The Progressive Caucus isn’t living up to its name, a breakdown

Speaking Security Newsletter | Advisory Note for Organizers and Candidates, n°61 | 23 December 2020

I wanted to see how House members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC) voted on military spending under Trump so I looked at the roll call votes for every National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) from fiscal year 2018 to FY2021.

*My analysis considers how CPC members voted on both the House version and final (‘conference’) version of each NDAA.


  • Almost one-third of the Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC) never voted against an NDAA during the Trump administration. (Since Obama’s last NDAA [FY2017], the annual Pentagon budget has increased by over $100 billion.)

  • These 27 CPC members accepted on average $86,201 in war industry campaign contributions from 2017-2020, or 6.3x the average amount received by the 9 CPC members who voted against every NDAA under Trump.

^More on Rep. Adam Smith (WA-09), here. Campaign finance data via Open Secrets, retrieved a couple days ago.

CPC members bad on foreign policy are more likely to be bad on health care

I also looked at which CPC members support Medicare for All. (For the purposes of this study, support = co-sponsor to the Medicare for All Act.) Findings:

  • Support for M4A among the above 27 CPC members: 52 percent

  • Support for M4A among the other 58 CPC members I looked at: 97 percent

Here are the nine CPC members who voted against Trump-era NDAAs 100 percent of the time

Representatives Earl Blumenauer (OR-03), Adriano Espaillat (NY-13), Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02), Barbara Lee (CA-13), Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (NY-14), Ilhan Omar (MN-05), Mark Pocan (WI-02), Ayanna Pressley (MA-07), and Rashida Tlaib (MI-13).

Thanks for your time (and please check out my recent article in Jacobin, here),

Stephen (@stephensemler;

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