Rep. Jayapal, her progressive posse lay out list of their demands for Biden

U.S. Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) and other far-left progressives in the House of Representatives are setting the groundwork for a Democrat victory in November.

Should Democrats retake control of the lower chamber of Congress in elections this fall, progressives are ready with an agenda that serves as a clear message to President Joe Biden whom they feel has failed to appeal to progressives and young voters.

“If the progressive base is not excited and enthusiastic, and if they don’t feel like we are trying to earn their votes and that they are important, then I think the horrific idea of a second Donald Trump presidency could become reality,” Jayapal, the progressive caucus chair, told NBC News. “We cannot afford to let that happen. And we won’t.”

The agenda includes seven policies such as creating “world-class” public education, increasing the federal minimum wage to $17 per hour by 2028, strengthening unions and guaranteeing overtime pay.

“It’s really about worker power and raising wages and lowering costs for poor people, middle-class Americans and the working people across this country,” Jayapal said.

“The five other planks are investments in education, including universal pre-K and kindergarten; aggressive clean energy standards to tackle climate change; ‘making our democracy work’ with federal voting rights mandates, Washington, D.C., statehood and elimination of the Senate filibuster; taking on corporations and monopolies; and ‘advancing justice’ though abortion rights, pro-LGBTQ measures, pro-immigrant policies and setting national policing standards,” NBC News reported.

Notably, the “Medicare for All” push is not part of the agenda. And among the policies listed, there is no mention of the Israel conflict with Gaza, a contentious issue that Jayapal and other far-left members of the Democrat Party have been vocal about as far as Biden’s approach.

“The way we came to this agenda is to say that we were going to put into this agenda things that were populist and possible … and affected a huge number of people,” Jayapal told NBC News. “We haven’t taken a position on particularly Israel and Gaza in the progressive caucus, and so that’s not on here.”

According to a spokesperson, 98% of the 103 lawmakers in the caucus threw their support behind the agenda which faces a daunting uphill climb to pass.

“We are assuming that this is an agenda for a Democratic president with a Democratic Senate and a Democratic House,” Jayapal conceded.

“We have to excite our base. We have to show them what the path forward is — not just say, ‘This is the most important election of your life, and we expect you to vote.’ I don’t think that’s going to turn people out,” she added.

“And so I think this agenda, really, speaks to the needs of poor people, working people, progressives across the country who want us to make that case to them,” Jayapal said. “We are not seeing the momentum that we would like to see. We’re going to have a tough election. … We know we’re going to have to put together that progressive coalition. And I think this is the thing that allows us to say, ‘Look, here’s what we’re fighting for.’”

Frieda Powers


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