The CPC is sent to Congress by the majority of the 37.5 million people of voting age in their districts. The CPC represents a total population of 48.5 million of which 57.6% are white, 21.2% are African American, 23.7% are Latino, and 8.4% are Asian. The population is 48.7% male and 51.3% female. The population base of the CPC includes 18.4% of people living below the poverty level and 15.8% without health insurance.
In addition to their support among the majority of voters, CPC members enjoy the financial and the political support of various labor organizations, human rights organizations, and left and progressive political organizations. These groups assist the CPC in crafting its political and legislative strategy and work to build grass roots support to achieve its goals.
- The goals of the CPC are framed by its core principles:
- Fighting for economic justice and security for all
- Protecting and preserving our civil rights and civil liberties
- Promoting global peace and security
- Advancing environmental protection and energy independence
In his 2008 campaign Vice President Joe Biden said: “Don't tell me what you value, show me your budget, and I'll tell you what you value.” The Congressional Progressive Caucus has introduced its own People’s Budget proposal to Congress year after year. The People’s Budget represents the practical democratic agenda of the US progressive majority and speaks directly to the expectations of its members’ electorate. On March 24, 2015 the People’s Budget garnered 96 votes, 22% of House members, and a majority of Democrats for the first time in five years. At a Progressive Democrats of America roundtable, Rev. Lennox Yearwood, a PDA Board Member and leader of the Hip Hop Caucus, coined an apt slogan: Demonstration without Legislation Equals Frustration. This idea reflects the role of PDA, a grass roots organization that supports the People’s Budget and works to nominate progressive candidates in Democratic primaries and to support incumbent CPC members. PDA’s inside/outside strategy is designed to build a progressive bloc tied to the people’s movements within the Democratic Party structure.
PDA chapters across the country promoted the People’s Budget among political actors and in the people’s movement. PDA provides a monthly platform for Congress members and movement leaders to discuss current issues and legislation with the live-stream Progressive Roundtable from Washington. PDA members also engage in a monthly lobby effort, visiting between 350 and 450 local Congressional offices each month. The local office visits are followed by visits in DC and phone calls to key Members around high priority issues of the month. PDA has led the way in campaigning for passage of the ERA in several states and for an ERA extension bill in Congress. PDA also continues to play a key organizing role in the fight against the Trans Pacific Partnership and Fast Track authorization.p> The People’s Budget attacks income inequality, student debt, climate change, joblessness, the deficit, and the crumbling infrastructure. It opens the way to single payer healthcare, cuts the military budget, provides affordable housing, and establishes public financing of election campaigns.
The People’s Budget represents the highest level of organization of the progressive majority on the political level. It provides a framework for broad unity and a program around which a majority can organize to defeat the hegemony of finance capital and its program of war and austerity. The People’s Budget is a necessary stage and the immediate goal for the establishment of true democracy in the USA, a prerequisite for achieving a more advanced society.