Peter DeFazio

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Peter DeFazio

Peter A. DeFazio is a Democratic member of the United States House of Representatives, representing the 4th district of Oregon.

Congressman Peter DeFazio was first elected to the U.S. Congress in 1986. He is the dean of the Oregon House delegation, represents Southwest Oregon.

DeFazio and his wife, Myrnie Daut, live in Springfield, Oregon.[1]


Congressman Peter DeFazio was first elected to the U.S. Congress in 1986.

DeFazio is a senior member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee where he serves as ranking member of the Highways and Transit Subcommittee. He currently also serves on the Aviation Subcommittee and Railroad, Pipelines and Hazardous Materials Subcommittee. In 2005, DeFazio served as the ranking Democrat on the Highways Subcommittee where he helped negotiate a five-year federal highway and transit spending bill called SAFETEA-LU. Under the bill DeFazio secured $2.7 billion for Oregon's roads, bridges, highways and transit systems. As a ranking member of the subcommittee, DeFazio will be a key architect this congress of the highway authorization, a six-year federal highway and transit spending bill and will work to bring needed infrastructure investment to Oregon to help create jobs and improve our long-term economic viability.

DeFazio also serves on the House Natural Resources Committee, where he sits on the National Parks, Forests and Public Lands Subcommittee and the Energy and Mineral Resources Subcommittee.[2]

"Congressional Pink Caucus"

In October 1989 the Nicaraguan Sandinista Government announced that they would no longer comply with the 19 month-old cease-fire agreement with the Contras. This had been considered a prime step forward for the "peace process" that was progressing slowly as part of the Arias Peace Plan.

A resolution was introduced in Congress deploring the Sandinistas' action. The Senate voted unanimously in favor, but in the House the vote was 379-29. All the 29 Congressmen voting against the resolution were Democrats.

The Council for Inter-American Security dubbed these 29 people the "Congressional Pink Caucus":

Anti NAFTA Bill

In 1995 Marcy Kaptur, Peter DeFazio, Nydia Velasquez, Gene Taylor and Bernie Sanders co-sponsored a Bill, to force the US to withdraw from NAFTA within 90 days. The bill was unsuccessful. [3]

Congressional Progressive Caucus

The Congressional Progressive Caucus was founded in 1991 by freshman Congressman Bernie Sanders. Sanders' CPC co-founders included House members Ron Dellums, Lane Evans, Tom Andrews, Peter DeFazio, and Maxine Waters.

In 1998 Peter DeFazio Democrat was listed as a member of the Congressional Progressive Caucus.[4]

As of February 20 2009 Peter DeFazio was listed as a member of the Congressional Progressive Caucus.[5]

Progressive Caucus SOTU Address

On Thursday, January 27 2000, from 3:30pm to 5:00pm in 2253 of RHOB, the Congressional Progressive Caucus held its 3rd Annual Congressional Progressive Caucus' State of the Union Address. This event was also sponsored by the Institute for Policy Studies' Progressive Challenge coalition whose Fairness Agenda for America is endorsed by 200 public interest groups nationally.

Caucus Chair Rep. Peter DeFazio(D-OR) stated "The Progressive Caucus Alternative State of the Union will provide a much needed reality check to politicians who would rather ignore the priorities of Americans left out of the economic boom -- priorities like access to quality health care and education, repairing crumbling schools, addressing the growing gap between the rich and poor, and creating a sustainable global economy that works for everyone, not just the corporate architects."

Anticipated speakers included: Peter DeFazio (D-OR), House Minority Whip David Bonior (D-MI), Earl Hilliard (D-AL);Dennis Kucinich (D-OH); Cynthia McKinney (D-GA);. Major Owens (D-NY)Bernie Sanders (I-VT). Tammy Baldwin (D-WI);. Maurice Hinchey (D-NY);Barbara Lee (D-CA); Jerrold Nadler (D-NY); and Lynn Woolsey(D-CA). John Cavanagh, director of the Institute for Policy Studies also made some remarks regarding public interest groups support of a progressive agenda.[6]

The Congressional Progressive Caucus, Chaired by Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-OR), consists of over a quarter of the House Democrats, one Independent and Senator Paul Wellstone. The Caucus will be releasing position papers on Health Care and Income Inequality, with reports on the Alternative Federal Budget, Social Security, Minimum Wage, Education and the Global Economy.

The press release on this event was issued by Karen Dolan of the Institute for Policy Studies and Tom Vinson, Kathie Eastman, Office of Rep. DeFazio.[7]

DSA endorsement given then revoked


This announcement appeared in the September/October 1996 issue of Democratic Socialists of America's newsletter Democratic Left.[8]

In the last issue of Democratic Left, we reported that Carlos Romero-Barcelo (Puerto Rico at-large), a member of the Progressive Caucus, was endorsed by DSA PAC. We realize that this endorsement was a mistake and have withdrawn it".
Likewise, DSA PAC voted to withdraw endorsements of Peter DeFazio (OR-4th District) and Elizabeth Furse (OR-lst District).

Health Care Access resolution

John Conyers promoted House Concurrent Resolution 99 (H. Con Res. 99) Directing Congress to enact legislation by October 2004 that provides access to comprehensive health care for all Americans. IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES April 4, 2001.

Sponsors:John Conyers (for himself), Jan Schakowsky, John Tierney, Barbara Lee, Donna Christensen, David Bonior, Dennis Kucinich, Earl Hilliard, Maurice Hinchey, Jerry Nadler, Donald Payne Chaka Fattah, Peter DeFazio, John Lewis Tammy Baldwin, Stephanie Tubbs Jones, Barney Frank, Henry Waxman, Cynthia McKinney, Jim Langevin, George Miller Alcee Hastings, Patsy Mink, John Olver , Bennie Thompson, Pete Stark, Julia Carson, and Mike Capuano submitted the following concurrent resolution; which was referred to the Committee on Energy and Commerce;[9]

Resolved by the House of Representatives (the Senate concurring), that the Congress shall enact legislation by October 2004 to guarantee that every person in the United States, regardless of income, age, or employment or health status, has access to health care..

Supported by Council for a Livable World

The Council for a Livable World, founded in 1962 by long-time socialist activist and alleged Soviet agent, Leo Szilard, is a non-profit advocacy organization that seeks to "reduce the danger of nuclear weapons and increase national security", primarily through supporting progressive, congressional candidates who support their policies. The Council supported Peter DeFazio in his successful House of Representatives run as candidate for Oregon.[10]

The Council also supported DeFazio in his 2010 Congressional election campaign.[11]

Socialist financial plan

In late 2008, with the financial sector of the economy teetering on the brink of what many economists were calling the worst catastrophe in decades, an odd coalition of progressive Democrats and conservative Republicans defeated a bipartisan bailout plan, a move that had pundits predicting economic devastation.

Sept. 30, the day after the original bailout compromise went down in flames. The progressive Democrats placed a new plan—the “No BAILOUTS Act” (Bringing Accountability, Increased Liquidity, Oversight, and Upholding Taxpayer Security)—on the table that John Nichols of The Nation says “would impose a securities tax equivalent to one quarter of one percent of profits and empower the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation to deal more effectively with bank failures.”

The bill—sponsored by US Reps. Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.), Marcy Kaptur (D-Ohio), Robert Scott (D-Va.), Elijah Cummings and Donna Edwards (both D-Md.), Lloyd Doggett (D-Texas), Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii) and Rush Holt,(D NJ) —would change the way securities are valued, applying “an economic value standard to measure the capital of financial institutions,” as opposed to a market standard, an increase in the federal deposit insurance maximum and other accounting measures designed to create breathing room. It also would require the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation to purchase certificates that would be repaid.

“What I’m proposing is to use both market discipline and regulatory functions at virtually no cost to taxpayers to unclog the arteries of commerce so banks can begin lending again,’’ DeFazio said, according to The Oregonian.

In a letter introducing the plan, he said that Congress needed to “take swift, uncomplicated steps to ensure the financial markets return to working order. After that, we can work to resolve the housing crisis and pass effective job stimulus.”

Andy Stern, president of the Service Employees International Union, said the plan would “restore confidence in the financial markets without writing a blank check to the same Wall Street banks and CEOs who got us into this mess.”

“This is an important, short-term solution that protects taxpayers and their savings accounts,” he added. “To revive the economy over the long-term, we must address rising unemployment, stagnant wages, the healthcare crisis, and a tax system that is tilted in favor of the wealthy.”

DeFazio and the SEIU acknowledge that this is just the first step toward fixing the economy. Once a progressive rescue plan is in place, the Democrats create a rescue plan for homeowners facing foreclosure, enact a public works and green energy stimulus to get people working, fix the nation’s infrastructure and refocus the nation’s economy on sustainable principles. [12]

Calling on Israeli Govt. to lift Gaza Travel Ban

On Dec. 22, 2009, thirty-three U.S. Representatives wrote to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, calling on her to request that the Israeli Government end the ban on student travel from Gaza to the West Bank. Peter DeFazio was one of the signatories of the letter.[13] The entire letter together with a complete list of signatories can be read by clicking here.

Populist Caucus

The Populist Caucus was founded on February 11, 2009 in the United States House of Representatives by Democrat Bruce Braley of Iowa. The caucus originally included 26 other Democrats in the House, including Peter DeFazio , vice chair.

Supported Lifting the Gaza Blockade

On Jan. 27, 2010, U.S. Representatives Keith Ellison and Jim McDermott led 52 other members of Congress in signing a letter addressed to President Barack Obama, calling for him to use diplomatic pressure to resolve the blockade affecting Gaza. Peter DeFazio was one of the signatories of the letter. [14] The entire letter together with a complete list of signatories can be read by clicking here.

Financial Transactions Tax

From the IPS website

In November 2011, two U.S. lawmakers introducde measures to impose a transaction tax on financial firms that resembles a proposal released by the European Union.

Senator Tom Harkin, an Iowa Democrat, and Representative Peter DeFazio, an Oregon Democrat, introduced the bills in their respective chambers.

A "Briefing On Financial Transaction Taxes" was held.

Sponsored by Senator Tom Harkin, Representative Peter DeFazio, Congressional Populist Caucus

Friday, October 21 st 10:30am – 12:00pm

U.S. Capitol Building S-115

Presented by:

Americans for Financial Reform, AFL-CIO, Institute for Policy Studies, The Center for Media and Democracy, and The Center for Economic and Policy Research


John Fullerton – Former Managing Director, J.P. Morgan Co. and Founder and President of the Capital Institute

Frédéric Doré – Minister Counselor, Deputy Chief of Mission at the French Embassy to the United States

Damon Silvers – Director of Policy and Special Counsel, AFL-CIO

Dean Baker – Co-Director, Center for Economic and Policy Research

Moderator — Lisa Donner - Executive Director, Americans for Financial Reform[15]

A small tax on financial transactions would raise tens of billions of dollars a year and curb dangerous high speed trading. Support for a transaction tax is growing in the US and around the world. The European Union recently proposed a tax of 10 cents per $100 of securities transactions, and 10 cents per $1,000 of derivatives transactions. France and Germany have already endorsed this proposal. The European Union forecasts that this tiny tax will raise some $70 billion annually.

The Institute for Food and Development Policy/Food First

Pete DeFazio is on the list of Congressional Representatives who have participated in hearings/briefings since 1998, with the very radical Institute for Food and Development Policy/Food First, founded by Frances Moore Lappe (Democratic Socialists of America, Institute for Policy Studies) and Joseph Collins (Institute for Policy Studies), authors of the book "Food First".[16]

Oregon Communist Party connections

Endorsing DeFazio


Eugene, Oregon Communist Party USA leader Steve McAllister endorsed Peter DeFazio in the Graduate Teaching Fellows Federation, Local 3544, AFT Oregon, newsletter, The Agitator, Oct. 1st, 2012.

Speaking alongside communist

Peoples World, Oct. 5, 2012

On October 3, 2012, anew coalition of students, teachers, and workers at the University of Oregon rallied and marched against rising tuition and plans to privatize governance of the university. The event drew over a hundred participants and observers to the student union amphitheater.

Sponsored by the League of Educators and Students Slashing Tuition, the rally included a wide variety of speakers addressed the rising cost of higher education in Oregon and around the country.

Judith Lechner, president of the Graduate Teaching Fellows Federation (AFT Local 3544, the graduate employees union at the University of Oregon), gave the opening remarks. A visiting scholar from Germany, she talked about how baffled she is by the lack of support for higher education in the United States.

Michael King, board chair of the University of Oregon's cultural center, noted that students in Quebec recently won a fight against rising tuition.

Congressman Peter DeFazio, representing Oregon's 4th Congressional District, also spoke, about the dismal state of support for students from the federal government. He pointed out that during the budget crisis last year, the one thing Republican lawmakers insisted on was cutting subsidized federal loans to graduate students. That was met with loud jeers from members of the graduate teaching fellows union, GTFF, who helped organize the rally.

"A 1 percent addition to the taxes of people who earn over $350,000 a year would pay for the low-interest rates forever for national direct student loans," DeFazio said.

"These people are already paying a lot less in taxes than they were in the Clinton era," he continued, referring to the super-wealthy who continue to enjoy George W. Bush's tax cuts. "They've already made it, and they made it by virtue, probably, of a good education."

DeFazio said, "We need to assure that the future leaders of America, whether it's in science or business or government or education" aren't forced in the direction of having to "earn a high salary in order to pay back an exorbitant amount of debt."

Greg Rose, a retired professor and chairman of the Communist Party of Oregon, told the crowd that this issue demands activism and resistance from the current generation of students, likening it to the struggle against the Vietnam War a generation ago.

"You must throw yourselves athwart the machine that is devouring this generation, capitalism," Rose said, to cheers and waving signs. "It has commodified education, it has commodified teachers, and it has commodified students. It must stop, it must stop here, it must stop now!"

As the march returned to the amphitheater, organizers emphasized that this was the start of a long campaign [17]

Communist petition


Eugene, Oregon Communist Party USA affiliate Jillian Littell, addressed an online petition to Congressman Peter Defazio, in February 2013.

"Strengthen Social Security" bill

Sens. Tom Harkin and Bernie Sanders introduced a bill. March 2013, to "strengthen Social Security by making the wealthiest Americans pay the same payroll tax that everyone else already pays". It is co-sponsored by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. The companion bill in the House was introduced by Rep Peter DeFazio. [18]

Wall Street speculators bill

Sens. Tom Harkin and Bernie Sanders introduced a bill on March 2, 2013, to tax Wall Street speculators (S 410). A companion bill in the House was introduced by Rep. Peter DeFazio (HR 880). "Both the economic crisis and the deficit crisis are a direct result of the greed, recklessness, and illegal behavior on Wall Street," said Sanders. "This bill will reduce gambling on Wall Street, encourage the financial sector to invest in the job-creating productive economy, and significantly reduce the deficit," with an estimated $352 billion over 10 years.[19]


The following are past and present staff:[20]

External links


  1. Official congressional bio, accessed July 30, 2011
  2. Official congressional bio, accessed July 30, 2011
  3. PWW January 21 1995, page 4
  4. DSA website: Members of the Progressive Caucus (archived on the Web Archive website)
  5. Congressional Progressive Caucus website: Caucus Member List
  6. Common Dreams, Progressive Groups And Congressional Caucus To Present Their Third Annual Alternative State Of The Union Address, JANUARY 26, 2000
  7. Common Dreams, Progressive Groups And Congressional Caucus To Present Their Third Annual Alternative State Of The Union Address, JANUARY 26, 2000
  8. Democratic Left, September/October 1996, page 6]
  9. Dem. Left, Summer 2002
  10. CLW website: Meet Our Candidates
  11. CLW website. Meet the Candidates, accessed Dec. 31, 2010
  12., Populists Stymie Wall Street, From The Progressive Populist, November 1, 2008,
  13. John Dingell's House website: Letter to Hillary Clinton, Dec. 22, 2009
  14. The Minnesota Independent: Ellison, McCollum and Oberstar urge Obama to lift Gaza blockade, Jan. 26, 2010 (accessed on March 14, 2011)
  15. for Financial Reform pressrelease
  16. [, Food First staff page]
  17. Peoples World, Students, teachers protest university privatization, tuition hikes, by: Steve McAllister, October 5 2012
  18. CPUSA website, Avenues of Fightback: Political Report to the NC, by: Joelle Fishman, March 12 2013
  19. CPUSA website, Avenues of Fightback: Political Report to the NC, by: Joelle Fishman, March 12 2013
  20. Accessed 12/16/2011