The CBC took a gut punch in the last election. In the Tea Party swarm of the House of Representatives, CBC members lost 3 committee chairmanships and more than a dozen subcommittee chairmanships. CBC alum Barack Obama did pretty well for himself these past 2 years with lots of partners in the 111th Congress, but the 112th is a new ballgame. And the Tea Party would like to strip some of the very programs that have benefitted the middle class and Black America, if they can.
Anthony Coley has a great piece in theGrio that’s worth a gander. He says essentially that the CBC will have to stick together if they hope to prevail. IMHO they will have to do more and roll up their sleeves — and fight. And for the nostalgic, please enjoy a few scenes from Soul Food above. Here are a few excerpts from Coley:
Consider this: Over the last two years, President Obama with key partners on Capitol Hill, including members of the CBC, achieved several legislative victories. In addition to efforts to steady the economy (e.g., the bailout of the auto industry and $787 billion economic stimulus bill), others include the largest rewrite of rules regulating Wall Street since the Great Depression; FDAregulation of cigarettes; new credit card consumer protections; increased Pell grants for college students; extended unemployment benefits; and the massive overhaul of the health care system, which guarantees quality, affordable health care to more than 45 million uninsured Americans, including those with preexisting medical conditions.
In an interview with Rolling Stone, presidential biographer Douglas Brinkley said recently that Obama˙s accomplishments to date put him in the same league with former presidents Franklin D. Roosevelt and Lyndon Johnson.
To be sure, the new GOP House majority has a different view of the world. Rolling back many Obama administration achievements supported by the CBC is at the top of their agenda.
But this is not a new position for the CBC. They played defense before — and got positive results.
When Republicans controlled the House from 1995 to 2001, CBC members worked with a Democratic president and other allies to advance key policies, including a major expansion of the Earned Income Tax Credit, enactment of the Family Medical Leave Act, creation of the State Children’s Health Program, creation of AmeriCorps, and passage of the Brady Bill, which required federal background checks on firearms purchased across the country.
Those gains and others were realized because the caucus stuck together, relied on the expertise of its members and worked with other caucuses and allies in the Senate and the White House.
To help the president guard the impressive achievements of the 111th Congress, CBC members must recognize their collective strength and use it strategically to blunt any assault on middle class Americans. Just crying foul won’t work.
Or, perhaps I should say it like Irma Hall’s character, “Mother Joe”, did on Soul Food a few years back:
“One finger pointing the blame don’t make no impact. But you ball up all them fingers into a fist and you can strike a mighty blow.”
With 44 fingers, er, members, its largest number to date, the CBC is poised to do just that.
I am hopeful they will.
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