With the momentum and energy within the Democratic Party clearly tilting towards those willing to embrace a bolder, progressive set of policies and priorites, a new congressional scorecard released Tuesday reveals that only twelve lawmakers in the U.S. House of Representatives have put their support behind five specific bills that would "collectively ensure a strong, just future of public health and environmental protection" in the country.
"These five bills are vitally important to ensure the health and safety of the American people and of our planet."
—Jean Ross, National Nurses UnitedThe progressive scorecard—created jointly by National Nurses United, Food & Water Watch, and Progressive Democrats of America—is intended to be used as tool by voters to determine whether or not their lawmakers are putting their political muscle behind ambitious and visionary legislative proposals already introduced in Congress. The groups behind the effort say would dramatically improve the lives of Americans if ultimately voted into law.
"To build an equal and just society in which every person can live a healthy life, Members of Congress must support bold progressive policies that address the public health and environmental crises that are ripping our country apart," the groups declared.
According to the Congress-Scorecard.org website—where visitors can check the record of their own member of Congress or any member via a state-by-state index—the five bills on which the scorecard is based include:
- H.R.676 – Expanded & Improved Medicare For All: Today’s healthcare system fails to provide quality, therapeutic healthcare to tens of millions of people in the US. Because of the for-profit health insurance model, tens of millions of people don’t have health insurance, and tens of millions more cannot afford the costs of healthcare even though they have insurance. This legislation would establish a federal Medicare for All program to ensure every person in the U.S. has quality healthcare. A Medicare for All system would provide healthcare based on patient need, not on corporate profit. Full Bill Text»
- H.R.1144 – Inclusive Prosperity Act: This bill would establish a small speculation tax on Wall Street financial transactions, which would help stabilize the market and generate an estimated $320 billion in revenue per year. That revenue would fund free tuition at public colleges and universities, guaranteed healthcare for all, affordable housing, the eradication the AIDS pandemic, climate change prevention, infrastructure development, and job creation through green infrastructure programs. Full Bill Text»
- H.R.2392 – Nurse Staffing Standards for Hospital Patient Safety & Quality Care: Right now, there are no federal standards regulating the number of patients a registered nurse can care for at one time in US hospitals. As a result, nurses are regularly required to care for more patients than is safe, compromising patient care. This legislation would protect patients and improve healthcare by setting mandated, minimum registered nurse to patient staffing ratios. Full Bill Text»
- H.R.3671 – Off Fossil Fuels for a Better Future: From fires to floods to hurricanes, the impacts of climate change on the health and safety our communities and all people on the planet continues to escalate. Science has conclusively shown that dependence on fossil fuels is leading to massive changes in climate patterns. The OFF Act will rapidly reduce greenhouse gas emissions and other forms of pollutions by ensuring a complete and just transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy resources by 2035 with the bulk of reductions happening in the next decade. Full Bill Text»
- H.R.5609 – Water Affordability, Transparency, Equity, & Reliability: Across the country, water infrastructure is crumbling, and millions of people lack reliable access to safe, drinkable, water. This legislation would provide the major financial investment needed to update our water infrastructure, repairing old and lead-ridden water pipes, stopping sewage overflows, and allowing for affordable water services for everyone, while also creating nearly a million jobs. Full Bill Text»
"These five bills are vitally important to ensure the health and safety of the American people and of our planet," Jean Ross, RN, co-president of National Nurses United.
Currently, just one dozen lawmakers—all of them Democrats—are co-sponsors of all five "benchmark" bills. They are: Reps. Judy Chu (D-CA), Yvette Clarke (D-NY), Steve Cohen (D-TN), Keith Ellison (D-MN), Adriano Espaillat (D-NY), Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI), Barbara Lee (D-CA), Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), James McGovern (D-MA), Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC), Jamie Raskin (D-MD) and Jan Schakowsky (D-IL).
After that, there are an additional thirteen Democratic lawmakers who are backing four of the five bills.
"In today's tumultuous world," said Food & Water Watch executive director Wenonah Hauter, "it is important for all Americans to know exactly who in Washington is standing up for our most essential needs: a clean, livable environment, quality universal healthcare, and a more just, equitable society for all. By advocating for bold solutions to our most pressing health and environmental problems, these 12 Congress members have shown they are public health and environmental champions in Washington."
"The progressive and dynamic dozen Congressional members sponsoring all five of these critical bills understand the deep integration between access to health care, economic justice, clean water, and the health of our planet," added Donna Smith, the executive director of Progressive Democrats of America.
Along with her allies, Smith invited people across the country to check out how their lawmakers scored and then urged those constituents to get "to work to move their members to co-sponsor these critical bills and be environmental and public health champions."