Roadmap to the Majority

If Democrats are going to win back the majority, we must do more than resist Donald Trump and his hateful and divisive agenda. It’s time that Democrats in Congress stand up and make clear what we are fighting FOR—our vision for America. 

I am advocating for positive alternatives for people to get behind—issues that I believe will put us on a path toward safer, healthier, and more economically secure communities, including:

Resolving Health Inequality Through Single-Payer Health Care
We will continue to fight against the repeal of the Affordable Care Act and work to improve it. But to truly resolve health inequality and guarantee access to care, we ultimately need a single-payer health care system, or Medicare for all. That’s why I joined Rep. John Conyers to introduce legislation to establish a single-payer system and begin our journey in making sure that health care is a right, not a privilege. 

Lowering Prescription Drug Costs
Pharmaceutical companies are getting rich from taking advantage of patients and their families. The price of medicine has skyrocketed—especially for cancer, rare diseases, and even chronic conditions. No one should have to choose between their health or their financial security. To help, we should allow Medicare to negotiate for fairer and lower drug prices. Congress should choose patients over Big Pharma and pass the Medicare Prescription Drug Price Negotiation Act.

Improving Medicaid
Under the Affordable Care Act, Oregon expanded Medicaid, increasing access to affordable health care and dropping its uninsured rate by 65 percent. Not only that, the state made reforms to better coordinate care, covering more people while spending less. To ensure a healthier Oregon and America, we need to build on this success and look for ways to further improve Medicaid here at home and nationwide. Additionally for those states that did not expand Medicaid, we need to allow for more flexibility to deal with serious coverage gaps—there are too many families that make too much to qualify for subsidies, but too little to afford care. Each step of progress brings us one step closer to providing health care for all.

Protecting Women's Reproductive Rights
We need to make sure women's reproductive rights are protected! The government should be an ally to women and expand their access to reproductive health care, not limit it.

Increasing Access to Mental Health Services
I'm fighting for better resources and compassionate solutions for individuals with mental illness. We need to increase access to mental health services, invest in prevention, fund treatment, and provide quality care and healing.

Improving End-of-Life Care
For years, I've advocated for empowering patients to receive health care that is consistent with their values, goals, and preferences—especially at the end of life. And we've made progress. Medicare now covers important advance care planning conversations between doctors and patients. But we can't stop here. My Patient Choice and Quality Care Act will make sure providers have the training, resources, and tools they need to give patients the care they want at the end of life.

Promoting Health Care Innovation
As we debate the future of health care, there are innovative and compassionate policies we can move forward with NOW to lower costs and improve care. For example, I have legislation that will allow kidney disease patients on dialysis to get primary care and other health services while they're at dialysis clinics. By allowing these patients to receive all the types of care they need at one time and in one place, they will save valuable time AND money.

Investing in Clean Energy
Climate change is real, and it's affecting the Earth. We need to accelerate efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and move our economy toward 100% clean, renewable energy. I'm fighting in Congress to level the playing field for renewable energy through tax credits, as well as carbon pricing to make polluters pay their fair share. We need more investment in energy efficiency upgrades, especially for schools and other public buildings. The United States should leading in conservation and clean energy production. The future of our planet and future generations depends on it.

Putting a Price on Carbon
The climate crisis demands action. With the United States as a major contributor to global carbon pollution, having a price on our emissions is critical to fight climate change. That’s why I’ve introduced legislation to impose a fee on America’s biggest polluters—putting the burden on them, not our most vulnerable citizens. Making sure that fossil fuel companies pay their fair share prices dirty energy more accurately and helps level the playing field so that clean energy can better compete. A carbon tax will reduce emissions, grow the clean economy, and create jobs.

Protecting Our Public Lands
Public lands are national treasures and belong to ALL Americans. They must be protected and kept in public hands. I’m working in Congress to defend our National Monuments, support the Land and Water Conservation Fund, and advocate for more conservation designations to protect wildlife habitat, water quality, outdoor recreation, and cultural resources.

Ending Offshore Drilling
We need to put an end to offshore drilling in the Arctic, Atlantic, and Pacific oceans—some of the most ecologically sensitive and environmentally treasured places in the world. Oil exploration and drilling in these areas poses serious threats to habitat and water quality. Instead, we should accelerate our efforts toward a 100% clean energy economy, work to preserve precious natural resources, and protect our health and the health of our planet.

Holding Wall Street Accountable
During the 2008 financial crisis, millions of families lost everything—their jobs, their homes, their retirement savings—and many are still struggling. To prevent another Great Recession, Wall Street must be held accountable. We need to: 1) Regulate, including by reinstating Glass-Steagall to prevent banks from taking risky bets with customers' money. 2) Prosecute crooks—no matter the color of their collar—for financial crimes. 3) Defend Dodd-Frank and other progress made under the Obama administration.

Overturning Citizens United
Corporate influence in politics is one of the most pressing issues our country faces – and is a direct threat to our democracy. Corporations should not have the same free-speech protections as individuals, or the right to buy unlimited influence in our elections. Congress should amend the Constitution to reverse Citizens United v. FEC, as well as McCutcheon v. FEC.

Expanding Access to the Ballot Box
Now more than ever, American voices should be amplified, not stifled. We need to make sure ALL eligible voters can exercise their fundamental right to vote. Oregon has lead the country with automatic voter registration and vote by mail — and I’ve introduced legislation to expand these successful programs nationwide.

Supporting Publicly-financed Elections
The voices of small donors and individuals should not be drowned out by secret unregulated money. Elections should be financed by the public, for the public. We cannot hold our democracy hostage for dark special interest money. That’s why I support the Government By The People Act.

Raising the Minimum Wage
Working families are struggling. We need to address income inequality in our nation and make sure EVERYONE is able to earn a living wage. We can start by raising the federal minimum wage, which is why I've joined Reps. Keith Ellison and Bobby Scott to introduce the Raise the Wage Act.

Establishing a National Paid Family and Medical Leave Program
Whether it's taking care of a newborn, aging parent, or sick family member, you should not be forced to choose between your paycheck and your family. We need a national paid family and medical leave program for ALL working Americans, which is why I support the FAMILY Act.

Closing the Gender Wage Gap
It’s outrageous that women still don’t earn equal pay for equal work. The numbers are staggering. On average, women make 80 cents for every dollar a man earns—and these numbers are even worse for women of color. This isn’t right, and it isn’t fair. Congress should pass the Paycheck Fairness Act to ensure fair wages and close the wage gap that persists.

Making Housing More Affordable
Here in Portland—and in communities across America—housing prices have skyrocketed. This crisis is hitting working families and seniors the hardest. We need to make housing affordable for EVERYONE. A problem as complex as this doesn’t just have just one solution. We need to give communities the tools to spur affordable housing development. We should expand government programs that help ensure affordable rent. We need to make the economy fairer and more equitable so that more people have the ability to buy or rent homes for themselves.

Making College More Affordable
Everyone should have the opportunity to receive a higher education, and it shouldn't come at the cost of thousands of dollars of student loan debt. College should be more affordable, especially for working families. That's why I joined Rep. Jayapal in introducing legislation that would eliminate tuition at public colleges and universities for families making less than $125,000. The College for All Act would also allow students to refinance student loans and make sure the government doesn't profit from loan programs.

We also need to take action on the student loan debt crisis. Students should be able to earn a higher education without being locked into debt for life. I support legislation that would allow students to refinance their loans and take advantage of lower interest rates, as well as legislation that would encourage employers to provide assistance with loan repayment for employees.

Enacting Comprehensive Immigration Reform
When it comes to immigration reform, we need a thoughtful and compassionate approach. This should include a clear path to citizenship for undocumented residents who are part of the fabric of our communities. We also need to protect and keep our commitment to the 750,000 DREAMers, who put their faith in us.

Helping the World's Most Vulnerable
The United States must continue its proud tradition of helping those fleeing persecution and war. We only make ourselves less safe if we turn our back on those seeking to start a new life free from violence. We must increase the number of refugees allowed to resettle in the United States. The inscription on the Statue of Liberty best states the American ideal, "Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses, yearning to breathe free."

Fighting for LGBTQ Equality
Now more than ever, we must continue our fight for equal rights for the LGBTQ community. No one should be denied housing, health care, education—or the right to serve our country—because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. Congress should pass the Equality Act to extend anti-discrimination protections to ALL Americans.

Ensuring Clean Drinking Water for ALL
While our roads and bridges continue to fall into disrepair, what's under the surface is in even worse condition. Our water infrastructure is left out of sight and out of mind, until it's too late. From Flint, MI to schools in Portland, it is clear that federal action must be taken to fix our crumbling water infrastructure and ensure safe drinking water for all. That's why I've introduced the Water Infrastructure Trust Fund Act, legislation that would establish a dedicated fund to rebuild and renew critical wastewater and drinking water facilities to prevent future tragedies. We need to act, now, before the next crisis—the health of our families depend on it.

This isn't only affecting Americans. Communities throughout the world are facing serious water crises, leading to droughts, famines, conflicts, and disease. Not only is access to clean water and sanitation a moral imperative, but it is critical to global stability and our national security. The United States must continue its leadership in addressing the world's most severe water crises to save lives and keep us all safe.

Improving Our Nation's Infrastructure
Our nation’s infrastructure is falling apart, and we're falling behind. Whether it’s fixing our crumbling bridges and roads, getting lead out of our water systems, or repairing public buildings and schools, everyone agrees: we need to invest in rebuilding and renewing America. The federal government must be a better partner to local communities. We need to ensure sustainable funding while providing a national vision for infrastructure investment to bring us into the 21st century.

Preserving Net Neutrality
Internet service providers should not have the power to control the content or speed of web traffic. I am fighting alongside millions of Americans for Internet freedom where EVERYONE has a chance to compete and connect with the world. We need to preserve #NetNeutrality to protect YOUR right to a fair and open Internet.

Preparing for Our Transportation Future
From ridesharing services like Lyft to bikeshare programs and self-driving cars, technology is rapidly changing our transportation landscape. This is an exciting time – and opportunity to improve mobility, increase safety, and provide more transportation options. This transition will also create challenges, particularly for those who drive vehicles for a living or who sell, service, insure, or repair them. The federal government must be proactive and implement forward-thinking policies that support disrupted occupations while rebuilding and renewing America. I’m working to implement a more stable and equitable system of transportation funding – resulting in lower carbon emissions, reduced congestion, and more livable communities around the country.

Ending Failed Marijuana Prohibition
The majority of Americans agree: we must end the failed policy of marijuana prohibition. And they’re making their voices heard. More and more states have moved, often by a vote of the people, to reform their laws, with 95 percent of Americans now living in a state that allows access to some form of medical marijuana or cannabis derivative. Despite this, the federal government still treats marijuana the same as heroin. It's insane and leaves too many people trapped between state and federal laws. We need reform, and I’ve joined Senator Wyden to introduce comprehensive legislation that protects state marijuana laws and provides a path to federal legalization of marijuana.

Ending the War on Drugs
The War on Drugs has failed. We’ve spent over a trillion dollars and gained only the world’s largest prison population. We need to: 1) reform our drug laws, beginning with the legalization of marijuana; 2) provide universal access to treatment for those struggling with addiction; 3) reform our criminal justice system and sentencing laws—including ending mandatory minimums and the unconstitutional practice of civil asset forfeiture.

Ending the Use of For-Profit Prisons
We need to end the use of for-profit prisons, which prioritize profits over the humane treatment of inmates. Breaking the cycle of recidivism and working to decrease the number of people behind bars is not in the interest of private prisons. Prisons are supposed to offer reform, not profits. That’s why I support reforming our criminal justice system, including ending the use of private prisons. Congress should pass the Justice Is Not for Sale Act.

Establishing a More Rational Approach to Nuclear Weapons
Nuclear weapons are dangerous, costly, and do not help us deal with the strategic challenges we face today. Now more than ever, we need a more rational approach when it comes to nukes: 1) No single person should have control of the nuclear codes. I joined Rep. Lieu to introduce HR 669 to make sure that no president—including Donald Trump—can conduct a first-use nuclear strike without approval from Congress. 2) There's now a $1.2 trillion dollar price tag on modernizing and upgrading the entire nuclear arsenal over the next 30 years. I've introduced legislation to cut these unnecessary nuclear weapons programs, save more than $100 billion dollars over the next decade, and put us on a more fiscally sustainable path. 3) The United States should lead efforts to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons, support international treaties that hold other countries accountable, and lead by example to limit the world's supply of these dangerous weapons.

Ensuring More Visionary, Equitable, and Cost-Effective Food & Farm Policies
For too long, our food and farm policies have given too much to the wrong people to grow the wrong food in the wrong places. Large agribusiness is benefitting at the expense of our health, nutrition, and environment. We need reform. With the Farm Bill up for reauthorization in 2018, I'm introducing an alternative, a FOOD & Farm Bill to set our priorities straight and ensure more visionary, equitable, and cost-effective policies.

Promoting Animal Welfare
The way we treat animals is intrinsically linked to how we treat each other. Promoting animal welfare benefits not only our animals, but our society as a whole—it is also a unifying issue on Capitol Hill. That’s why as Co-Chair of the Congressional Animal Protection Caucus, I’m working to to crack down on animal fighting, reduce animal abuse, stop the interstate pet trade of wild animals, fund important animal welfare enforcement laws, and more. We can, and we must, all work together to protect these vulnerable creatures.

Making Our Roads Safer for ALL
More than 40,000 Americans were killed last year on our roadways—and bicyclists and pedestrians make up a disproportionate share of these deaths. This is unacceptable, and it's preventable. To improve road safety, communities across the country are implementing “Vision Zero” plans with the goal of eliminating ALL pedestrian, cycling, transit, motorist, and passenger fatalities. I’ve introduced bipartisan legislation to bring Vision Zero to all communities. The Vision Zero Act will create grant programs to give communities the resources they need to develop and implement their own Vision Zero plans. There is only one number of acceptable deaths on our streets: ZERO. Congress should pass my Vision Zero Act.

Reducing Gun Violence
Far too many times, we've seen senseless acts of gun violence, and we all have stories that affected our communities and our lives. It's past time for action. We need to treat this epidemic like the public health crisis it is. Congress must pass commonsense reforms to keep our communities safe, including legislation to: close the gun sales loophole and require background checks on all sales, prohibit the sale of military-style weapons and high-capacity magazines, remove barriers to gun violence research, ensure better enforcement of current laws and regulations, and more. Enough is enough. We demand action.

Investing in Disaster Preparedness and Mitigation
Be it wildfire, hurricane, flooding, or earthquake, natural disasters are only increasing because of climate disruption. The number of people living in harm's way is dramatically expanding; more properties and more lives are at risk from both natural & human-caused disasters. We need to be prepared. As we invest in response and recovery for communities hit by natural disasters, we must also prioritize investment in prevention and mitigation—this will save lives.

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