Well, Golly be, Gosh dernit, we all may be gettin' a scratch. Rep Braley is forming a Populist Caucus in the House of Representatives.
Today, 23 Democratic members of Congress joined together to form the Populist Caucus, the only caucus in Congress devoted solely to addressing middle class economic issues. "The middle class is the economic engine of America, but too often in Washington, the needs of the middle class are ignored." Rep. Bruce Braley (D-Iowa), Chair of the Populist Caucus, said. "During these tough times, we need a renewed focus on strengthening the middle class and improving the lives of working families. The Populist Caucus will work together to find common ground on policies that create good-paying jobs, make healthcare more affordable for all, and put middle class families first again.
Here are the members: Reps. Bruce Braley (D-IA), Chair; Michael Arcuri (D-NY), Vice-Chair; Peter DeFazio (D-OR), Vice-Chair; Betty Sutton (D-OH), Vice-Chair; Leonard Boswell (D-IA); Steve Cohen (D-TN); Joe Courtney (D-CT); Keith Ellison (D-MN); Bob Filner (D-CA); Phil Hare (D-IL); Mazie Hirono (D-HI); Hank Johnson (D-GA); Steve Kagen (D-WI); David Loebsack (D-IA); Eric Massa (D-NY); Tom Perriello (D-VA); Linda Sanchez (D-CA); Jan Schakowsky (D-IL); Carol Shea-Porter (D-NH); Louise Slaughter (D-NY); Peter Welch (D-VT); and John Yarmuth (D-KY).
Here is the initial agenda:
- Creating Good Jobs and a Secure Retirement: Creating and retaining good-paying jobs in America, providing fair wages, proper benefits, a level playing field at the negotiating table, and ensuring American workers have secure, solvent retirement plans;
- Cutting Taxes for the Middle Class: Cutting taxes for the middle class and establishing an equitable tax structure;
- Affordable Healthcare: Providing affordable, accessible, quality health care for all Americans;
- Quality, Affordable Education: Ensuring quality primary education for all American children, and affordable college education for all who want it;
- Fair Trade: Defending American competitiveness by fighting for fair trade principles;
- Protecting Consumers: Protecting consumers, so that Americans can have faith in the safety and effectiveness of the products they purchase.
That is a very good agenda. I would add of course demanding a national strategy for U.S. manufacturing, but by addressing trade that might be implied. We all know manufacturing gets no love in D.C. while it is the key to revitalizing the U.S. economy.
I know Rep. Peter DeFazio's record and he is assuredly one fighter for the U.S. middle class and a true Progressive Populist.
I am unsure of other's voting records. A good test case are immigration votes. Will they put the U.S. worker as labor preferred or will they ignore the realities of labor supplies, wages and bend to the special and corporate interests? One can really separate the wheat from the chaff on guest worker Visas, offshore outsourcing and immigration votes. It's pretty clear a huge outrage coming from the general public is from selling workers down the river, exposing them to floods of guest workers, offshore outsourcing, guest workers and general wage and labor arbitrage.
Will they truly listen to the will of the people? (which is now a roaring scream!)