Hey, Ya All - Lookee Yonder, We're Gettin' a Populist Caucus!

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:


  1. 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;
  2. Cutting Taxes for the Middle Class: Cutting taxes for the middle class and establishing an equitable tax structure;
  3. Affordable Healthcare: Providing affordable, accessible, quality health care for all Americans;
  4. Quality, Affordable Education: Ensuring quality primary education for all American children, and affordable college education for all who want it;
  5. Fair Trade: Defending American competitiveness by fighting for fair trade principles;
  6. 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!)

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Glad to see DeFazio joined

I'll be sending an e-mail to David Wu tonight as well.

Maximum jobs, not maximum profits.


Are you kidding me? Intel and Nike's personal representative? That's like letting the fox in the hen house, he's truly anti U.S. middle class.

I don't think so! Try Marcy Kaptur as someone who should join or Heath Shuler from NC and he represents that conservative Populist Democratic voice and is vilified on Progressive blogs but as far as I can tell, he's pretty Populist.

Wu is the ultimate poltician-whore

He'll jump on any bandwagon that makes him look good....But he's also my representative (despite the fact I always vote against him).

Proof that Nike and Intel will even offshore their "best government money can buy".

Maximum jobs, not maximum profits.

Rosa DeLauro, Bill Pascrell

Rep. Rosa DeLauro absolutely should join. She has tried so hard, introduced tons of legislation, gone out there on the TV interview circuit trying to drum up support, very strong middle class advocate.

Pascrell is more you must "pull him along" but he also has introduced legislation in favor of the U.S. middle class.

You want Representatives to join forces who have consistently not been bought and paid for by corporate lobbyists, corrupt as hell, letting corporate lobbyists or special interests write their bills...but who are independent, who bother to read bills, research issues with their staff and review, write up legislation that actually is based in economic reality, on real statistics...

to join forces to overcome the corporate controls that exist on Congress, which continually squeeze the middle class.

They are taking the bank bail out as one of their issues and there is no doubt there were so many alternative plans that were cheaper, made much more sense, were endorsed by many economists...and they were ignored...

So, here we are $350 Billion dollars later in TARP and I lost track on Federal Reserve obligations, it's like $8 trillion or something now????

and we have economists, experts from all political flavors...recommending nationalization of the banks.

So, if these people had been listened to, if experts had been listened to in the first place....maybe, just maybe the burn rate of U.S. taxpayer money could have been adverted.

It is a welcomed start.

This is where the heart of America lies. It is the engine the drives the economy, and it is the fiber of the American family and dream.

This should be cross posted all around the blogosphere.

They're asking for another four years -- in a just world, they'd get 10 to 20 ~~ Dennis Kucinich

I agree

The U.S. middle class does have a collective common sense, which is sorely lacking in a lot of policy. But more importantly the idea that representatives actually represent their constituents would be nice to be amplified.

I also think it's good because the term Progressive has been so co-opted. It now means anything for multinational corporate agenda to open borders/illegal immigrant lobby....it's even used by some insurance company on TV and the agenda is so diluted in message.

We Should Get the H-1B on the Agenda

And would Schakowsky (IL-9) stay in the caucus if the H-1B were on the agenda?

Phil Hare should definitely join.


is that another one pushing the corporate lobbyist, U.S. Chamber of Commerce/NASSCOM/ITAA/Compete America written agenda?

I think anyone who does that should be kicked out.

H1b Loophole

in linkedin this guy had this question:

H1B to F2 and F2 to H1B

I am going to be laid off in a month but am planning to move

temporarily to F2 visa as my wife is on F1. Is application of F2 visa

enough to be "in status"? This is because I heard F2 visa processing

takes around 6-8 months. so do I have to be in H1B status till the F2

visa is approved or is it sufficient for status as long as we applied

for F2 visa processing. After I get my F2 visa, can i get back to H1B

in future without going through the lottery process again?


He works for EDS? Isn't this a violation?

here's the link to the question:


In case the URL links does not work just cut and paste them.

I do not think that is a loophole

Basically his wife is a student and spouses of students are allowed in the country. He cannot even get a job or go to school on a F-2 and would have to go back to be re-sponsored to get a H-1B.

It does show how there is no U.S. workers/citizens preferred for jobs, educational opportunities in their own country and some attitudes.

or does it stop him from being cheaper in "importation costs" since he is already in the U.S. when trying to get one of those "H-1B Visa holders only need apply" jobs in the U.S.

Chuck Schumer has sworn he will remove the requirement U.S. workers are considered for employment by TARP recipients come hell or high water.

Nice to know Schumer is not interesting in representing the interests of U.S. workers while working as a Senator.

FI and F2 Visas

The F1 visa = is the student visa
and the F2 Visa = is for the spouse of the F1 visa holder.

There are just too many visas that people can abuse. They should not be allowed to jump in and out of different visas.

come on

I'm sure the guy got married just to commit Visa abuse.

(not! in case you do not hear the sarcasm)

Stay in reality on this issue, it's very common for foreigners to do anything to come to the U.S. thinking magically they will be rich someday ...which of course is no longer the case.

While I'm sure it's not in this case

As the husband is already an H-1b, I have known many marriages of convenience just to get into this country. Seems half of my Mormon friends came back with ex-Catholic wives from South America after their missions. And then were divorced 3-6 years later.

Maximum jobs, not maximum profits.

Easiest Way to Have More Jobs

My mistake on F1, F2. I just hope they cancel the H1b or send them home. It will open up a lot of IT jobs for unemployed Highly Skilled Americans. Wish we have more representatives like Grassley, Sanders and Durbin. There is really no IT jobs in California.


There is no doubt about it that corporations have been displacing perfectly capable U.S. workers with guest workers, the statistics and evidence are overwhelming.

That isn't the case for every H-1B holder though.

but I agree at some point the United States must say U.S. workers first and foremost.

But understand the loopholes, the real ones, which is to fire U.S. workers, especially those over age 35 and replace them with H-1Bs at much less pay.

The thorny issue here is people are people and telling a bunch of people hey, get out of the country is tough...they should have never been brought into the country in the first place and this whole cheap labor system enabled....

So putting a temporary freeze considering the economics might be in order and Congress stop doing corporate lobbyists bidding and start passing bills like S.1035 to reform these problems and plug up the displacement/labor arbitrage loopholes.

Immigration Reform

Have your heard about HR 264? How are it's chances to be passed.


don't know

I primarily focus in on global labor arbitrage issues and that is offshore outsourcing/insourcing or bringing in labor to displace workers, labor arbitrage so I don't watch every single thing.

I saw today that they were trying to get unlimited H-2B guest workers today. These are foreign guest worker Visas for unskilled labor. This is just beyond the pale considering the unemployment rates going on here.

We're hitting 25% in minorities now in unemployment and magically we have not only Congress, but Democrats claiming there is a worker shortage! That is really one sad, sad very obvious corrupt, corporate agenda to put in legislation like that when the U.S. worker is in such terrible trouble and there are no jobs.

So, organizations who watch "it all" who are focused on immigration per say whereas myself, I'm more focused on pure global labor issues, the "race to the bottom" wages where of course immigration comes into play...corporate controlled migration, manipulation of labor markets, supply/demand..those sorts of things and I do differentiate that heavily vs. finding expertise globally when one can not shop locally (which these days I am really wondering if any of these corporations and even universities first consider the citizens of the area)...

so I don't watch all of these bills, "immigration" as a topic in and of itself and so on at all, but Numbers USA does.

but probably the best organization of these is Numbers USA.