Congressional Progressive Caucus

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It should not be assumed that mention of a person in this article implies their support of Marxism, Communism, Socialism, indeed of anything other than general support for social progress.

The Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC) is the largest caucus within the Democratic caucus in the United States Congress with 83 declared members, and works to advance progressive issues and positions.[1]

The CPC was founded in 1991 and now has more than 80 members. The Caucus is co-chaired by Representatives Raúl Grijalva (D-AZ) and Keith Ellison (D-MN). Of the 20 standing committees of the House in the 111th Congress, 10 were chaired by members of the CPC. Those chairmen were replaced when the Republicans took control of the House in the 112th Congress.

History

The Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC) was established in 1991 by six members of the United States House of Representatives: Representatives Ron Dellums (D-CA), Lane Evans (D-IL), Thomas Andrews (D-ME), Peter DeFazio (D-OR), Maxine Waters (D-CA), and Bernie Sanders (I-VT). Then-Representative Bernie Sanders was the convener and first chairman. The founding members were concerned about the economic hardship imposed by the deepening recession, and the growing inequality brought about by the timidity of the Democratic Party response at the time.

Additional House representatives joined soon, including Major Owens (D-NY), Nydia Velázquez (D-NY), David Bonior (D-MI), Bob Filner (D-CA), Barney Frank (D-MA), Maurice Hinchey (D-NY), Jim McDermott (D-WA), Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), Patsy Mink (D-HI), George Miller (D-CA), Pete Stark (D-CA), John Olver (D-MA), Lynn Woolsey (D-CA), and Nancy Pelosi (D-CA).

The CPC's founding statement of purpose states that it was "organized around the principles of social and economic justice, a non-discriminatory society, and national priorities which represent the interests of all people, not just the wealthy and powerful". The founding members underscored that the Cold War was over, and that the nation's budget and overall priorities should show that. They called for cuts in outdated and unnecessary military spending, a more progressive tax system which places a larger portion of the tax burden on corporations and those with higher earnings, a substantial increase in federal funding for social programs designed to meet the needs of low and middle-income American families, and trade policies that increase the exports of more American products and encourage the creation of well-paying jobs and sound investment in America. They also expressed their belief that those policy goals could be achieved in concert with a commitment to long-term fiscal responsibility.

Ideology

According to its website, the CPC advocates "universal access to affordable, high quality healthcare," fair trade agreements, living wage laws, the right of all workers to organize into labor unions and engage in collective bargaining, the abolition of significant portions of the USA PATRIOT Act, the legalization of same-sex marriage, US participation in international treaties such as the climate change related Kyoto Accords, strict campaign finance reform laws, a complete pullout from the war in Iraq, a crackdown on corporate welfare and influence, an increase in income tax rates on upper-middle and upper class households, tax cuts for the poor, and an increase in welfare spending by the federal government.

Due to historical factors, including the Red Scare and the Cold War, Marxism is not an acceptable political tendency in the United States. Progressive politicians in the United States, whatever their private opinion, conform.

Budget proposal for 2012

In April 2011, the Congressional Progressive Caucus released a proposed "People's Budget" for fiscal year 2012.[2] Two of its proponents stated: "By implementing a fair tax code, by building a resilient American economy, and by bringing our troops home, we achieve a budget surplus of over $30 billion by 2021 and we end up with a debt that is less than 65% of our GDP. This is what sustainability looks like."[3] A Washington Post columnist stated, "[T]he Congressional Progressive Caucus plan wins the fiscal responsibility derby thus far; it reaches balance by 2021 largely through assorted tax hikes and defense cuts."[4] Paul Krugman called the People's Budget "the only major budget proposal out there offering a plausible path to balancing the budget."[5]

Supporting organizations

The non-profit organization most closely associated with the Congressional Progressive Caucus is ProgressiveCongress.org which works to connect the caucus to progressives outside the Congress.

In addition, an array of national liberal organizations work to support the efforts of the progressive caucus, including the Institute for Policy Studies, The Nation magazine, MoveOn.org, National Priorities Project, Jobs with Justice, Peace Action, Americans for Democratic Action, and Progressive Democrats of America. Also co-sponsoring the kickoff event were the NAACP, ACLU, Progressive Majority, League of United Latin American Citizens, Rainbow/PUSH Coalition, National Council of La Raza, Hip Hop Caucus, Human Rights Campaign, Association of Farmworker Opportunity Programs, and the National Hip Hop Political Convention.

House members

Map of House caucus members during the 112th Congress

All members are members of the Democratic Party or caucus with the Democratic Party. There are currently 81 total declared Progressives including 77 voting Representatives, two non-voting Delegates, and one Senator.

Arizona

California

Colorado

Connecticut

Florida

Georgia

Hawaii

Illinois

Indiana

Iowa

Maine

Maryland

Massachusetts

Michigan

Minnesota

Mississippi

Missouri

New Jersey

New Mexico

New York

North Carolina

Ohio

Oregon

Pennsylvania

Rhode Island

Tennessee

Texas

Vermont

Virginia

Washington

Wisconsin

Non-voting

Senate members

Former members

See also

References

  1. About the CPC, CPC Website, accessed Oct 8, 2009
  2. The People's Budget. Congressional Progressive Caucus. URL accessed on 2011-04-24.
  3. Honda, Michael; Grijalva, Raul (April 11, 2011), "The only real Democratic budget", The Hill, http://thehill.com/blogs/congress-blog/economy-a-budget/155221-the-only-real-democratic-budget 
  4. Miller, Matt (April 20, 2011), "‘The Shining’ — national debt edition", The Washington Post, http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/the-shining--national-debt-edition/2011/04/20/AFnfSICE_story.html, retrieved 2011-04-24 
  5. Paul Krugman. "Let’s Take a Hike", New York Times, 24 April 2011. Retrieved on 1 May 2011. 

External links


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