The Daily Change

Progressive Executive Actions President Obama Can Announce in 2016

Tuesday night is President Obama’s final State of the Union. We asked allies across the progressive movement what executive actions they would like to see in the president’s final year — in addition to any bigger fights he picks with Congress. From disclosing corporate political spending to increasing wages for federal workers, here are 10 concrete progressive actions President Obama could take on his own with a single signature.

We know these can work because the president’s own former communications director said so:

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Debt-Free College:

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Money in Politics:

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Wall Street reform:

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Fight for $15/hour:

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Income Inequality and Tax Fairness:

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Black Lives Matter:

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Family leave and benefits:

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Abortion and women’s rights:

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Immigrant rights:

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Climate Change:

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Progressive Congressional Leaders and PCCC Urge President to Show Same Boldness On Economic Populism in Final SOTU That He Showed On Guns

With President Obama set to make his final State of the Union Address Tuesday evening, the “Warren wing” of American politics is calling on him to embrace a bold economic populist agenda for his  final year.

As former Obama communications director Dan Pfeiffer told Mother Jones last year: “There’s never been a time when we’ve taken progressive action and regretted it.”

Below are statements from Congressional Progressive Caucus leaders and the PCCC — which coined the term “Warren wing ”and led the Draft Elizabeth Warren for U.S. Senate campaign and raised her $1.17 million. The PCCC worked with all 2016 Democratic presidential candidates — leading to their embrace of Warren wing ideas like debt-free college, expanding Social Security, and strong Wall Street reform.

Adam Green, PCCC co-founder:

“The Warren wing of American politics  is winning as we enter President Obama’s final year in office. “All three Democratic presidential candidates are campaigning as bold economic populists, and now President Obama has an opportunity to energize voters and impact his legacy by taking bold action too. Just as the president took bold action on guns, numerous executive orders to fight corporate abuse and improve life for working families are just a signature away — from limiting corporate political spending to requiring better wages for federal contractors.”

Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-AZ), Congressional Progressive Caucus Co-Chair:

“President Obama delivers his final State of the Union address tomorrow, and I urge him to leave no doubt that he will fight with every remaining day of his presidency to achieve progressive policies that the American people are calling for. He has a year to build on the momentum that the Paris climate consensus achieved; a year to bolster good jobs by prioritizing employers who treat their workers well for federal contracts; and a year to ensure fair and …

Top 10 Highlights of 2015

This New Year, let’s be proud of what we did together in 2015!

PCCC Top Ten of 2015

Bernie Sanders holds Big Ideas sign.

1. Big Ideas Project:

Democrats lost the 2014 election because they lacked big ideas that inspire voters. So the Progressive Change Institute launched the Big Ideas Project, calling for a bold new agenda. PCCC members submitted their own ideas and voted on others, casting over one million votes.

Polling showed that big progressive ideas are popular with Democrats, Independents, and Republicans alike. These results were shared with dozens of members of Congress and presidential campaigns — leading to many high-profile endorsements of the big ideas submitted by PCCC members.

Hillary Clinton debt-free college TV ad.

Historic first: TV ad for debt-free college

Students across the country took action to demand debt-free college

We organized events on campuses.

2. Debt-Free College Campaign:

One of the most popular ideas from the Big Ideas Project was debt-free college — the idea that students should be able to graduate from any public college or university without debt.

Thanks to your phone calls, letters to the editor, and nearly half-a-million petition signatures, as well as a strong lobbying effort and coalition of allies like Demos and Democracy for America, we now have over 100 congressional co-sponsors on a resolution calling for debt-free college! Plus all 3 Democratic presidential candidates have called for debt-free college, legislators in 10 states are planning their own local efforts, and TV ads are hitting the airwaves. By next year, there will be a major mandate in this …

2016 News: Lawmakers in 10 States Introduce Debt-Free College Legislation, As Presidential Candidates Lead On This Issue Nationally

24x36_DebtFreeCollegeNowLegislators in 10 states nationwide will be introducing debt-free college legislation, making debt-free college a central 2016 campaign issue from the top to bottom of the ticket.

This state-level action will give voters a unified Democratic message going into the 2016 election. All three Democratic presidential candidates have embraced debt-free college, and so have 100 members of Congress.

Progressive organizing has led to all three Democratic presidential candidates embracing debt-free college and 100 members of Congress have endorsing it.

“Progressives are unifying the Democratic Party around a bold Elizabeth Warren-style agenda that motivates people to get to the polls and that would be a game changer in millions of lives,” said PCCC debt-free college campaign director Kayla Wingbermuehle. “The progressive strategy now is to go deep, unifying the Democratic Party around debt-free college and ensuring that there’s an undeniable mandate in November of 2016.”

Lawmakers include those from the First in the Nation states with Rep. Marjorie Porter of New Hampshire, Rep. Chris Hall of Iowa, and Rep. Gilda Cobb-Hunter of South Carolina, from key battleground states with Rep. Stephanie Howse of Ohio and Rep. Katrina Shankland of Wisconsin, plus Rep. Paul Mark of Massachusetts, Rep. Will Guzzardi of Illinois, Sen. Maria Chappelle-Nadal of Missouri, Rep. Paula Hawks of South Dakota, and Rep. Kaniela Ing of Hawaii.

Join the call for debt-free college in your state — sign the petition at and contact your state legislator to ask them to sign on!

Here’s what lawmakers have to say about the importance of debt-free college:

“Debt-free college will be a major voting issue in New Hampshire in 2016. Voters are counting on Democrats to make debt-free college a central campaign issue. My colleagues and I will be working hard at the state level to do …

SHARE: Top progressive quotes of the debate!

The Democratic presidential debate showed just how much the “Warren wing” has shifted the national conversation:

MSNBC: Democratic Debate: Progressives Win the Night

THE NATION: Who Won the Democratic Debate? Progressives, Hands Down

WASHINGTON POST: A Highly Progressive Economic Agenda Dominates the Democrats’ First Debate

Take a look below to see how much progressives have shifted the debate on issues like debt-free college, expand Social Security, and Wall Street accountability. Then share with your friends and family on Facebook and Twitter!

In the days ahead, we’ll address some important distinctions between the candidates. But for now, let’s celebrate that disagreement is not over the direction we should go — but rather, on how big to go and how we should get there.

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Warren wing urges Democratic candidates to #GoBold in #DemDebate

The PCCC, Democracy for America, and are asking the Democratic candidates to be bold during the debate in addressing economic populism issues — such as debt-free college, expanding Social Security benefits, and Wall Street reform and accountability.

These issues motivate the base in primaries, and candidates need to go bold with an Elizabeth Warren-style agenda to inspire voters. Watch the video and read the letter sent to Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, and Martin O’Malley below.

Letters to Democratic candidates to be bold on economic populism issues in the Oct. 13 #DemDebate

Take a look below to see how much progressives have shifted the debate on issues like debt-free college, expand Social Security, and Wall Street accountability. Then share with your friends and family on Facebook and Twitter!

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End school shootings — Call Congress, Demand Action

President Obama: “We spend over a trillion dollars, and pass countless laws, and devote entire agencies to preventing terrorist attacks on our soil…And yet, we have a Congress that explicitly blocks us from even collecting data on how we could potentially reduce gun deaths.”President Obama: “I’d ask the American people to think about how they can get our government to change these laws, and to save lives, and to let young people grow up.” Call your members of Congress right now.

It happened again. Another school shooting. Americans are sending thoughts and prayers to the people of Roseburg, Oregon.

The President delivered a powerful call to action. Here’s a small excerpt:

Our thoughts and prayers are not enough. It does not capture the heartache and grief and anger that we should feel. And it does nothing to prevent this carnage from being inflicted someplace else in America.

We’ve become numb to this.

And, of course, what’s also routine is that somebody, somewhere will comment and say, Obama politicized this issue. Well, this is something we should politicize. It is relevant to our common life together, to the body politic.

This is a political choice that we make to allow this to happen every few months in America. We collectively are answerable to those families who lose their loved ones because of our inaction.

I’d ask the American people to think about how they can get our government to change these laws, and to save lives, and to let young people grow up.

(Read the full remarks on the White House blog, h/t Lindsay Holst)

Please call Congress right now. Tell them America wants common-sense gun safety laws like background checks and an assault weapons ban.

Republicans in Congress need to hear about this …

Running on Elizabeth Warren’s agenda in the South

Nearly 200 graduates of the PCCC’s National Candidate Training will run on bold Elizabeth Warren-style ideas everywhere — including across the Deep South.

First off, let me say this: The PCCC National Candidate Training is hands down the best training I have ever been to.

Second, as a progressive running for State Representative in Georgia, I want to be clear: For too long, too many voters in the South haven’t been given a real progressive choice. But by preparing candidates to run on big bold Elizabeth Warren-style ideas, I believe we can win big in places we never have before.

Third, it’s thanks to grassroots donations from PCCC members that many candidates like me could attend this training. There is no way that I — and many others — could have afforded the training I received from some of the best campaign professionals in the nation.

Can you chip in $3 to train even more progressive candidates so they can run and win in 2016?

Right now, many progressive activists are deciding whether to run in 2016. This training can give them the confidence to take the plunge.

You might not hear about it on the news, but the progressive movement is alive in Georgia.

A few weeks ago, a 29-year-old progressive Democrat named Taylor Bennett shocked the establishment by beating an incumbent State Representative in a mid-summer special election — breaking the Republican supermajority in the Georgia House. The margin was 375 votes.

Some called it a fluke. Me? No way. I’m part of a new generation of leaders that is emerging in Georgia and all over the South, and we’re preparing to make big changes in 2016 and beyond.

The PCCC National Candidate Training has been crucial to my candidacy — preparing me to deal with press, showing me …

Debt-Free College Now a Centerpiece in 2016 Debate!

Monday was one of the high points in the PCCC’s organizational history.


“The phrase ‘debt-free college’ was hardly present in the national political lexicon until the Progressive Change Campaign Committee launched a campaign in January to push Democrats to support the idea.” [Bloomberg, May 8, 2015]



MSNBC: Clinton’s sweeping new debt-free college plan

Wall Street Journal: Hillary Clinton Proposes Debt-Free Tuition at Public College

The Guardian: Clinton takes debt-free higher education from progressive dream to mainstream

(Help the PCCC’s effective activism continue. Make an impact with a $3 donation to our presidential organizing.)

(Also, please sign the petition for debt-free college as the PCCC works to get more members of Congress and candidates on board…and have Democratic unity.)


Clinton yesterday: “I’ve been traveling the country for months, talking to students and families, educators, legislators, and experts of every stripe — including young progressive activists who’ve put the issue of debt-free college and affordability at the top of the national agenda.”

Real Clear Politics: “Affordable, debt-free college is now an economic policy plank for all the Democratic presidential candidates, who believe it resonates across political parties, across economic strata, and with young people as well as with their parents and grandparents.”

Wall Street Journal: “The Clinton campaign views this proposal as a centerpiece of its domestic agenda, akin in importance to health care in 2008, and it is her most expensive proposal so far.”

Washington Post: “Tackling the high cost of college has emerged as a central issue in the race for the Democratic presidential nomination.”

This was just …


Debt-free college means all students in America should be able graduate without debt. This big idea would expand economic opportunity, expand America’s economy, and improve quality of life for millions of people. Debt-free college is a result that can be achieved through multiple means.

Below is a checklist that Demos and the Progressive Change Campaign Committee will use to judge any plan by presidential candidates or Congress.

A true debt-free college plan should affirmatively check all of these boxes:

Do all undergraduate students have access to debt-free college?
Does debt-free college apply to all undergraduate public institutions?
Does debt-free college apply to all college costs, not just tuition?
Does the “debt-free college” plan facilitate all students having equal access to high-quality public education — i.e. incentivizing investment in instruction and student support services.
Does the formula used to calculate “debt-free” avoid academic hardship for students and economic hardship for everyday families? (i.e. Low-income students are not forced to hurt their academic performance by working excessive hours while wealthier students study. Middle-class families are not assumed to have savings and disposable cash they do not truly have.)
Is aid distributed progressively — investing most in those who may not attend or complete college, or not maximize their participation in the economy after college, due to student debt?

The G.I. Bill resulted in a 7-to-1 return on investment for our economy. By unshackling students from crushing debt — freeing them to start the next Google, start a small business, or buy a first home — we will see similar economic expansion. Quality of life will also be improved for millions of Americans who will be more able to get married, enter the career they are passionate about, or even do something as simple as moving out of their parents’ home.

That’s why a national poll by the Progressive Change Institute in January 2015 showed this issue is popular …

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