WASHINGTON — U.S. Representative Pramila Jayapal (WA-07), chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, released the following statement today applauding President Joe Biden’s decision to lift the refugee cap to 62,500 after progressives urged him to end Trump’s cruel, xenophobic policy:

“Just a few weeks ago, I vocally urged President Biden to keep his promise to restore America’s humanity, immediately increase the refugee cap, and end Donald Trump’s xenophobic policy that cruelly restricted refugee admissions to a historically low level. Organizers around the country, refugee resettlement agencies, and other progressive Members of Congress all raised their voices to ensure a quick change in the policy.

“Today, President Biden did just that. With his decision today to raise the cap to 62,500, the President has not only kept his promise to us but to refugees around the world — including over 35,000 who have already been cleared for resettlement. By signing an Emergency Presidential Determination, he is clearly saying that America is once again a beacon of hope.

“I am grateful that President Biden listened to our call to action and is building on the swift work he did during his first 100 days to begin reversing Trump’s all-out draconian assault on immigrants. While this new administration inherited a broken immigration system that was gutted and sabotaged by the previous president, it is on all of us to fix it — quickly. Today’s announcement is a critical step. Now, we must continue to rebuild our refugee system and reform our immigration system in a humane way that focuses on dignity, respect, and family unity. The Progressive Caucus looks forward to working closely with the Biden Administration to ensure that we do exactly that.” 

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WASHINGTON — U.S. Representative Pramila Jayapal (WA-07), Chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, released the following statement tonight applauding President Joe Biden’s first 100 days in office and urging him to continue going big in the days ahead: 

“President Biden has risen to this moment — one in which people across America face multiple crises. In tonight’s address, he recounted the immense progress we’ve made as a country over the past 100 days to move beyond the cruelty, chaos, and mass COVID-19 casualties that defined the Trump presidency. President Biden inherited a nation in despair, with hundreds of thousands having needlessly died, millions more thrown out of work, and too many unable to put food on the table. 

“The bold, decisive action he took in proposing and signing the American Rescue Plan — which progressives fought to keep as big as possible — put money in people’s pockets, shots in their arms, and robust relief into their communities to help weather this devastating pandemic. The President deserves recognition for laying the foundations for a just economic recovery, and demonstrating real leadership in ensuring that we quickly got 200 million vaccine doses into people's arms, bringing hope and security to so many.

 “Now, the challenge is not to let up because there is so much more that America needs to bring back opportunity and justice for all. That is why we urge President Biden to go just as big in the days ahead. His outline for the American Families Plan tonight is a strong addition to his American Jobs Plan, and reflects many longstanding priorities of progressives including free community college, paid leave, child care, affordable housing, and so much more. 

“But there is more to be done to address the serious health challenges that have existed in this country for far too long. We must include in the Families Plan bringing down the price of pharmaceutical drugs for all Americans who are paying over twice as much as those in other countries. Pharmaceutical companies have been profiting from their greed and the pain of Americans who are cutting their prescriptions at the kitchen table. We must also expand Medicare benefits for seniors to include dental, vision, and hearing benefits while lowering the Medicare eligibility age to cover tens of millions more. Finally, we need to expand child care to ensure every single family in America can afford it. 

 

“Progressives also welcome the President’s remarks on immigration and look forward to working with him to provide a roadmap to citizenship for Dreamers, TPS recipients, and essential workers as part of this package. Paired with an American Jobs Plan that tackles the climate crisis and creates millions of good, union jobs that pay a living wage, the American Families Plan must be enacted by Congress as a single package — without delay — to transform the lives of people throughout this country.

“Finally, President Biden showed courage and moral clarity on foreign policy tonight in bringing U.S. servicemembers home after 20 years of war in Afghanistan. The return of our soldiers must be paired with robust diplomacy, humanitarian aid, and a genuine end to U.S. hostilities in order to achieve a peaceful outcome, led by Afghans. But much more must be done to improve U.S. foreign policy.

“Tonight’s joint address showcased President Bident’s vision in guiding America through the worst challenge we’ve faced in a generation. The Congressional Progressive Caucus looks forward to continuing to partner with the Biden-Harris Administration to seize the historic opportunity to make a real, lasting difference in the lives of people across America.” 

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WASHINGTON — U.S. Representative Pramila Jayapal (WA-07), Chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, issued the following statement today after President Biden announced he would raise the minimum wage for federal contract workers to $15 an hour:

“With today’s historic executive order, President Biden is following through on his campaign promise to millions of low-wage federal contract workers and the broader Fight for Fifteen movement for worker justice. We will no longer allow companies receiving our tax dollars to underpay and undervalue you. Many of these workers have been performing essential work during the pandemic without the benefit of a living wage. We are also pleased that this decision will eliminate the subminimum tipped wage and ensure that workers with disabilities receive fair compensation for their labor. 

“Today’s announcement demonstrates Democrats’ commitment to providing working families with economic security and using every tool of government to tangibly improve the lives of the American people. While we celebrate this victory, the Progressive Caucus will not rest until we make the minimum wage a living wage for every worker across America and finally guarantee a voice on the job through the passage of the PRO Act. We once again call on President Biden and Senate Democrats to use every tool possible to increase the minimum wage to $15, give 32 million workers a raise, and lift one million people out of poverty.  

“I am particularly proud of the role that the Progressive Caucus played in paving the path for today’s decision. Eight years ago, under the leadership of former Chairs Keith Ellison and Raul Grijalva, the CPC was able to successfully convince President Obama to raise the minimum wage for federal contract workers to $10.10 an hour. That decision established the legal and political precedent for today’s executive order.”

Beginning in 2013, the CPC was the first group in Congress to urge President Obama to raise the minimum wage for federal contract workers.  From 2013 to 2015, the CPC supported a series of strikes by federal contract workers demanding a living wage and a voice on the job.  These efforts culminated in Obama-Biden Executive Order 13656, which required federal contract workers to receive $10.10 per hour, as well as the Fair Pay Safe Workplaces Executive Order, which denied federal contracts to employers with significant wage and workplace safety violations.

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WASHINGTON — U.S. Representative Pramila Jayapal (WA-07), chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, issued the following statement on the need to include major prescription drug savings and important components of health care in the American Families Plan:

“As we consider the critical investments we must make in this next jobs and families plan, we must ensure that we invest in the health of people across America. Republicans worked tirelessly to strip health care away from millions of people over the past four years. Then, the horrors of COVID-19 and the economic crisis it caused exposed how truly dysfunctional our system is. Tens of millions of people lost their jobs and their health care. Untold numbers of Americans have been bankrupted by medical debt. And we still pay more than twice as much for prescription medications than other wealthy countries.

“Voters delivered us governing majorities and now we must deliver for them on health care policies that are not only urgent but wildly popular. We must immediately lower the cost of prescription drugs and use the massive savings from this to lower Medicare’s eligibility age and improve benefits while at the same time ensuring the permanent affordability of health plans obtained through the Affordable Care Act. These necessary policies that are supported by large bipartisan majorities of the American people enjoy the strong support of our Democratic Caucus, and can be accomplished simultaneously. 

“What the American Rescue Plan taught us is that American people of all parties support us when we enact bold, populist policies that deliver for them. I urge the President to include these important components of health care in the American Families Plan.”

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Washington, D.C. – Congressional Progressive Caucus Chair Pramila Jayapal (WA-07) released the following statement regarding President Biden’s nomination of legal scholar Ur Jaddou as Director of United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS):

“I celebrate the president’s nomination of Ur Jaddou, a daughter of immigrants, to head the USCIS. Ms. Jaddou boasts a deep understanding of immigration law and policy, and held the Trump Administration to account for its cruel immigration policies as a tireless advocate and scholar. I am thrilled to see this highly credentialed nominee head our Citizenship and Immigration Services. Ms. Jaddou knows exactly how to restore USCIS to ensure timely processing of immigration benefits for the workers who help drive our economy, families seeking to reunite, and so many more.”

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Washington, D.C. – Congressional Progressive Caucus Chair Pramila Jayapal (WA-07) released the following statement regarding President Biden’s annual budget proposal and the need to cut the bloated Pentagon budget:

 “I applaud President Biden for recognizing that after more than a decade of chronic underinvestment, the federal government can and should serve as a force for good in the lives of everyday Americans. By raising spending on domestic needs by 15 percent in his budget proposal — a $100 billion annual increase — President Biden is sending a powerful message: in the world’s wealthiest country, all Americans deserve robust education, job training, environmental protection, health care, housing, research, transportation, nutrition support, and so much more.

“However, this proposal also recommends increasing the level of an already-out-of-control Pentagon budget, which has exploded over the past four years. By boosting Trump’s $740 billion Pentagon budget by 1.6 percent to $753 billion a year, this proposal would fund a military larger than those of the next 10 countries combined. At a time of such dire challenges—including a global pandemic, a mass unemployment crisis, a climate catastrophe, and millions more being pushed into poverty—a military budget rife with waste, fraud and abuse must finally be reined in so we can invest these resources in our communities to address genuine human needs. While I welcome the proposed end to the overseas contingency operations slush fund, a longstanding Progressive Caucus priority, Congress must continue to identify and eliminate additional military bloat, such as the production of needless and dangerous nuclear weapons, which we should be working to rapidly reduce — not expand. If our national security was preserved during eight years of the Obama-Biden administration, there should be no reason not to return to those levels of military spending under the new Biden-Harris administration.”

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WASHINGTON — Congressional Progressive Caucus Chair Pramila Jayapal (WA-07) released the following statement regarding news of President Biden’s decision to withdraw U.S. forces from Afghanistan by September:

“I strongly applaud President Biden’s decision to fulfill his promise to bring our troops home and end the U.S. military occupation of Afghanistan. This war has dragged on over nearly two decades and four presidencies, and has cost America hundreds of billions of dollars, the deaths of thousands of Americans and many tens of thousands of Afghan civilians.

“Just as in the case of Vietnam a generation ago, U.S. officials have repeatedly misled the American people for years on the nature of this war. Today, President Biden is demonstrating the courage and leadership to break from this broken state of affairs, so corrosive to our democracy, to side with strong, bipartisan majorities of Americans who have long demanded an end to our military involvement in Afghanistan. President Biden understands that now is the time to refocus our energies toward robust diplomacy and humanitarian assistance to help ease this conflict and facilitate a sustainable, Afghan-led, negotiated settlement.

“I am proud of the role our Progressive Caucus members have played as a collective voice of conscience on behalf of the millions of Americans, demanding—for decades—an end to our forever wars. The Biden Administration’s decision is the culmination of the tireless work of grassroots movements for peace, who have partnered with so many of my CPC colleagues, including Representative Barbara Lee, who cast a fateful vote against the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force; Representatives Jim McGovern and Adam Smith, who worked across the aisle to force votes on safely and expeditiously withdrawing from Afghanistan; and Representative Ilhan Omar, who, just last year, secured a majority of the House Democratic Caucus in support of her amendment to end the occupation of Afghanistan in the National Defense Authorization Act.

“In the coming months, the CPC looks forward to working with President Biden in bringing a responsible and timely conclusion to this 20-year U.S. occupation. We also intend to work closely with the administration to end other conflicts, from the Saudi-led war in Yemen, to ongoing hostilities in Syria and Libya, as well as U.S. operations in dozens of other countries where our tax dollars can be put to better use to build a more peaceful world. Finally, Congress must repeal the 2001 AUMF so there is no longer a blank check for war, and cut a bloated $740 billion Pentagon budget that is larger than those of the next 10 countries combined.” 

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Washington, D.C. – Today, the Congressional Progressive Caucus announced its five key recommendations for building on and strengthening the American Jobs Plan framework proposed by President Biden. 

The five recommendations, which were identified by the membership of the Progressive Caucus as key priorities that should be considered for inclusion in the final American Jobs Plan, are:  

  • Strengthen the Care Economy 
  • Bold Investments in Affordable Housing 
  • Dramatically Lower Drug Prices; Use Savings to Pay for Public Health Expansion
  • Bold Investments in Climate Jobs and Impacted Communities 
  • Roadmap for Citizenship and Inclusion for Immigrant Communities 

“President Biden presented a vision for bold legislation that tackles the biggest challenges before us and reinvests in good-paying, sustainable union jobs that empower working families. We agree that it’s time for transformative change and we look forward to working with the Biden Administration to expand on their proposal and ensure that the American Jobs Plan goes big to truly meet the needs of the public,” said CPC Chair Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal (WA-07). “To that end, the Progressive Caucus has identified five key priorities on both physical and human infrastructure, which are inextricably linked. These priorities will strengthen this critical bill and fulfill our promises to the American people. It’s time to go big and it’s time to go bold, and enact these as part of a single, ambitious package.”

More details on the five priorities identified by the Progressive Caucus can be found here. 

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Washington, D.C. – Congressional Progressive Caucus Chair Pramila Jayapal (WA-07) released the following statement regarding President Biden’s American Jobs Plan:

“Today, President Biden is making a compelling case to the American people that now is the time for comprehensive investments in our infrastructure. We applaud his vision of government as a force for good in this country and agree that bold investments in good-paying union jobs, climate action, and caregiving are essential to uplifting families and building back better.

“While President Biden’s proposal is a welcome first step, more must be done to improve on this initial framework to meet the challenges we face. We are still emerging from a deadly pandemic that has killed half a million Americans and plunged millions more into poverty, joblessness, and food insecurity. It is imperative that we act on a once-in-a-generation opportunity to use our governing majorities and build on the success of the landmark $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan to enact the transformational policies that we were voted into office to deliver.

“To that end, we believe this package can and should be substantially larger in size and scope. During his campaign, President Biden committed to a ‘$2 trillion accelerated investment’ over four years on climate-focused infrastructure alone, which would set America on ‘an irreversible course to meet the ambitious climate progress that science demands.’ Today’s proposal, which includes many other priorities such as care jobs, will invest half that amount—roughly $2 trillion over eight years—or 1 percent of GDP. Given the President’s fierce resolve in passing the overwhelmingly popular American Rescue Plan earlier this month, it makes little sense to narrow his previous ambition on infrastructure or compromise with the physical realities of climate change.

“While we understand there is a separate package to be released on broader care economy supports, health care, and free college, our preference is for a single, ambitious package that would include both physical infrastructure and care infrastructure – these investments go hand-in-hand, and we need both to restore our economy and empower families. People—especially women and people of color who have suffered disproportionate job losses during this recession—can’t get back to work without child care, or long-term care, or investments in education and job retraining. This human infrastructure cannot be secondary to the physical infrastructure needs we have as a country. We have a limited window to get this done—we must seize our chance to build back better with economy-wide investments that work for working families and communities of color.

“We believe that our country is ready for an even bolder, more comprehensive and integrated plan that demonstrates the size, scope, and speed required to aggressively slash carbon pollution and avoid climate catastrophe; create millions of good, family-sustaining, union jobs; improve Americans’ health and safety; reduce racial and gender disparities; and curb income inequality by making the wealthy and large corporations finally pay their fair share in taxes. The Progressive Caucus looks forward to engaging with the White House and Congressional leadership to make all the economic and social investments that we need—with or without Republican votes—and before Congress leaves for August recess. We must act urgently to develop and pass a package that rises to the unprecedented challenges we face as a country.”

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Washington, D.C. – Congressional Progressive Caucus Chair Pramila Jayapal (WA-07) released the following statement calling for Social Security Commissioner Andrew Saul and Deputy Social Security Commissioner David Black to be fired for obstructing the delivery of $1400 survival checks to 30 million Americans:

“It is appalling and outrageous that holdovers from the Trump Administration at the Social Security Administration have delayed the delivery of survival checks to 30 million Americans, including veterans, seniors, and people living with disabilities. This is not a game – for millions of people, these checks are a lifeline to put food on the table, refill prescriptions, and put gas in the car.

“The IRS first sought data for automatic payments from the SSA two weeks prior to the signing of the American Rescue Plan on March 11th – but the SSA refused to provide those files until March 25th after the House Ways & Means Committee issued an ultimatum. In delaying these payments, Commissioner Saul and Deputy Commissioner Black have shown a profound contempt for the American people and are unfit to continue to serve in their roles at the Social Security Administration. The American people should be able to trust that the senior leadership of the Social Security Administration will advocate on their behalf – not needlessly and cruelly obstruct the delivery of survival checks. Commissioner Saul and Deputy Commissioner Black should be removed from their positions immediately.”

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