WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Oregon’s Senator Jeff Merkley joined New York Mayor Bill de Blasio and progressive leaders from around the country by the steps of the U.S. Capitol to lay out a bold new progressive agenda to create opportunity and rising wages for ordinary Americans.
The agenda directly takes on the financial squeeze today’s working families face by raising wages, lowering the cost of child care and higher education, and pursuing tax fairness that will put more money in the pockets of working families while ensuring that the wealthiest pay their fair share.
“We need a strong foundation for every child and every working family to thrive,” said Merkley. “To do this, we need to restore an economy that works for working Americans.”
The agenda includes three major goals:
- Lift the Floor for Working People – This includes raising the federal minimum wage and indexing it to inflation; strengthening laws that allow workers to collectively bargain for better wages and working conditions; passing comprehensive immigration reform to grow the economy and protect against exploitation of low-wage workers; and opposing imbalanced trade deals that hand more power to large corporations at the expense of American jobs and American workers.
- Support Working Families – This includes passing national paid sick leave; establishing national paid family leave; making Pre-K, after-school programs, and childcare universal; expanding the Earned Income Tax Credit; and allowing students to refinance student loan debt to take advantage of lower interest rates.
- Tax Fairness – This includes closing the carried interest loophole that allows many of the wealthiest Americans to pay a lower capital gains rate rather than normal income tax rates on their income; ending tax breaks for companies that ship jobs overseas; implementing the “Buffett Rule” so millionaires don’t pay a lower tax rate than ordinary middle-class Americans; and closing the CEO tax loophole that allows corporations to take advantage of “performance pay” write-offs.
Merkley, who still lives in the same blue collar neighborhood he grew up in, has been a leading champion in the U.S. Senate for working families, challenging the economic status quo that has left most Americans’ wages flat while key costs like child care, education, and health care keep rising. He has called for debt-free college access and expanding Social Security, has been a strong voice for consumer financial protection and taking on predatory practices, and has backed reforms to the campaign finance system that has seen special interests’ influence in elections soar.
The full agenda and more details can be viewed online at www.progressiveagenda.us.