Illinois Rep. Ramirez urges Biden, Democrats to stand up to MAGA extremism

Feb. 8 (UPI) -- Newly inaugurated House Rep. Delia Ramirez on Tuesday night urged President Joe Biden and their Democratic Party to stand up to Republican extremism while calling for more working-class people to join their efforts.

The Illinois Democrat made the comments during the progressive Working Families Party response to Biden's State of the Union address, during which she celebrated actions taken by his administration to aid families through the COVID-19 pandemic while highlighting Republican obstacles that made it more difficult.


Ramirez, the first Latina elected to Congress from the Midwest, applauded Biden for putting money into citizens' pockets and offering free COVID vaccines, passing the infrastructure bill and the Inflation Reduction Act, but she said that, despite these measures, "it's still too hard for too many families in this country to make ends meet."


"What I want to say to President Biden and all my fellow Democrats in Congress is that we have two jobs: We must stand up to the extremism of the MAGA Republicans," she said, referring to the conservative Make America Great Again movement led by former President Donald Trump. "We have to show working people what Democrats will deliver for working families if they put us in control."

She said to fulfill these two endeavors means to continue to support investing in families, such as reviving the Child Tax Credit, expanding Medicaid and taking billionaires -- three measures that Biden had also called for during his State of the Union.

She also called on Biden to use his executive authority to reduce drug prices, protect renters and hold corporate landlords to account for price gouging and housing discrimination.

"If Republicans in the majority are as interested in working-class families as they claim, they'll stand with us," the 39-year-old said. "But if they don't, Americans will see who is on their side, and Republicans will pay the price at the ballot box."


She also called for a minimum wage of at last $15 while criticizing the union-busting practices of Amazon and Starbucks.

She also raised the topic of police brutality in discussing the death of Tyre Nichols, who was killed late last month in police custody after being beaten and tased by five Black police officers in Memphis. His death reminds us that police brutality is not an uncommon experience for Black Americans, she said, and it is a national phenomenon that disproportionately kills and injuries Black people. Congress needs to pass accountability measures, she said.

"We must upend this deadly status quo," she said. "We must end qualified immunity. We must invest in ending poverty and uplifting schools, jobs, housing, healthcare and strong communities.

"That's what truly keeps us safe," she said.

She also attempted to add nuance to Republican talking points, such as the border crisis, for which GOP politicians have been blaming Biden.

But Ramirez countered that policies under the previous administration of President Donald Trump did not stop asylum seekers attempting to enter the country but only made doing so more dangerous.

"President Biden inherited a broken immigration system, and Republicans in Congress would rather scare voters than work towards a solution," she said.


As the child of working-class Guatemalan immigrants and the wife of a DACA recipient, Ramirez became visibly emotional while talking about the millions of people in the country who lack legal status and face deportation when all they want to do is contribute to U.S. society.

"My husband, Boris, is a Dream who has lived in the U.S. since the age of 14. He's lived here longer than he lived in Guatemala growing up. Like many others, he has been waiting for decade to finally have a pathway to citizenship, but both Democrats and Republicans have failed them," she said.

"I know what it's like to live with that uncertainty and fear and it's why we must do everything in our power to finally pass comprehensive immigration reform."

She described the Republican Party as one that is abusing the legal system to attack basic freedoms, bodily autonomy and democracy, while stating they must stop the onslaught by retaking the House of Representatives from the GOP in 2024.

"What we can't do, is do it alone," she said. "It takes a movement. It takes working people locking arms to speak up for what we all need."

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