Congressional Black Caucus

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Congressional Black Caucus
Bi-cameral
CBC.jpg
Leadership: Congresswoman Marcia Fudge (OH-11)
Established 1971
Members 43
Website Congressional Black Caucus


The Congressional Black Caucus was formed by 13 House Representatives in 1969 and recognized by President Richard Nixon when he met with the members in March 1971. In this meeting the founding members presented the president with a list of 60 recommendations for governmental action on domestic and foreign issues, the first official act in the caucus' mission to further the interests of African-Americans through the Legislative Branch.

Membership is exclusive to African-Americans. Though it is officially nonpartisan, the CBC is traditionally and unofficially associated with the Democratic Party.

Mission

The mission statement of the Congressional Black Caucus is as follows:

"Since its establishment in 1971, Members of the Congressional Black Caucus have joined together to empower America’s neglected citizens and to address their legislative concerns. For more than 40 years, the CBC has consistently been the voice for people of color and vulnerable communities in Congress and has been committed to utilizing the full Constitutional power, statutory authority, and financial resources of the Government of the United States of America to ensure that everyone in the United States has an opportunity to achieve their version of the American Dream."[1]

History

  • 1870 Hiram Rhodes Revels (R-MS) and Joseph H. Rainey (R-SC) are the first African-Americans to serve in the House and Senate, respectively.
  • 1971 After the election of 1970, the Congressional Black Caucus is formed with thirteen congressional members.
  • 1996 With the election of 1996 came the 100th African-American Congressperson, as well as an addition to record 41 African-American members seated in the 104th Congress.
  • 2006 The Fannie Lou Hamer, Rosa Parks and Coretta Scott King Voting Rights Act was passed, much through the efforts of the CBC.
  • 2008 Senator Barack Obama is elected President of the United States.

Issues

Judicial diversity

The Congressional Black Caucus criticized President Barack Obama because of a perceived lack of diversity in Obama administration judicial nominees. The CBC wrote to the White House in January 2014, expressing concerns that nominees were not representative of the diversity of the states.[2][3] The White House responded that 18 percent of Obama's confirmed judges were African-American.[4]

Steny Hoyer

In February 2014, Steny Hoyer agreed with members of the Congressional Black Caucus who were concerned with the diversity of judicial appointments.[2]

“I certainly share the CBC’s concerns. I think the Senate, you know, has customs and deference to the incumbent senator in each state, and I understand that, but I would hope [Majority Leader Harry] Reid and Senate leadership would look to the best interest of the country, in the broad spectrum of beliefs in the country and to have that be represented on the bench...Clearly, federal judges who serve for life have, undoubtedly have a policy impact. So I’m sympathetic to the concerns of the Congressional Black Caucus,” Hoyer said.[2]

2014 elections

In southern states, the CBC sent prominent caucus members to stump in key races in place of President Barack Obama due to his unpopularity in the South. Reps. John Lewis, Jim Clyburn and Elijah Cummings focused on the U.S. Senate races in Louisiana and North Carolina.[5]

Members

113th Congress

CBC Members[6]
Member Party State
Rep. Karen Bass - Whip Democratic Party California
Rep. Joyce Beatty Democratic Party Ohio
Rep. Sanford Bishop Democratic Party Georgia
Rep. Corrine Brown Democratic Party Florida
Rep. G. K. Butterfield - First Vice Chair Democratic Party North Carolina
Rep. André Carson - Secretary Democratic Party Indiana
Delegate Donna Christensen Democratic Party Virgin Islands
Rep. Yvette Clarke - Second Vice Chair Democratic Party New York
Rep. William Lacy Clay, Jr. Democratic Party Missouri
Rep. Emanuel Cleaver Democratic Party Missouri
Rep. Jim Clyburn Democratic Party South Carolina
Rep. John Conyers, Jr. Democratic Party Michigan
Rep. Elijah Cummings Democratic Party Maryland
Rep. Danny K. Davis Democratic Party Illinois
Rep. Donna Edwards Democratic Party Maryland
Rep. Keith Ellison Democratic Party Minnesota
Rep. Chaka Fattah Democratic Party Pennsylvania
Rep. Marcia Fudge - Chair Democratic Party Ohio
Rep. Al Green Democratic Party Texas
Rep. Alcee Hastings Democratic Party Florida
Rep. Steven Horsford Democratic Party Nevada
Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee Democratic Party Texas
Rep. Hakeem Jeffries Democratic Party New York
Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson Democratic Party Texas
Rep. Hank Johnson Democratic Party Georgia
Rep. Robin Kelly Democratic Party Illinois
Rep. Barbara Lee Democratic Party California
Rep. John Lewis Democratic Party Georgia
Rep. Gregory Meeks Democratic Party New York
Rep. Gwen Moore Democratic Party Wisconsin
Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton Democratic Party Washington, D.C.
Rep. Donald M. Payne Democratic Party New Jersey
Rep. Charles B. Rangel Democratic Party New York
Rep. Cedric Richmond Democratic Party Louisiana
Rep. Bobby Rush Democratic Party Illinois
Rep. Bobby Scott Democratic Party Virginia
Rep. David Scott Democratic Party Georgia
Rep. Terri Sewell Democratic Party Alabama
Rep. Bennie Thompson Democratic Party Mississippi
Rep. Marc Veasey Democratic Party Texas
Rep. Maxine Waters Democratic Party California
Rep. Mel Watt Democratic Party North Carolina
Rep. Frederica Wilson Democratic Party Florida

Tim Scott

Despite being the only African American senator in the 113th Congress, Republican Sen. Tim Scott (FL) elected not to join the CBC. Rep. Emanuel Cleaver, chair of the CBC, told reporters, "He chose not to join the Congressional Black Caucus because he realized that the policies we would embrace would not be in harmony with the policies of the Republican Caucus of which he’s a member."[7]

Task forces

The Congressional Black Caucus is made up of the following task forces, which represent issues of greatest concern to the African American community and consituents:[8]

  • Africa
  • Education and Labor
  • Budget, Appropriations, and Taxation
  • Education Reform Working Group
  • Civil Rights and Judiciary
  • Energy, Environment, and Agriculture
  • Justice System Reform Working Group
  • Foreign Affairs and National Security
  • Prison Telecomm Reform Working Group
  • Healthcare
  • Voter Protection and Empowerment Working Group
  • Healthcare Reform Implementation Working Group
  • Diversity Taskforce
  • Immigration Reform
  • Judicial Nominations Working Group
  • Poverty and the Economy
  • Economic Development and Wealth Creation
  • Technology and Infrastructure Development

Goals

Healthcare reform

In 2009, CBC members joined national African American leaders at the U.S. Capitol today to support the America’s Affordable Health Choices Act and to counter protesters.

Lee and Marc H. Morial, President and CEO of the National Urban League and Chair of the Black Leadership Forum led the speeches on September 9, 2009.

“As the Members of Congress who represent millions of disproportionately under- and uninsured Americans whose health and wellness have suffered because of the numerous gaps in our nation's health care system reform is a top priority,” said Lee. “We will continue to work with President Obama and our leadership to fight to reform America's broken health care system.”

“As the health care debate continues to heat up, African-American leaders need to be more vocal about why health care reform is needed in this country,” stated Morial. “With 46 million people living without health care insurance and about half of those being people of color, and with rising health care costs that are crushing families and small businesses, an overhaul is imminent.”[9]

CBC outreach

The CBC states on its website that it aims to empower and mobilize America's "young people of color" through development, through strengthening pipelines on Capital Hill by connecting these young people to legislative process and civic engagement training. CBC works to prioritize legislation and funding that effects America’s youth through education, job training and health care.

The caucus aimed to engage "young leaders" in the 2008 election through voter registration, education and opportunities at campaigns. They also hope to host inter-generational discussions through the Internet and conferences on youth-centered policies

The CBC promotes education by hosting six one and a half day sessions throughout the country and eight CBC Symposia on Capital Hill focused on CBC priorities.

The caucus uses black media outlets for its outreach efforts as well as funding organizations such as the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now.

CBC promoted voting during the 2008 election cycle by working with progressive civil rights organizations to register 100,000 new voters by October 2008.

CBC supports progressive public policy legislation with progressive civil rights organizations.

The caucus hosts an annual CBC Black History Month Program and leads CBC International Congressional delegation's and cultural missions throughout the African Diaspora.

Build CBC web presence

CBC aims to utilize the Internet as the portal for spreading information and dialogue in the CBC and black America and developing partnerships to build exposure and presence.

The CBC blogs and podcasts that CBC members make are issue forums and give updates on CBC priorities.

The CBC issues a bi-monthly online newsletter.[10]

Alternative energy

The CBC supports the African-American role in alternative energy, while works to empower black farmers with alternative fuel dialogues and initiate the use of beans, corn, sugar cane, etc. as possible fuel sources.

The CBC promotes wind and solar power as alternative fuel and support research, education and training for people of color in renewable energy fields.

The caucus supports climate stabilization and community cleanup efforts to reduce and stabilize greenhouse gases according to the Kyoto Treaty. It works to reduce the number of sites with hazardous substances, pollutants or contaminants in the United States.

CBC Institute

The Congressional Black Caucus Political Education and Leadership Institute is a 501(c)(4) non-profit organization chaired by Congressman Bennie G. Thompson (D-MS). Its Board of Directors is comprised of corporate leaders, academic leaders, labor leaders and members of the Congressional Black Caucus who facilitate its primary activities: 1) development and training political candidates, leaders and tacticians 2) research and analysis relating to the process of redistricting, as well as the preservation of minority voting representation 3) increasing the presence of African-Americans in public policy and service sectors.[11]

CBC Foundation

The mission of the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation is to focus on leadership education, public health, and economic development as the premier organization that “creates, identifies, analyzes and disseminates policy-oriented information critical to advancing African Americans and people of African descent towards equity in economics, health, and education.”[12]

CBC PAC

The mission of the Congressional Black Caucus Political Action Committee is to increase the number of African-Americans in Congress, to support non-Black candidates who champion African-American interests and to promote African-American participation in the political process, especially young voters.

Recent news

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External links

References