WASHINGTON—Congressional Progressive Caucus Co-Chairs Reps. Raúl M. Grijalva (D-AZ) and Keith Ellison (D-MN) along with CPC Equal Protection Task Force Chair Rep. Jared Polis (D-CO) released the following statements after President Obama announced executive action on immigration that would bring relief to nearly 5 million people living in the United States. 

“I am proud of President Obama for standing by his word, and standing with immigrant communities tonight,” Rep. Grijalva said. “The actions he announced will provide relief for millions of people who want nothing more than to be our fellow citizens and contribute to our society. The President’s actions are not all-encompassing – they are a strong starting point with clear opportunities to build from.  This country was built on the hopes and dreams of people coming here in search of a better life and President Obama has proven he is dedicated to making this dream a reality for millions more.”

“The action President Obama described tonight will bring relief to millions who live in fear of the knock at the door that could change everything,” Rep. Ellison said. “He joins President Ronald Reagan and President George H.W. Bush in taking executive action to keep families together. Politics too often stands in the way of what is right. The president’s action is a first step towards fixing an immigration system that is inhumane and cruel. I proudly stand with President Obama and the millions of people who will be helped by his leadership.”

The President displayed strong leadership this evening as he announced new executive action that shifts the prosecutorial focus to locking up and deporting real criminals, keeping America safe and strong, rather than needlessly tearing apart families who love this country,” said Rep. Polis. “This was a bold, but necessary step to fix our broken immigration system, but it is still only a stop gap. In order to truly solve this problem and reap the many benefits that immigration reform will bring to our country, Congress must step up and pass comprehensive immigration reform as soon as possible.”

The CPC previously sent a memo to the President urging him to sign a strong executive order to provide relief for over 7 million undocumented immigrants. 

WASHINGTON-Congressional Progressive Caucus Co-Chairs Reps. Raúl M. Grijalva (D-AZ) and Keith Ellison (D-MN) along with CPC Peace and Security Task Force Chair Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA), released the following statements today urging Congress to let diplomacy work in negotiations over Iran’s nuclear program between the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, China, Russia (P5+1) and Iran after the House passed a resolution condemning human rights violations in Iran. 

“After years of inaction, the ongoing negotiations between the United States and Iran represent significant progress, and have the potential to make meaningful strides on nuclear proliferation and human rights in Iran,” Rep. Grijalva said. “The give and take of international diplomacy is delicate and should not be rushed for the sake of a deadline. I encourage all parties involved to continue their good faith efforts to bring about a lasting and meaningful deal that moves our nations forward.”

 

“The expansion of human rights for all Iranians is more likely to happen if current negotiations over Iran’s nuclear program are successful. Diplomacy with Iran empowers human rights leaders in Tehran because it weakens the claim that Iran is under constant threat which justifies the police state,” Rep. Ellison said. “Diplomacy empowers advocates to push for rights like freedom of speech and religion. If Congress wants to help improve human rights in Iran, we must engage and support the P5+1 nuclear talks.”     

 

“Iran’s human rights situation is tragic and deplorable; violations of human rights should be condemned. I hope this resolution is not used to undermine diplomatic efforts to reduce and provide for inspections of Iran’s nuclear program,” said Congresswoman Lee. “Maintaining diplomatic negotiations is vital to enhancing our regional security objectives and promoting human rights.”

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WASHINGTON- Today, the members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC) chose their leadership for the 114th Congress and re-elected Reps. Raúl M. Grijalva (D-AZ) and Keith Ellison (D-MN) as Co-Chairs.

The rest of the Progressive Caucus leadership for the 114th Congress is listed below:

Caucus First Vice Chair: Rep. Mark Pocan (D-WI)

Caucus Whip: Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA)

Vice Chair and Liaison to the CBC: Rep. Sheila Jackson-Lee (D-TX)

Vice Chair and Liaison to the CHC:  Rep. Elect Ruben Gallego (D-AZ)

Vice Chair and Liaison to the Native American Caucus: Rep. Mike Honda (D-CA)

Vice Chair and Liaison to CAPAC: Rep. Mark Takano (D-CA)

Vice Chair and Liaison to the Congressional Caucus for Women’s Issues: Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL)

Vice Chair and Liaison to the LGBT Equality Caucus: Rep. David Cicilline (D-RI)

Vice Chair and Liaison for New Members: Rep. Matt Cartwright (D-PA)

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WASHINGTON-Today, Congressional Progressive Caucus Co-Chairs Reps. Raúl M. Grijalva (D-AZ) and Keith Ellison (D-MN) sent a letter to President Obama urging him to sign a Model Employer Executive Order to reward good federal contractors and guarantee workers’ rights to collectively bargain. The text of the letter is below and a signed version can be found here.

  

Dear Mr. President:

 

Thank you for showing your commitment to working families by issuing executive orders that ensure a minimum wage and workplace protections for hundreds of thousands of Americans working under federal contracts. We now ask you to issue a new executive order in defense of these hard-working Americans: a Model Employer Executive Order that gives an incentive for corporations to provide good middle class jobs. 

 

Holding corporations who receive taxpayer money to a minimum standard, as you did with the first two executive orders, is a logical first step. We must also reward those who go above and beyond. A Model Employer Executive Order would give preference for federal contracts to those companies that do more than just the legal minimum by providing living wages, paid leave, and covering health care for their workers.  It would also require contractors to respect their employees’ right to collectively bargain. 

 

The potential impact for working families is substantial. According to a report by the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee of the U.S. Senate, “companies that receive government contracts employ an estimated 22 percent of the American workforce, approximately 26 million workers.” The National Employment Law Project interviewed over 500 federal government contract workers and found that 74 percent do not have sick leave, 89 percent do not have health insurance through their employer, and 58 percent receive no benefits at all.  The right to collective bargaining, which is the most effective way workers can fight for these basic benefits, has been under attack. 

 

The corporations that are doing their part to correct the causes of economic inequality should have a competitive advantage when pursuing government contracts.  Instead, they are currently undercut by corporations who only pay the legal minimum and take away workers’ seat at the table.  A Model Employer Executive Order would give a competitive advantage to corporations that treat workers well.  The Congressional Progressive Caucus stands ready to work with you to finish the job of making sure taxpayer dollars are not funding the low wage economy.

 

The CPC previously sent letters to the President asking him to sign a Good Jobs Executive Order and to raise the minimum wage for federal contract workers. 

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WASHINGTON-Congressional Progressive Caucus Co-Chairs Reps. Raúl M. Grijalva (D-AZ) and Keith Ellison (D-MN) released the following statement after President Obama announced a new agreement with China to reduce carbon emissions.

“We applaud President Obama for negotiating an historic agreement with China to reduce carbon emissions in the coming decades. The United States and China are the two largest emitters of greenhouse gases in the world, which makes the agreement announced today a vital step towards limiting the worst effects of climate change. It sets the stage for a larger deal that we hope will set emission targets needed to keep global temperature rise below 2 degrees. We urge Congress to follow President Obama’s lead and take concrete action to combat climate change now.”

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WASHINGTON-Congressional Progressive Caucus Co-Chairs Reps. Raúl M. Grijalva (D-AZ) and Keith Ellison (D-MN) sent a memo to the President urging him to sign a strong executive order on immigration.  The text of the memo’s introduction is below and the full text can be found here

 

 The Congressional Progressive Caucus calls on President Obama to provide comprehensive relief to immigrants residing in our nation through executive action. Expansive and robust action that addresses the economic, family, community and national problems we now face is urgently needed. Republicans in Congress have made it clear they will not engage in a good faith effort to fix our broken immigration system. The president has the legal authority and moral imperative to provide relief for over 7 million undocumented immigrants currently living in the shadows. 

 

Our current deportation system is inhumane and wastes billions of taxpayer dollars. Choices between addressing the needs of millions of aspiring Americans and attempting to satisfy the demands of an uncompromising and entrenched opposition are inevitable. We should stand for what is right for our nation. This memo contains our requests for a new affirmative relief program and an expanded Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. 

 

The administration should act swiftly and comprehensively. We should not force deserving individuals and families to wait any longer.

 

The CPC previously released a statement calling on the President to stay deportations in order to keep families together until an executive order was signed.

 

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WASHINGTON – Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC) Co-Chairs Reps. Raúl M. Grijalva (D-AZ) and Keith Ellison (D-MN) released the following statement today after President Obama came out in favor of net neutrality through Title II reclassification of the Internet. 

“President Obama stands with the millions of Americans who submitted comments to the Federal Communications Commission on net neutrality over the summer. His plan announced today is a win for communities of color, small businesses and millions of Americans who rely on a free and open Internet. The Progressive Caucus was proud to lead a letter to Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler with 34 House Democrats in May calling for net neutrality and Title II reclassification of broadband Internet. 

“The Internet should never be pay-to-play. We urge Chairman Wheeler to listen to the president, the Progressive Caucus and millions of Americans demanding the Internet remain free, open and democratic.” 

The Progressive Caucus letter to Chairman Wheeler can be found here

WASHINGTON – Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC) Co-Chairs Reps. Raúl M. Grijalva (D-AZ) and Keith Ellison (D-MN) released the following statement today after the close of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit where American negotiators continued pushing to finalize the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).

“Free trade deals like the Trans-Pacific Partnership must be negotiated in the open with Congressional oversight and input from the working people most affected by the policies at stake. Secret negotiations are not the way to cut a deal that will cost American jobs and slash wages.

“The APEC summit ended today without a final deal agreed upon, which is yet another self-imposed deadline negotiators missed. The reason is simple: the Trans-Pacific Partnership is far from the ‘21st-century trade agreement’ it’s been called—it amounts to a corporate handout at the expense of workers in all negotiating nations. We urge American negotiators to fight for the best interest of working families—not the world’s richest corporations.

“We stand with the hard working people fighting the Trans-Pacific Partnership and demand the public be told what’s happening behind closed doors.”

WASHINGTON—Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC) Co-Chairs Reps. Raúl M. Grijalva (D-AZ) and Keith Ellison (D-MN) released the following statement today after the Supreme Court declined to review lower-court rulings on marriage equality in Virginia, Utah, Oklahoma, Indiana and Wisconsin.

“The Supreme Court’s decision to deny appeals from states that want to prohibit same-sex marriage makes our nation one where gay and lesbian couples have a right to the pursuit of happiness and that’s cause for celebration. In thirty states and the District of Columbia, you will soon be able to marry who you love—period. If we get organized and fight together, equality will always beat discrimination.

“In the coming days at state capitols, city halls, court houses and chapels all around the nation, committed couples will promise to be legally bound together for the first time. We share their joy and wish them luck, yet stand in solidarity with the countless Americans who continue to wonder when the freedom to marry will reign in their communities. The fight for equality isn’t done until all Americans can marry who they love in their home state, and further until these individuals cannot be legally fired, denied housing, or refused service for doing so.

“Thirty states down—twenty to go.”

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