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Comprehensive ‘THRIVE Agenda’ responds to ongoing crises of COVID-19, climate change, racial injustice, and economic inequity

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Rep. Barbara Lee joined several leaders in Congress and a coalition of grassroots groups, labor unions, and Black, Brown and Indigenous leaders from across the country to introduce a bold plan for economic renewal known as the Agenda to Transform, Heal, and Renew by Investing in a Vibrant Economy, or THRIVE Agenda.

Eighty members of Congress across both chambers have already endorsed the THRIVE resolution as original co-sponsors. THRIVE lays out the unifying principles necessary to build a society that enables dignified work; increased racial, economic, gender, and environmental justice; healthy communities; and a stable climate.

In the Senate, the resolution is led by Senator Edward John Markey and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, both of Massachusetts, with support from Sen. Cory A. Booker and Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) among others.

In the House of Representatives, the resolution is led by New Mexico Rep. Deb Haaland with Rep. Barbara Lee and Ro Khanna of California, Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar, Texas Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, Arizona Rep. Raul Grijalva, and Rosa DeLauro of Connecticut with several others.

The THRIVE agenda is built on eight pillars, which span from creating millions of good, safe jobs with access to unions to averting climate catastrophe while investing in Black, Brown, and Indigenous communities.

A copy of the THRIVE Agenda resolution can be found HERE. A one-page overview of the THRIVE Agenda can be found HERE.

“The current COVID-19 crisis once again illustrates the legacy that racism and white supremacy has had in our country, and the desperate need to address the inequality that continues today,” said Congresswoman Barbara Lee. “We cannot change 400-year-old systems of oppression without a fight. This resolution is an important step in addressing the issues of economic inequality, climate change, and empowering workers.”

A new poll finds that the eight pillars of the THRIVE Agenda are broadly popular across the country. Additionally, a new economic analysis from the University of Massachusetts Amherst finds that a bold economic renewal plan, as outlined in the THRIVE Agenda, would create nearly 16 million new jobs.

Under this agenda, these 16 million new jobs would offer safe workplaces, family-sustaining wages and benefits, and access to unions.

These workers would be part of a national agenda to deploy clean and affordable public transit, replace lead pipes for clean water, expand wind and solar power, care for our children and the elderly, retrofit buildings to cut costs and pollution, expand the manufacturing of clean technologies, restore our wetlands and forests, and grow food sustainably on family farms.

The THRIVE Agenda is supported by more than 200 national and local organizations, including the American Federation of Teachers, Center for American Progress, Church World Service, Climate Justice Alliance, Color of Change, Communications Workers of America, Green New Deal Network, Indigenous Environmental Network, League of Conservation Voters, Movement for Black Lives, People’s Action, Service Employees International Union, Sierra Club, Sunrise Movement, United We Dream.

“To meet this moment, we cannot accept short-term solutions that pretend our problems are siloed and don’t seek to transform the systems that harm Black people,” said Karissa Lewis, National Field Director, Movement for Black Lives. “…We can’t address a pandemic that is ravaging Black and Brown people without ensuring access to quality health care and the basic right of not living with or drinking toxic pollutants. Everything is connected, and we do ourselves a grave disservice by maintaining normality when momentum is on our side and the people are demanding more.”

“Indigenous peoples know that everything in life is connected and related,” agreed Tom BK Goldtooth, Executive Director, Indigenous Environmental Network. “The THRIVE Agenda addresses the climate crisis, racial injustice, mass unemployment, economic injustice and the global pandemic while recognizing the importance of recognition of our Indigenous and tribal sovereignty and treaty rights. Indigenous knowledge provides a path forward, acknowledging any form of economic recovery must respect the sacred relationship to Mother Earth, to assure nature and ecosystems are not viewed as capital in a carbon and conservation offset market system and THRIVE recognizes that.”

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Congresswoman Barbara Lee Sworn in to U.S. House of Representatives

Congresswoman Lee is a member of the House Appropriations Committee and Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on State and Foreign Operations. She serves as Co-Chair of the Steering & Policy Committee, former Chair of the Congressional Black Caucus, Chair Emeritus of the Progressive Caucus, Co-Chair of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus Health Task Force, and Co-Chair of the Pro-Choice Caucus. She also serves as Chair of the Majority Leader’s Task Force on Poverty and Opportunity.

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As a member of the Steering and Policy Committee, Congresswoman Lee is the highest-ranking Black woman appointed to House Leadership.
As a member of the Steering and Policy Committee, Congresswoman Lee is the highest-ranking Black woman appointed to House Leadership. 

Congresswoman Barbara Lee was officially sworn in as United States Representative for California’s 12th Congressional District, representing the people of the East Bay in the 118th Congress.

“I am honored that the people of the East Bay have entrusted me with the great responsibility of representing them in Congress, and deeply grateful to have such engaged and enlightened constituents. As a result of the 2020 Census and redistricting, our beautiful 13th district’s number is now 12.

“After four days, thousands of votes, 15 ballots, and the longest Speaker election since 1858, during the Buchannan presidency, we can finally begin legislating in the 118th Congress. I was honored to serve as one of two official Democratic tellers for the Speaker’s race and I’m looking forward to continuing the work of putting people over politics. I will continue fighting for safer communities; ending poverty; affordable housing; combatting homelessness; climate action; reproductive freedom; racial justice; global peace and security, an equitable health care system; an economy that works for all, and so much more. We have work ahead of us, but with our most diverse and committed House Democratic Caucus yet, we’ll resist the right-wing’s extremist agenda and improve the lives and livelihoods of our communities.”

Congresswoman Lee is a member of the House Appropriations Committee and Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on State and Foreign Operations. She serves as Co-Chair of the Steering & Policy Committee, former Chair of the Congressional Black Caucus, Chair Emeritus of the Progressive Caucus, Co-Chair of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus Health Task Force, and Co-Chair of the Pro-Choice Caucus. She also serves as Chair of the Majority Leader’s Task Force on Poverty and Opportunity. As a member of the Steering and Policy Committee, she is the highest-ranking Black woman appointed to House Leadership.

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Barbara Lee

Rep. Barbara Lee Inquiring About Barriers to Capital for Minority Cannabis Businesses 

“As momentum for marijuana decriminalization continues, FinCEN data could help shed light on the state of minority-owned and small cannabis businesses (which constitute businesses with revenues under $40 million) seeking financial services,” the lawmakers wrote. “Existing disparities in access to capital and financial services for individuals and businesses increase financial barriers and exacerbate the racial wealth gap, further harming those most harmed by the failed War on Drugs.

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Rep. Barbara Lee and Oregon Rep. Earl Blumenauer. (Congress.gov photos)
Rep. Barbara Lee and Oregon Rep. Earl Blumenauer. (Congress.gov photos)

By Sean Ryan

Representatives Barbara Lee (CA-13) and Earl Blumenauer (OR-03) sent a letter on Wednesday to the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) requesting recent data on the financial services offered to minority cannabis businesses in an effort to better understand the barriers faced by minority cannabis businesses owners.

Minority cannabis entrepreneurs often cite a lack of access to capital and financial services as a major barrier to entering the legal cannabis industry. A 2021 Brookings Institution report revealed that Black-owned businesses faced more disparities in access to banking services and deposits, mortgage credit, and small business loans than their white counterparts.

These alarming findings were further substantiated by a 2021 Federal Reserve report that found that Black and Latino-owned businesses were less than half as likely as their white counterparts to be fully approved for loan applications.

“As momentum for marijuana decriminalization continues, FinCEN data could help shed light on the state of minority-owned and small cannabis businesses (which constitute businesses with revenues under $40 million) seeking financial services,” the lawmakers wrote. “Existing disparities in access to capital and financial services for individuals and businesses increase financial barriers and exacerbate the racial wealth gap, further harming those most harmed by the failed War on Drugs.

They continued, “Given the increasing momentum of cannabis legalization and much-needed clarity from the federal government, Congress must devise a federal solution to equitably end the cannabis prohibition and encourage industry growth.

As we work to invest in the communities disproportionately harmed in the failed War on Drugs, FinCEN data on access to financial services could help promote equitable access to financial services for small and minority-owned cannabis businesses.

“We welcome the opportunity to work with FinCEN to ensure Congress is equipped with the critical data needed to effectively address equity concerns when crafting solutions to end the federal cannabis prohibition.”

Representatives Lee and Blumenauer serve as the Democratic co-chairs of the Congressional Cannabis Caucus.

Sean Ryan is the communications director in the media relations office of Rep. Barbara Lee.

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Barbara Lee

Rep. Barbara Lee Releases Statement on Nancy Pelosi’s Retirement from House Leadership

“As the first woman Speaker to lead Congress, Speaker Pelosi’s career was one of transformational leadership. From passing the Affordable Care Act and presiding over some of the most consequential legislation in modern history to leading the charge to protect our democracy after January 6th, Nancy Pelosi is truly the greatest speaker to ever serve.

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Congresswomen Nancy Pelosi and Barbara Lee pay tribute to the life, legacy, and leadership of Shirley Chisholm – the first African American women elected to Congress - at the unveiling of the U.S. Postal Service’s Shirley Chisholm Forever stamp and discussed the House Democrats’ women’s economic agenda: “When Women Succeed, America Succeeds” at Mills College in Oakland. / Nancy Pelosi/Flickr
Congresswomen Nancy Pelosi and Barbara Lee pay tribute to the life, legacy, and leadership of Shirley Chisholm – the first African American women elected to Congress - at the unveiling of the U.S. Postal Service’s Shirley Chisholm Forever stamp and discussed the House Democrats’ women’s economic agenda: “When Women Succeed, America Succeeds” at Mills College in Oakland. / Nancy Pelosi/Flickr

As the U.S. House of Representatives prepares to shift to Republican leadership in the next session of Congress, longtime Speaker of the House, Democrat Nancy Pelosi, announced on Thursday that she would step down from the leadership although she would continue to serve.

Congresswoman Barbara Lee (CA-13), Speaker Pelosi’s longtime friend and colleague, released the following statement on Thursday after learning of Pelosi’s decision to retire from House leadership:

“As the first woman Speaker to lead Congress, Speaker Pelosi’s career was one of transformational leadership. From passing the Affordable Care Act and presiding over some of the most consequential legislation in modern history to leading the charge to protect our democracy after January 6th, Nancy Pelosi is truly the greatest speaker to ever serve.

“I consider Speaker Pelosi a dear friend, a congressional neighbor, and a fierce leader. I congratulate her on an incredible career in House leadership and look forward to continuing to serve the Bay Area alongside her in Congress. I wish her beloved husband, Paul, a speedy and full recovery and wish Speaker Pelosi and her family the best of luck in this next chapter. Her legacy will live on forever.”

From Sean Ryan, communications director of Rep. Barbara Lee’s media relations office.

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