The Congressional Black Caucus Faces an Uphill Battle in the 113th Congress

Rep. Marcia Fudge, D-Ohio, center, talks with Rep. Cedric Richmond, D-La., left, and Rep. Yvette Clarke, D-N.Y., right, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Nov. 14, 2012, following a closed-door meeting where she was named the new chair of the Congressional Black Caucus. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
Rep. Marcia Fudge, D-Ohio, center, talks with Rep. Cedric Richmond, D-La., left, and Rep. Yvette Clarke, D-N.Y., right, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Nov. 14, 2012, following a closed-door meeting where she was named the new chair of the Congressional Black Caucus. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

CBC to Lead Fight for College Loans, Jobs, Judicial Posts

In a Congress likely to be steeped in the politics of this year’s midterm elections, the Congressional Black Caucus said it will continue to fight for issues important for communities of color.

“We all know that 2013 was one of the least productive years in the history of the Congress,” said CBC Chair Rep. Marcia Fudge (D-Ohio) in a press call on Jan. 15. “Yet, the Congressional Black Caucus diligently worked on a number of issues and was successful in influencing policies that benefitted our communities and that would, but for us, be disregarded or completely ignored.”

Many of the priorities on the CBC’s 2014 agenda reflect ongoing concerns from 2013—reducing poverty and closing the income inequality gap, the challenges facing historically Black colleges and universities and increasing diversity in judicial nominations.

Poverty continues to be a scourge in Black communities—almost 10 million African Americans, including 4 in 10 Black children, live in poverty; almost 12 percent of African Americans are unemployed, etc.—cited Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.), who heads the CBC’s Poverty and the Economy Task Force.

Due to the CBC’s persistent efforts on reducing poverty, however, the issue has “gained momentum on Capitol Hill,” Lee said, and the CBC will continue to build on those gains.

The CBC will continue to advocate for an increased federal minimum wage, or living wage; it will continue to garner support for the Half in Ten Act, legislation – authored by Lee – which would create and implement a plan to cut poverty in half within 10 years, and it will continue to lobby for bills that create more high-earning jobs.

“We know the best pathway out of poverty is a job,” Lee said.

Deputy Minority Leader James Clyburn (D-S.C.) said the CBC will also continue to support the Affordable Care Act, and Medicare and Medicaid. The latter were key contributors to the gains made by the War on Poverty launched by President Lyndon Johnson a half-century ago, he said.

Another key initiative on the CBC’s “War on Poverty” will be its advocacy for the “10-20-30” initiative, which would require that at least 10 percent of federally appropriated money be spent in those communities where 20 percent or more the population has been locked below the poverty level for at least 30 years.

The targeted spending approach was first introduced by Clyburn as an amendment to the rural spending section of theReinvestment Act. It resulted in funding for 4,655 projects totaling nearly $1.7 billion in chronically impoverished counties.

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Source: The LA Sentinel | Zenitha Prince Special to the NNPA from the Afro-American Newspaper