Institute for Policy Studies | Kairos CENTER | Repairers of the Breach | Poor Peoples Campaign

In 2021, the new Congress and administration will inherit an unprecedented number of crises — from a devastating pandemic and recession to exploding levels of economic, racial, and gender inequality. To date, the public policy response to these crises has been weak to nonexistent.

To meet the scale of these challenges, the Congressional Progressive Caucus has unveiled a People’s Agenda of legislative priorities for 2021. It includes monthly stimulus checks of $2,000 — far more generous than the one-time $600 payouts recently authorized by Congress — and action on many other fronts, from hazard pay and strong workplace protections for frontline workers to student and medical debt cancellation.

The Institute for Policy Studies joined with the Kairos Center, Repairers of the Breach, and the Poor People’s Campaign to analyze the potential benefits of the People’s Agenda for the country, with a particular focus on women, people of color, and poor and low-income families. 

Our joint fact sheet lays out the scale of the economic and public health crises facing the country, as well the stark inequalities they’ve exacerbated. Broadly speaking, the impacts have been most severe for Americans of color, low-income people, and women. But this also means that robust action to address these crises now could also begin to repair decades of damage.

We highlight research finding, for example, that canceling up to $50,000 in student debt would erase all debt for more than three-quarters of student loan borrowers and significantly narrow racial and gender wealth divides. And while emergency relief is the first priority for jobless Americans, robust public investment in renewable energy, energy efficiency, and public transit could help the country achieve a full employment economy while reducing inequalities in energy and transit access.

Backed by IPS research, the Progressive Caucus will also be fighting to restructure our tax system to ensure that the wealthy, corporations, and Wall Street — who have profited enormously during the pandemic — pay their fair share for recovery. The People’s Agenda also calls for cutting military spending and ending the wars in Yemen and Afghanistan, which IPS research shows would free up enormous resources for social programs.

Congress and the Biden administration will need to use every tool in the toolbox to combat the challenges of our time — and make our country stronger in the face of future crises. Read our full fact sheet to see how.


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Media Contacts:

Olivia Alperstein