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House Progressive Caucus member Rep. Jan Schakowsky has an upbeat view of what progressives can accomplish this year, even with a Republican majority in control of both houses of Congress – as long as progressives in Congress and on the streets stand firm together.
Referring to the positive economic policies that President Obama outlined in his State of the Union address this week, “despite what the Republicans may claim, these policies are not dead on arrival,” Schakowsky said in “Voicing Our Values: A Progressive Response to the State of the Union,” a webcast sponsored earlier this week by Progressive Majority and the Campaign for America’s Future.
Some proposals, such as infrastructure investment, an increase in the minimum wage, equal pay legislation and education support could be pushed through this session of Congress, she said. Other proposals can be advanced through executive actions, as President Obama himself did last year to raise the wages of federal contractors.
“There are lots of ways to skin the cat,” she said. “The important thing is to get the public energized beyond us.”
Schakowsky also applauded the president’s more combative tone with conservative obstructionists in Congress, and said that was an example Democrats should build on.
She recounted a conversation she had with a Democratic colleague who said that Democrats “need to be careful; we have to pick our fights; we don’t need to fight over everything.”
“I don’t agree with that,” she said. “I think we need to draw a bright line, so that the people can tell the difference, that the Democrats are on their side, are, as we used to say in my say, ‘for the little guy’ and we are not with Wall Street – and we have to do it every time.”
The webcast above also features Robert Borosage, co-director of the Campaign for America’s Future, and Gloria Totten, director of Progressive Majority.