Congressional Progressive Caucus

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Progressive Caucus
Co-ChairsMark Pocan
Pramila Jayapal
First Vice ChairRo Khanna
WhipIlhan Omar
Vice ChairsSheila Jackson Lee, Joe Neguse, Veronica Escobar, Ruben Gallego, Mark Takano, Debbie Dingell, David Cicilline, Donald Norcross, Jan Schakowsky
Founded1991; 29 years ago (1991)
Modern liberalism[2]
Social democracy[3]
Political positionLeft-wing[4]
National affiliationDemocratic Party
Colors     Blue
Seats in the Senate
1 / 100
Seats in House Democratic Caucus
95 / 233
Seats in the House
95 / 435

The Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC) is a congressional caucus affiliated with the Democratic Party in the United States Congress.[5] The CPC represents the most left-leaning, progressive faction of the Democratic Party.[6][7] It was founded in 1991 and has generally grown since then.

Midway through the 116th United States Congress, the CPC had 97 members, making it the second largest ideological caucus in the Democratic Party and the third largest ideological caucus overall. The CPC is co-chaired by U.S. Representatives Mark Pocan (D-WI) and Pramila Jayapal (D-WA).


The CPC was established in 1991 by U.S. Representatives Ron Dellums (D-CA), Lane Evans (D-IL), Thomas Andrews (D-ME), Peter DeFazio (D-OR), Maxine Waters (D-CA) and Bernie Sanders (I-VT). Additional Representatives joined soon thereafter, including Major Owens (D-NY), Nydia Velázquez (D-NY), David Bonior (D-MI), Bob Filner (D-CA), Barney Frank (D-MA), Maurice Hinchey (D-NY), Jim McDermott (D-WA), Jerry Nadler (D-NY), Patsy Mink (D-HI), George Miller (D-CA), Pete Stark (D-CA), John Olver (D-MA), Lynn Woolsey (D-CA) and Nancy Pelosi (D-CA). Sanders was the first CPC Chairman.[8]

The founding CPC members were concerned about the economic hardship imposed by the deepening recession and the growing inequality brought about by the timidity of the Democratic Party response in the early 1990s. On January 3, 1995, at a standing room only news conference on Capitol Hill, they were the first group inside Congress to chart a comprehensive legislative alternative to U.S. Speaker Newt Gingrich and the Republican Contract with America. The CPC's ambitious agenda was framed as "The Progressive Promise: Fairness."[9]

Budget proposal for 2012[edit]

In April 2011, the Congressional Progressive Caucus released a proposed "People's Budget" for fiscal year 2012.[10] Two of its proponents stated: "By implementing a fair tax code, by building a resilient American economy, and by bringing our troops home, we achieve a budget surplus of over $30 billion by 2021 and we end up with a debt that is less than 65% of our GDP. This is what sustainability looks like".[11]

Electoral results[edit]


Election year Overall seats Democratic seats Independent seats ±
2 / 100
1 / 51
1 / 2
1 / 100
0 / 53
1 / 2
1 / 100
0 / 44
1 / 2
1 / 100
0 / 46
1 / 2
1 / 100
0 / 45
1 / 2

House of Representatives[edit]

Election year Overall seats Democratic seats ±
77 / 435
77 / 193
68 / 435
68 / 200
68 / 435
68 / 188
78 / 435
78 / 193
95 / 435
95 / 233


The CPC advocates "universal access to affordable, high quality healthcare" (universal healthcare or single-payer healthcare), fair trade agreements, living wage laws, the right of all workers to organize into labor unions and engage in collective bargaining, ending certain provisions of the Patriot Act, U.S. participation in international treaties, responsible reductions in military expenditure, strict campaign finance reform laws, a crackdown on corporate influence and protection of Social Security benefits.[12]

List of Chairs[edit]

Term start Term end Chair(s)
1991 1999
Rep. Bernie Sanders (VT)
1999 2003
Rep. Dennis Kucinich (OH)
2003 2005
Rep. Peter DeFazio (OR)
2005 2009 Rep. Barbara Lee (CA) Rep. Lynn Woolsey (CA)
2009 2011 Rep. Raúl Grijalva (AZ)
2011 2017 Rep. Keith Ellison (MN)
2017 2019 Rep. Mark Pocan (WI)
2019 present Rep. Pramila Jayapal (WA)


All members are Democrats or caucus with the Democratic Party. In the 116th Congress, there are 97 declared Progressives, including 95 voting Representatives, one non-voting Delegate and one Senator.[13]

House members[edit]

Congressional Progressive Caucus from the United States House of Representatives in the 116th United States Congress
Chairman Mark Pocan
Chairwoman Pramila Jayapal

Senate members[edit]

Former members[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "What is CPC?". Retrieved July 23, 2014.
  2. ^ "Ellison Offers Progressive View Of Debt Deal". NPR. August 1, 2011. Retrieved March 29, 2017. Congressional Progressive Caucus — the liberal wing of the Democratic Party in the House
  3. ^ Raza, Syed Ali (2012), Social Democratic System, Global Peace Trust, p. 91
  4. ^ Cunningham, Vinson (February 19, 2017). "Will Keith Ellison Move the Democrats Left?". The New Yorker. Condé Nast. Retrieved March 14, 2018.
  5. ^ "Congressional Progressive Caucus: Caucus Members".
  6. ^ Hardisty, Jean (2000). Mobilizing Resentment: Conservative Resurgence From The John Birch Society To The Promise Keepers. Boston, MA.: Beacon Press. p. 221. ISBN 978-0807043172.
  7. ^ "Two congressmen endorse Carl Sciortino in race to replace Markey in Congress". September 13, 2013. Retrieved July 23, 2014. "[T]he Congressional Progressive Caucus, the umbrella group for left-leaning Democratic members of Congress".
  8. ^ Talbot, Margaret. "The Populist Prophet". The New Yorker. Retrieved 19 May 2020.
  9. ^ Brodey, Sam. "How Keith Ellison made the Congressional Progressive Caucus into a political force that matters". MinnPost. Retrieved 19 May 2020.
  10. ^ "The People's Budget" (PDF). Congressional Progressive Caucus. Retrieved April 24, 2011.
  11. ^ Honda, Michael; Grijalva, Raul (April 11, 2011), "The only real Democratic budget", The Hill, retrieved March 24, 2018
  12. ^ "The Progressive Promise". Congressional Progressive Caucus. Retrieved September 28, 2018.
  13. ^ "Congressional Progressive Caucus: Caucus Members". (Retrieved:February 23, 2019)
  14. ^ "Congressional Progressive Caucus".

External links[edit]