House Whip says Black Caucus is having success
James Clyburn says CBC takes different tactics
For the second straight month the unemployment rate among African Americans is more than double the percentage for the nation as a whole.
According to the jobs report released by the United States Department of Labor (DOL) last Friday, the U.S. unemployment rate was 9.6 percent. That figure was 16.1 for African Americans, down slightly from the 16.3 reported in August but well above the 8.7 percent number for Whites and the 12.4 figure for Hispanics.
The DOL reported that about 11,040 African Americans age 16 and older were not in the workforce in September.
The number of jobless Black Americans has been steadily climbing since 2008, according to historical DOL figures, but like the national unemployment numbers, the rate has basically held steady for the last two months.
Given that America has its first African American president, many in the Black community are looking to the government to “fix” what has become a chronic and systemic problem in Black America.
James E. Clyburn, the Majority Whip with the House of Representatives, the third highest ranking elected official and the second most powerful Black politician in America, was in Los Angeles last weekend and talked about some of the strategies African American elected officials in congress have used to begin to address the long-standing unemployment among African Americans.
“Charlie Rangel and I sat down and crafted the amendment to the economic stimulus bill,” explained Clyburn. That’s where 10 percent of the stimulus money goes to 20 percent of residents who have been living below the poverty level for 30 years. The Congress said the amendment was crafted this way in order to pass the senate, which he contends never would have never passed, if the legislation specifically targeted African American communities. However, although an examination of the demographics the stimulus package covers reveals that many of the areas impacted are in Black communities.
Clyburn noted that these are the kinds of things Black elected officials are doing to help African Americans, but they don’t get much publicity.
Others include fighting to ensure that community health centers are a key component of the new health care legislation.
“We also passed signature education reform that directs $40 billion to students in direct loans. That’s one reason people in the financial community are upset with the president,” added the House Whip, also noting that more money was allocated to the Pell Grant program as well.
Clyburn also pointed to the fact that the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) drove passage of the Black Farm bill in the house four times.
“But the Black Caucus can’t do anything with the senate because we aren’t there.”
Finally Clyburn talked about the CBC’s relationship with President Obama. He called it one of different experiences.
“Most of the members of the CBS have experiences different from Barack Obama; nobody in the caucus have experiences even close to him,” said Clyburn, who said that four or five hours together in a golf cart with president convinced him that Barack Obama “gets it” . . . “It’s unfair of us to expect him to see the world the way we do. But he is a smart, compassionate guy, and he gets it.”
There are clearly more important immediate things for the California Black community to worry about—the level of involvement of the L.A. Sheriff’s Department in the kidnap, murder and possible rape of Mitrice Richardson; electing Danny Tabor and finally ending the seemingly endless mayoral election process in Inglewood; and getting the votes finally counted between Harris and Cooley, for example.
Nevertheless, as evolving political analysts, it is important for us to keep up with the whole process, from federal to water district level.
The election night results brought forth a much expected outcome, a Republican takeover of the House of Representatives and some “slippage” in Democrat seats held in the Senate. The reasons were several for the outcome, but it is not the end of the world. The Democrats (and everybody else) need to stop their snivelin’.
Wipe your nose and move on with the outcome. What happened is a combination of historical politics, race realities, fear-mongering and voter suppression.
James Clyburn, house majority whip, assured a crowded room of supporters that Democrats are in great shape and will retain a majority and possibly gain a few seats in congress after the midterm elections. The top-ranking house Democrat was in California campaigning and trying to energize supporters to get out to vote.
In November 2008 in New Orleans at one of the first major African American oriented conferences after the Obama election, Ron Daniels, Ph.D., the relatively new executive director of the Institute of the Black World, issued a call for the partnering of all progressive Black think tanks in the U.S.A.
After the August employment report came and it showed the economy flatlining (at least for a month) on new jobs, President Obama’s jobs plan is coming right on time. Lazy ass Congress is back at work, after a summer of political gamesmanship, and we will now see if all the “big talk” will turn to action. Or will it be more of the ideological bickering that led to gridlock the past year, and the whining of Democrats that the president is not fighting hard enough.