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|Co-Chairs||Keith Ellison and Raúl Grijalva|
|First Vice Chair||Mark Pocan|
|Vice Chairs||David Cicilline, Ruben Gallego, Ro Khanna, Barbara Lee, Sheila Jackson Lee, Pramila Jayapal, Jamie Raskin, Jan Schakowsky and Mark Takano|
|Political position||Left-wing |
|National affiliation||Democratic Party|
|Seats in the Senate||
1 / 100
|Seats in the House||
74 / 435
The Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC) is the largest membership organization within the Democratic congressional caucus in the United States Congress with 75 members. The CPC is a left-leaning organization that works to advance progressive and liberal issues and positions.
The CPC is currently co-chaired by U.S. Representatives Raúl Grijalva (D-AZ) and Keith Ellison (D-MN). It was founded in 1991 and has grown steadily since then, having more recently added 20 members since 2005 and having hired its first full-time Executive Director, Bill Goold, in May of that year. Subsequent Executive Directors have included Andrea Miller (2009–2011) and Brad Bauman (2011–2014). The current Executive Director is Mike Darner. 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.
The CPC was established in 1991 by six members of the United States House of Representatives: U.S. 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). Additional House Members joined soon thereafter, 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). Sanders was the convener and first CPC Chairman. Bill Goold served as Staff Coordinator for the Progressive Caucus in its early years until 1998.
The founding CPC 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 in the early 1990s. On January 3, 1995 at a standing room only news conference on Capitol Hill, they were the first group inside Congress to chart a detailed, comprehensive legislative alternative to U.S. Speaker Newt Gingrich and the Republican Contract with America, which they termed "the most regressive tax proposals and reactionary social legislation the Congress had before it in 70 years." The CPC's ambitious agenda was framed as "The Progressive Promise: Fairness."
In April 2011, the Congressional Progressive Caucus released a proposed "People's Budget" for fiscal year 2012. 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."
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 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 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.
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.
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.
All members are members of the Democratic Party or caucus with the Democratic Party. In the 114th Congress there are currently 70 declared Progressives, including 68 voting Representatives, one non-voting Delegate, and one Senator.