Commentary – Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC) Co-Chairs Reps. Raúl M. Grijalva (D-AZ) and Keith Ellison (D-MN), and CPC First-Vice Chair Rep. Mark Pocan (D-WI) today released the Progressive Caucus’ budget for fiscal year 2017, called The People’s Budget: Prosperity Not Austerity; Invest in America.
“The People’s Budget reverses harmful austerity cuts and fixes a system that for far too long has only benefited those at the top,” Rep. Pocan said. “The Progressive Caucus Budget rebuilds our crumbling roads and bridges, creates good paying jobs, and increases educational opportunities from pre-kindergarten to college. Our budget invests in the American people and gives working families the best opportunity to get ahead.”
“The People’s Budget is a true expression of progressive values,” Rep. Grijalva said. “More than numbers and charts, our budget is a path forward for the American people who’ve had their wages flat line and savings erode. It alleviates our overcrowded classrooms where kids struggle to learn, and makes higher education a reality for any student committed to earning a college degree. It ensures profit motives and systemic inequalities have no place in our criminal justice system or our immigration policies. The investments we detail will create jobs, protect the environment and promote growth by requiring the wealthiest among us, corporations and Wall Street to contribute their fair share to our society. While Republicans continue fighting over how much more seniors should sacrifice, The People’s Budget shows that their harmful cuts are a false prophecy for American economic success.”
“It’s time to invest in our country and in working people who simply want to provide for their families,” Rep. Ellison said. “The People’s Budget helps families by creating jobs, improving education, and rebuilding our roads and bridges. We’ve seen what good investments can do in the Twin Cities. After the Green Line Light Rail was completed in 2014, businesses have grown and another $2.5 billion in private investment has poured in along the route. In cities like Flint, Michigan, we see what happens when governments put cutting costs ahead of people’s health. The state government’s refusal to invest in Flint has resulted in lead exposure for thousands of residents - all because the state government wanted to cut corners. A tragedy like Flint cannot happen again. We can and should make fair investments in America, and The People’s Budget is the best path forward.”
The executive summary for The People’s Budget is below and the full budget can be found here.
The People’s Budget Executive Summary
While our economy is rebounding from the Great Recession, hardworking Americans are being left behind. Our economic and political system has lost sight of what matters most: We the People. The Congressional Progressive Caucus’ Budget for Fiscal Year 2017 provides major reinvestments in our country through infrastructure, education, and wage growth to increase opportunity for all. The People’s Budget is a down payment on a brighter future for all Americans, ensuring every family struggling to make ends meet has a fair shot at the American Dream.
An investment in roads, bridges, and railways is an investment in the safety and prosperity of the American people. The People’s Budget commits $1 trillion in infrastructure spending overall to transform our country’s crumbling roads, bridges, and facilities into a 21st century network, creating jobs and improving economic opportunities in the process. This includes billions for water lines nationwide and $765 million specifically for Flint, Michigan, to replace toxic pipelines and provide needed health, education, and other services for residents exposed to lead. Families should never have to worry about whether their water is safe to drink, or their roads are safe to drive on.
Access to equitable education opportunities is key to ensuring future generations are prepared for success. From pre-school through college, every student deserves the right to high-quality affordable education. The People’s Budget invests in our students by providing robust early learning opportunities, effective public schools for all students, and debt-free college.
The People’s Budget creates 3.6 million good paying jobs to push our economy back to full-employment, which will provide the necessary economic conditions to spur across-the-board wage growth for hardworking Americans. It empowers working families, protects collective bargaining, and seeks to close the pay equity gap. It also increases funding for worker protection agencies to crack down on wage theft, combat overtime abuses, and safeguard workers’ retirement savings. Now is the time for Congress to remove the barriers that have held down wages for working Americans.
The People’s Budget makes major public investments to rebuild America by fixing our crumbling roads and bridges, improving schools, moving towards clean energy, and creating good paying jobs in the process.