is the strategy that brought us to the brink of economic default and two government shutdowns. Proposed policies would destroy our U.S. asylum system and endanger immigrant lives while making the situation at the border worse, not better. 

“Progressives have fought for decades in Congress to advance comprehensive immigration policy that would uphold U.S. and international law, respect the humanity and dignity of those seeking refuge in this country, and strengthen the U.S. economy. We have passed common sense legislation with bipartisan majorities. Our members are prepared to work with any colleague who wants to advance thoughtful, holistic, and relevant reforms to create a roadmap to citizenship, increase the efficiency of our asylum system, and more — but this extortion is not going to work. 

“Progressives reject Republicans’ cynical attempt to imperil the lives of people seeking safety to pass this supplemental funding bill. We call on our Senate Democratic colleagues to stand up for immigrants and the allied communities who sent us to Congress and show Republican extremism for what it is by moving forward an aid package without new anti-immigrant policies.”

WASHINGTON — Representative Pramila Jayapal (WA-07), Chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, issued the following statement commending the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)’s new proposed rule to get dangerous lead out of the country’s water drinking systems:

“The Progressive Caucus is thrilled to applaud the new proposed rule from the Biden Administration to get the lead out and ensure clean drinking water for families across the country.

“This new rule will put the United States on track to locate and replace all lead pipes in the next decade, an endeavor that is critical for public health and will create thousands of good-paying, union jobs. It includes strengthened protections for communities that have been particularly impacted by pollution and climate change — often low-income neighborhoods and communities of color whose health and safety have been neglected — in an essential move for environmental justice. The proposal is also the third EPA regulatory action to take on pollution and improve public health following rulemaking on fossil fuel-fired power plants and emissions — all of which the Progressive Caucus advocated for as part of our 2023 Executive Action Agenda

“We celebrate the tenacity of movement organizing: activists across the country who have fought tirelessly for clean water as a human right and progressives in Congress, including CPC members and Get The Lead Out Caucus co-chairs Representatives Rashida Tlaib (MI-12) and Lisa Blunt Rochester (DE-AL) and Representatives Debbie Dingell (MI-06), Sylvia Garcia (TX-29), Sara Jacobs (CA-51), and Mary Gay Scanlon (PA-05).

“I look forward to continuing to work with the Biden administration to advance environmental justice, take climate action, and invest in working families.”

WASHINGTON — Representative Pramila Jayapal (WA-07), Chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, issued the following statement on the passage of another continuing resolution to keep the government open:

“Once again, House Democrats’ unity and commitment to governing defeated Republicans’ cruel, extreme, and unworkable agenda. Republicans were forced again to retreat from their relentless attacks on public education, abortion, the LGBTQ community, climate and more and withdraw their wish list of extreme policies and cuts to vital programs. Democrats have prevented a government shutdown and protected the funding our communities rely on.

“It’s shameful, but not surprising, that the Republican House majority could not scrape together the votes from its own members to keep the government open and protect low-wage federal contractors’ paychecks. Instead of learning from their past failures, House Republicans are still trying to pass legislation — which has no chance of becoming law — that would take teachers out of classrooms, kick poor families off rental assistance, and cut vital investments in low-income communities all so they can criminalize abortion and make it easier for the wealthy to cheat on their taxes.

“We will need to remain vigilant. Republicans may continue trying to force that agenda on the American people, but the CPC is ready. Progressives stand shoulder to shoulder with our Democratic colleagues, and we will never back down in the face of these threats to working families.”

WASHINGTON — Representative Pramila Jayapal (WA-07), Chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, issued the following statement on the new proposed rule from the Biden administration’s Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to address predatory Medicare Advantage plans:

“Progressives in Congress have long fought to end the predation of corporate health care and we welcome this step from the Biden administration to address some elements of Medicare Advantage, one of the worst offenders in attempting to privatize Medicare and harm care for seniors. The new proposed rule includes some important safeguards that would protect our seniors’ health and their wallets, including addressing predatory marketing of Medicare Advantage plans and ensuring fair competition. The rule also adds new requirements for coverage of mental health and substance use care and increases transparency on how Medicare Advantage’s harmful practices, like preauthorization and restricted networks, impact underserved communities. 

“However, the most important piece to ensuring these rules are followed is the enforcement of these rules and ensuring meaningful penalties that discourage predatory behavior. The proposed rule does not include any of these enforcement or increased penalty provisions to hold Medicare Advantage plans accountable, and we believe this is essential to achieve the results that the rule intends to achieve. The companies operating these plans are making billions off of our seniors annually and they’re not going to give up easily. 

“We know that Medicare Advantage plans run by these private insurance companies seek to lure in unsuspecting seniors, making enormous profits from their pain, and ultimately offer far inferior care to traditional Medicare. By holding these Medicare Advantage plans accountable, we will also bring in the resources needed to expand traditional Medicare and provide the kinds of care that seniors need and deserve. Privatized health care is always going to put profits over people’s health, and the best coverage will always be universal coverage. As we continue the fight for Medicare For All, we must seize every opportunity to expand access to health care in the current system and reject every attempt by corporate entities to defraud and steal from our families.”

WASHINGTON — Representatives Pramila Jayapal (WA-07), Chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus and Ranking Member of the Immigration Integrity, Security, and Enforcement Subcommittee; Nanette Barragán (CA-44), Chair of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus; Judy Chu (CA-28), Chair of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus; and Steven Horsford (NV-04), Chair of the Congressional Black Caucus issued the following statement on reported Senate negotiations around border funding in the government’s FY2024 Appropriations package: 

We raise our strong opposition to any emergency supplemental funding bill that seeks to establish new immigration and border policy or authorities. Democrats have rebuilt the legal pathways torn down by the last administration and have advanced bipartisan bills through the House that we would like to see pass the Senate and be signed into law. However, trying to appease Republicans with bad border policy attached to critical emergency spending or a continuing resolution will not work and is completely inappropriate. If Republicans really wanted to secure the border, they would work with Democrats to modernize ports of entry, expand legal pathways for migrants, and address the root causes of migration. 

"Republicans cannot move their extreme, cruel, unworkable anti-immigrant agenda through the regular legislative process, so they’re trying to make an end-run around Congress and exploit two foreign wars to force it into law. We have been trying their enforcement-only strategy for 30 years, and the results are plain for everyone. We can only solve the complex issue of immigration by addressing it holistically and in a bipartisan manner that deals with our economic, humanitarian, and security needs, not an end-run around Congress for bad policy in a supplemental funding bill.

WASHINGTON — Representative Pramila Jayapal (WA-07), Chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, issued the following statement on the death of health care activist and Be A Hero co-founder Ady Barkan:

“The progressive movement has lost a hero tonight. Ady Barkan accomplished more in his too-short time here than most do many lifetimes over. This country, and the lives of all of us who knew and loved him, are better for it.

“I often say that being a progressive means being first to the best and most just idea, and no one embodied that more than Ady. I remember when he testified at the first congressional hearing on Medicare For All. His big strategic mind and even bigger heart were on full display. He spoke with urgency and clarity, pushing all of us to do more and push farther with the power we had. Ady became a seminal figure in the fight for Medicare for All and access to health care, organizing alongside the CPC to ensure Congress passed the first major investment in long-term and home-based care — care on which his life eventually depended — in 2021. He was one of the first to push for full employment and investments in low-wage and marginalized workers with the visionary FedUp Campaign. His commanding presence would not be denied and his relentless pursuit of justice could not be ignored — not by a senator on an airplane, a presidential candidate, or the countless activists he inspired daily.

“I am devastated to lose a champion, a partner, and a friend. My Progressive Caucus colleagues and I are with all those mourning Ady tonight, and we send our deepest condolences to Rachael, Carl, and Willow. May he rest in power.”