WASHINGTON—Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC) Co-Chairs Reps. Raúl Grijalva (D-AZ) and Keith Ellison (D-MN) released the following statement today after the White House announced that the Department of Labor is moving forward with a rule to expand the definition of retirement investor advisors who must put their clients’ interests first.

“We applaud President Obama and Secretary Perez's bold move to protect working Americans saving for retirement from financial advice that is not in their best interest. Every month the industry lobbyists who tried to stop this rule cost American savers as much as $1.4 billion dollars in overpaid fees and hidden commissions.  

“When workers leave a job, they can be encouraged to roll over their low-cost, quality employer-based retirement account into an IRA. Too frequently, working Americans do not realize the IRA they are being offered is actually a product that they are being sold. The product could have higher fees and worse investment options than the plan they had. Under current law, the person selling the plan to the worker does not have to put the client’s best interest first. That’s just wrong. The Department of Labor is siding with retirees to hold financial advisors to a higher standard.   

“Seniors are facing choices that will determine the security of their retirement. The rule proposed today improves the retirement investment marketplace and requires financial advisors and broker dealers to work in their client’s best interests.

“Expanding Social Security benefits, providing investor protections for consumers, and strengthening the private pension system are all important things government can do to create a system that ensures America’s seniors will be able to retire with security and dignity.  The CPC supports the President’s actions today and encourages him to propose the strongest possible rule.” 

By updating the definition to include advisors who encourage workers to roll their employer-sponsored retirement accounts, 401(k)s, 403(b)s, etc., into IRAs, the proposed rule will protect working families from high fees, hidden commissions and inferior product choices The Department of Labor will soon seek comments on a rule that promotes transparency, accountability and minimum conflict of interest. The proposed rule is expected to still allow advisors to give general advice and to give investors the option of choosing different types of fee-based advice plans. The proposed rule is not expected to prohibit commissions or revenue sharing.

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WASHINGTON—Congressional Progressive Caucus Co-Chairs Reps. Raúl M. Grijalva (D-AZ) and Keith Ellison (D-MN) and CPC Peace and Security Task Force Chair Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA) released the following statement today in response to President Obama’s proposal for an authorization for the use of military force (AUMF) against ISIL. 

“The devastating and costly wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have taught us that when we give military authority to the executive, it should not be a blank check. Prolonged military action requires robust debate and authorization from Congress, so we are glad that President Obama has presented a proposal. One of Congress’s most important roles is to declare war, and an AUMF is a declaration of war.

“Unfortunately, the authorization proposed by the president this week is too broad. In order to ensure meaningful limits on executive branch authority, an AUMF should at a minimum contain a clear objective and geographical limitations. It should also include an enforceable ban on the deployment of ground troops with exception for only the most limited of operations, unambiguous language, and a repeal of the 2001 AUMF.

“The Administration has argued that the 2001 AUMF, which was designed to declare war on Al Qaeda and the Taliban shortly after the attacks of 9/11 but has since been broadly applied more than 30 times, provides the legal authority for any existing and future operations against ISIL. Until Congress declares that the 2001 AUMF does not apply to ISIL, any limitations or restrictions in the AUMF proposed by the president are irrelevant.

“An AUMF debated by Congress should also be comprehensive, and include the political, economic, and diplomatic solutions that will ultimately degrade and dismantle ISIL. We should work to cut the flow of money, weapons, and fighters to ISIL. We should push the United Nations to start negotiations to end the Syrian civil war. Most importantly, we should ensure that our humanitarian aid is not eclipsed by our military efforts.  

“In the coming weeks, the Congressional Progressive Caucus will be holding hearings and meetings on the AUMF. One thing is clear now: the conflict in Syria and Iraq requires a comprehensive solution. ISIL’s barbaric tactics are designed to pull the United States into another endless conflict. We must provide careful consideration to an AUMF, but lasting peace and stability will only come with a regional political solution.”

The Congressional Progressive Caucus led the fight for calling for Congressional debate on the use of force against ISIL. In the 113th Congress, the CPC introduced H. Con. Res. 114, which called for debate and a vote on any US sustained combat role against ISIL, supported a ban on the deployment of combat ground troops, and argued that any AUMF must be narrowly tailored and include robust reporting requirements.  CPC Peace and Security Taskforce Chair Barbara Lee recently introduced the Comprehensive Solutions to ISIL Act, which would ensure that the Administration pursues a comprehensive strategy to degrade and dismantle ISIL, repeals the 2001 and 2002 AUMFs, bars the deployment of combat ground troops, and requires the Administration to submit to Congress a “comprehensive diplomatic, political, economic and regionally-led strategy.”

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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 today after Federal Communications Commission Chairman  (FCC) Tom Wheeler released a proposal to reclassify the internet as a common carrier, protecting net neutrality.

“Today’s victory belongs to the hundreds of thousands of Americans who wrote letters, organized protests, tweeted and demanded the FCC protect a free and open Internet. Reclassification is the only way to stop providers from increasing prices and restricting the Internet for those who can’t afford to pay for fast lanes. We applaud Chairman Wheeler’s proposal to continue the Internet’s role as an engine for democracy and free expression, and we hope the full commission approves it. Too often in Washington, D.C., only the biggest corporations get what they want. Today’s move to reclassify the Internet is proof that when we organize together we can win.”

The Congressional Progressive Caucus led the fight for net neutrality in Congress, standing with advocates, sending a letter in May of 2014 to the FCC Chairman demanding a free and open Internet, and submitting comments in July 2014

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Washington, D.C. – Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC) 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) sent a letter to Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Chairman Richard Shelby and Ranking Member Sherrod Brown and House Committee on Foreign Affairs Chairman Ed Royce and Ranking Member Elliot Engel urging them to postpone enacting new sanctions legislation on Iran. The letter opposes sanctions that threaten to derail the P5+1 negotiations, which is an ongoing effort to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon.

The text of the letter is below and a signed version can be found here.


The Honorable Richard Shelby

The Honorable Sherrod Brown

U.S. Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs


The Honorable Ed Royce

The Honorable Elliot Engel

House Committee on Foreign Affairs


Dear Chairmen Shelby and Royce and Ranking Members Brown and Engel:

We write to urge you to postpone enacting new sanctions legislation against Iran. We fully support the P5+1 effort to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon and stand strongly opposed to legislation that threatens to derail these negotiations. Thanks to the tireless work of our diplomats and our negotiating partners, Iran’s nuclear program is frozen and there is a real prospect for peacefully ensuring Iran does not develop a nuclear weapon.

Enacting new sanctions legislation now undermines the efforts of the P5+1 and is contrary to a peaceful solution. Given the sensitive timing, Congressional action should reflect support for a negotiated settlement over the Iranian nuclear dispute rather than pushing legislation that could take us off the negotiating track and escalate towards war. There is significant risk in passing sanctions legislation now, whereas there is no risk in waiting. Congress has proved that it can quickly pass sanctions legislation if necessary.

We are unequivocal in our agreement that Iran acquiring a nuclear weapon would pose a grave threat to international peace and stability and the national security of the United States and our allies. As the IAEA has confirmed, the Joint Plan of Action (JPOA) went into effect in January 2014, Iran has complied with the preliminary agreement by terminating the enrichment of uranium beyond the 5 percent level, eliminating its stockpile of medium enriched uranium, halting progress at the Arak nuclear reactor, and allowing far more intrusive inspections from the IAEA. The JPOA has made Americans and the rest of the world safer; it does not make sense to pass new sanctions legislation when the IAEA has determined that Iran has adhered to the obligations outlined in this agreement and when negotiators are within reach of a final agreement.

The only logical reason to pass sanctions legislation now is if the goal is to derail negotiations. As Senator Tom Cotton (R-AR) recently said, “the end of negotiations isn’t an unintended consequence of congressional action; it is an intended consequence.” 1 There is widespread agreement that new sanctions legislation would compromise the negotiations, not provide leverage to negotiators.

In December National Security Advisor Susan Rice said that new sanctions on Iran would “blow up” nuclear negotiations and that “the P5+1 would fracture, the international community would blame the United States rather than Iran for the collapse of the negotiations, and the Iranians would conclude that there’s little point in pursuing this process at the negotiating table.”2 Last week Israeli Mossad chairman Tamir Pardo echoed Rice, saying a new sanction bill would be “like throwing a grenade into the process.”3 Sanctions may have brought Iran to the table, but they aren’t keeping them there— negotiators are doing that.

A diplomatic solution to preventing Iran from getting a nuclear weapon is in the best interest of U.S. national security. During his Congressional testimony Ambassador Tom Pickering noted that “without a realization to reach a negotiated agreement, the U.S. may be left with two unpalatable options: containing a nuclear armed Iran or war.”4

We are committed to ensuring that a diplomatic solution succeeds and will not support legislation that compromises nuclear negotiations with Iran. We stand ready to urge the Congressional Progressive Caucus to sustain a veto of harmful legislation.

In the event that a final status agreement is reached, we are prepared to work with the Administration to repeal sanctions legislation in accordance with the terms of such an agreement upon stringent verification that Iran has adhered to its obligations.

Our negotiators need support from Congress to accomplish the objective shared by lawmakers, the Administration, and the American people, which is to peacefully prevent a nuclear-armed Iran.


1 Tom Cotton remarks, http://www.armscontrol.orglissue-briefs/20 15-01 -15/Congress-Should-Support-Negotiations-Not-New-Iran-Sanctions

2 Susan Rice remarks, http://thehill.comlpolicy/internntionall2257s9-rice-new-sanctions-would-blow-up-iran-talks ~

3 Tamir Pardo remarks, http://www.bloombergview.comlarticles/2015-0 I -22/netanyahu-mossad-split-divides-u-s-congress-on-Iran-sanctions

4 Tom Pickering testimony, http://iranprojectfcsny.org/ambassador-thomas-pickerings-testimony-to-the-u-s-armed services-committee/

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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 after President Obama delivered his seventh State of the Union address. 


President Obama laid out a robust agenda tonight to make our economy work for everyone. The president’s proposals to create opportunity for hard-working Americans are encouraging steps towards making 2015 the last year the term ‘low-wage worker’ is used in the wealthiest nation in the world. 


“Working Americans are better off today than they were during President Obama’s first State of the Union, and much of what he outlined tonight will continue that record of success. We applaud the president’s plan to raise the capital gains tax to support investments in working families; we hope that he will stand strong on comprehensive tax reform that raises revenue to reverse our upside-down tax policy. His call for family and sick leave will go a long way to making life easier for working families. The president’s proposal to cut methane emissions and his continued push for a strong carbon rule are important efforts to stop a changing climate. 


“Too many Americans are struggling to afford basic necessities and find good-paying jobs. Congress must act to end harmful budget cuts, expand Social Security benefits, increase access to affordable higher education, and put Americans back to work by rebuilding our roads, schools and bridges. But putting working families first also means we cannot enter into trade deals that allow corporations to ship jobs overseas. The Congressional Progressive Caucus will not support a trade deal that increases trade deficits and undermines the security of the middle class. 


“The president showed strong leadership in 2014 and tonight he laid out a concrete path towards a stronger and more inclusive economy in 2015.  We support his executive action in the face of Republican intransigence, and look forward to working with his administration to continue expanding our middle class.” 


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Washington, D.C. – Congressional Progressive Caucus Co-Chairs Reps. Raúl Grijalva (D-AZ) and Keith Ellison (D-MN) released the following statement on the fifth anniversary of the Supreme Court’s ruling in Citizens United v. FEC.


“It has been five years since the Supreme Court gave corporate money unlimited influence over our elections,” said Reps. Grijalva and Ellison. “Since then, corporations, special interests, and the mega-rich have spent millions of untraceable dollars to flood our electoral process – effectively silencing the American people.”


“In the 2014 midterms alone, Super PACs spent more than $170 million dollars influencing electoral outcomes. Corporations are not people and elections should never be bought. Campaign contribution limits were set for a reason: to protect the voice of the people. It’s time we amend the constitution to overturn the Citizens United to end the influence of dark money over our political process and prove once and for all that the will of the American people is not for sale to the highest bidder.” 


In 2012, the Congressional Progressive Caucus formally adopted a declaration stating:


“We declare our support for amending the Constitution of the United States to restore the rights of the American people, undermined by Citizens United and related cases, to protect the integrity of our elections and limit the corrosive influence of money in our democratic process.” 


Rep. Ellison also introduced the Get Corporate Money out of Politics Constitutional Amendment (H.J. Res. 92) in 2012, which Rep. Grijalva co-sponsored. The Amendment reaffirmed the importance of a level playing field and authorized Congress and the States to regulate election contributions of for-profit corporations. 


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WASHINGTON, DC – Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC) Co-Chairs Reps. Raúl M. Grijalva (D-AZ) and Keith Ellison (D-MN), released the following statement after the President announced initiatives to push for paid leave including directing federal agencies to allow workers to use up to six weeks after the birth or adoption of a child. 

“We applaud President Obama for his push for paid leave and support of the Healthy Families Act. The wealthiest nation must join the rest of the world in affording mothers and fathers time to spend with their children.  Whether it is for birth or to care for a sick child, there is no question about what is right for American families.

“Offering adequate paid leave is not just morally right, it’s economically smart. Many Americans face the dilemma of what to do when they themselves or a member of their family is sick. Workers without paid sick days must choose to go to work sick or stay home and risk their pay and possibly their job. Allowing paid leave prevents the spread of illness and increases workforce productivity, which benefits employers.

“Paid leave is not a progressive issue—it is a family issue. American workers should never be forced to choose between their jobs and the health of themselves or their families. There is absolutely no reason that Speaker Boehner should not support paid sick and family leave. We urge our friends across the aisle to join us and swiftly pass the Healthy Families Act.” 

CPC member Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) first introduced the Healthy Families Act in 2005, and has reintroduced the bill in every Congress since then. Currently, only three states – California, New Jersey and Rhode Island – offer paid family and medical leave, and one state, Massachusetts will start offering paid sick days in July 2015.

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WASHINGTON, DC –Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC) Co-Chairs Reps. Raúl M. Grijalva (D-AZ) and Keith Ellison (D-MN), voted against a Department of Homeland Security funding bill that blocks funds for President Obama’s immigration executive action.

“While Republicans claim to be the party of security, nothing could be more dangerous than playing political games with funding for the Department of Homeland Security – especially at a time of heightened alert,” Rep. Grijalva said. “It’s absurd and irresponsible to hold this budget hostage, and to once again threaten a partial government shutdown. These funds are intended to keep Americans safe – not serve the ideological agendas of politicians with axes to grind.  The Republicans continue to include senseless bed mandates and harmful family detention funding in their funding bills, it’s time they get a reality check on the security needs of this country.

“For nearly two years, this country waited for Congressional Republicans to join their Senate colleagues in addressing our broken immigration system,” Rep. Grijalva continued. “As if their refusal to act wasn’t bad enough, their current tactics make clear that they’d rather enflame our immigration problems than ever see them solved. But undermining the public’s security is a length to which no politician should be willing to go for the sake of a political victory. It’s an abdication of their duties as elected leaders, and a violation of the oath of office they took just days ago.”

"House Republicans refused to act on the Senate's bipartisan immigration reform bill for five hundred days; now they’re threatening the Department of Homeland Security because the president took bold action for families who couldn't wait any longer,” Rep. Ellison said. “Pushing the government into a crisis when you don’t get what you want is quickly becoming a hallmark of Speaker Boehner's leadership. 

“If Republicans want to debate comprehensive immigration reform or the Affordable Care Act, they should come to the table with their own ideas – not threaten agencies critical to preventing and responding to emergencies,” Rep. Ellison continued. “Sadly, the investments working families need to succeed are neglected while bills that attack new Americans and provide benefits for mega-banks are fast-tracked. We urge Speaker Boehner to stop the brinksmanship and bring a clean Department of Homeland Security spending bill to the floor." 

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WASHINGTON, DC –Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC) Co-Chairs Reps. Raúl M. Grijalva (D-AZ) and Keith Ellison (D-MN), released the following statement after submitting an amendment today to the Rules Committee which would substitute the text of H.R. 37 delaying the Volcker Rule with language that repeals limits on discretionary spending created in the Budget Control Act of 2011.

“House Republicans are opening the 114th Congress by putting the profits of mega-banks over investments in hard-working Americans. While they are championing failed policies of trickle-down economics, we know our economy works best when we put Americans back to work. If Republicans are serious about creating jobs, they should focus on ending harmful budget cuts. That’s why the Progressive Caucus is proposing to replace H.R. 37 – a bill that would delay a requirement for the largest banks to sell possibly risky investments in their portfolios– with investments that will create jobs across the country.

“Our priority should be American families, not bank CEOs. We can rebuild our roads and bridges, upgrade our transit systems and electrical grids, and continue important science research while putting Americans back into decent paying jobs if we get rid of the budget sequester once and for all.”

The full text of the amendment can be found below.

Amendment to H.R 37

Strike all after the enacting clause and insert the following:

Section 1 Repeal of Discretionary Spending Caps.

The discretionary spending limits for each of fiscal years 2015 through 2021 as set forth in section 251 of the Balanced Budget and Emergency Deficit Control Act of 1985 shall have no force or effect.

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