Contact: Johanna Kichton, [email protected], 202.660.0605
WASHINGTON, D.C.—People’s Action today released a statement by Campaigns Director Sondra Youdelman in response to President Biden’s State of the Union address:
“Tonight, President Biden pushed to tax the rich, grow the economy, and get costs down for families, and we agree–this economy has been rigged against the people who make it work for far too long while the corporations and the rich reap the benefits.
“Thankfully, President Biden and Congress passed major COVID relief legislation like the American Rescue Plan, providing resources for poor and working people, along with funds for states and localities to address needs and keep people on the job. But, considering rent hikes are squeezing tenants, we’re disappointed that tonight Biden did not speak on the housing crisis. The administration must expand tenant protections and invest in public and affordable rental housing and repairs. Without tenants’ protections attached, rental assistance is a bail out for landlords.
“We agree with President Biden that, to end the overdose crisis, we need to invest in solutions that work like passing the Mainstreaming Addiction Treatment (MAT) Act. With his support for treatment and harm reduction so clearly named tonight, Congress must take swift action to pass the MAT Act and invest in harm reduction to save lives. Care and compassion saves lives, not criminalization.
“Also, President Biden’s call to cap insulin costs and allow Medicare to negotiate drug prices is spot-on. But right now, corrupt politicians in Congress are blocking progress. President Biden must stand up to Big Pharma and use his executive power to break pharma monopolies and get communities the prescription drugs they need.
“Finally, President Biden must cancel student debt through executive action and provide urgent relief for millions of borrowers. He promised to forgive at least a portion of education-related debt on the campaign trail. It’s time to deliver.
“The president’s mention of the crisis in Ukraine is a reminder that corporate polluters are exploiting the war and driving up costs for everyone. As the new international report on climate change reminds us, fossil fuel reliance destabilizes our world in every way. To meet the global challenges of our time, we need greater international cooperation–including between the U.S. and China–not authoritarianism and posturing. That’s the only way to stop both the COVID pandemic and global warming.
“These are tough times for the multiracial working class, and we are looking to elected officials we fought for in 2020 to fight for us. We need our elected officials to reclaim some of the ambition and urgency we had in the aftermath of our coalition defeating Trump together. President Biden must seize the moment with strong executive actions that he can take immediately on these issues–and the politicians who are stalling in Congress need to get out of the way.”
People’s Action is a national network of 40 state and local grassroots, power-building organizations in 30 states, united in fighting for justice. We operate the largest progressive rural organizing project in the country. People’s Action and its member organizations coordinated one of the biggest distributed organizing programs in rural areas last election season.