There's more than resistance

July 28, 2017

Dear Friends, 

The beginning of this year, the GOP assumed control of all three branches of government. Since then, I along with hundreds of thousands of people in Oregon and millions across America have been fighting to protect our country’s values and ideals. This resistance is vital, as we face assaults on health care, the environment, and vulnerable communities – and as we continue to try to get to the bottom of serious questions that remain unanswered about Russia.

At the same time, there are critical areas that we need to keep pushing forward to make progress. I’m working on efforts that will make communities safer, healthier, and more economically secure, including:        

  • Establishing health care for all: Health care should be a right, not a privilege. There’s no reason why we should lag behind other modern nations in health care outcomes. To really improve our health care system, bring down costs, and guarantee access to care for everyone, we need a single-payer health care system – or Medicare for All – which is why I joined Rep. John Conyers to introduce the Medicare For All Act. Earlier this year, I had a town hall on this issue. If you missed it, watch here.


  • Making college affordable: In the 21st century economy, a college degree is more important than ever. Unfortunately, the rising costs of higher education make community college or university education out of reach for many families, or it comes at a cost of thousands of dollars of student loan debt. That’s why I joined Rep. Pramila Jayapal to introduce the College for All Act, legislation that will eliminate tuition and fees at public colleges and universities for families making less than $125,000 a year. It also makes community college tuition free for all students.


  • Ensuring a living wage: The federal minimum wage is only $7.25, which is outrageous. It hasn’t been raised for 10 years, leaving many people who are working full time still in poverty. It’s past time to raise the minimum wage and give working families a fair chance. I joined Reps. Keith Ellison and Bobby Scott to introduce the Raise the Wage Act, which would increase the federal minimum wage incrementally to $15 an hour by 2024.


  • Protecting reproductive rights: Government should protect and support women’s rights, not limit them. We need to permanently repeal the Hyde Amendment, which prohibits the use of federal funds to pay for abortion. That’s why I joined my Pro-Choice Caucus colleagues to introduce the Equal Access to Abortion Coverage in Health Insurance (EACH) Woman Act.


  • Expanding access to the ballot: The right to vote, the cornerstone of our democracy, is under threat across America. In the lead up to the 2016 election, 14 states passing restrictions on voting. Every American should have the same access to the ballot that we enjoy in Oregon. Senator Ron Wyden and I introduced the Vote By Mail Act to expand automatic voter registration and vote by mail to all. I also joined Rep. David Cicilline to introduce the Automatic Voter Registration Act.      


  • Protecting our environment & combating climate change: Climate change is happening, and it’s real. Pulling out of the Paris Climate Change Agreement was wrong. Now, it’s up to Congress, states, and cities to step up. I’ll be introducing a carbon tax proposal to help reduce emissions and unleash American’s clean energy economy. We should be at the top of the list for sustainable energy production.


  • Reforming our criminal justice system: For too long our criminal justice system has relied on incarceration to deal with crime. We need fairer and more rational laws. I support efforts to put an end to a one-size-fits all approach, private prisons and detention centers, and bed quotas. We also should end the failed war on drugs. Instead of incarceration, let’s increase treatment and give more support to people who desperately need and want help fighting drug addiction.


  • Investing in our communities by taxing Wall Street: Nine years after the collapse of the financial markets, many families in Oregon and across the country still struggle while the stock market has more than recouped its losses and corporate profits are at all-time highs. Wall Street’s risk taking contributed to the challenges facing the country, so it's only fair for Wall Street to contribute to the solution. I joined Rep. Keith Ellison to introduce the Inclusive Prosperity Act to initiate a financial transaction tax with the funds raised going to investments in our communities.    

There are also other important issues that Congress can and should address like comprehensive immigration reform, investing in infrastructure, and getting rid of Citizens United.

Tomorrow, the House begins its five-week in-district work period. Every day during these five weeks I will share one policy proposal, like the ones I’ve shared here, that we should be advancing. If you are interested in tracking my policy agenda – “Beyond Resistance: The things we should do to make us safer, healthier, and more economically secure” – sign-up here to receive my email updates or visit my website.

All of these proposals need strong public support or a new Congress and president in order to be enacted – but I won't wait until then to start fighting. The livelihood of working families across Oregon and America depend on it.


Earl Blumenauer 

Member of Congress