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The Congressional Black Caucus Unveils Policy Agenda to Advance Black Families: The Jobs and Justice Act of 2020

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Washington, September 23, 2020 | comments

Today, Members of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC), unveiled the second edition of the Jobs and Justice Act. The comprehensive legislation developed by the Congressional Black Caucus is aimed at increasing the upward mobility of Black families in America. The bill was first introduced in 2018 by then-CBC Chair Cedric Richmond (LA-02).

The Jobs and Justice Act of 2020 is a package of over 200 bills championed by members of the CBC. This omnibus bill addresses a wide range of issues, from community and economic development, and educational opportunities, to health disparities, environmental justice and comprehensive criminal justice reform. It is a bold proposal to advance Black families in the 21st Century. 

At a time when COVID-19 has disproportionately impacted Black communities in many different ways, it is imperative that the Jobs and Justice Act serves as a holistic response for Black America to not only survive the pandemic, but thrive after it ends. 

“When we developed the Jobs and Justice Act of 2020, we knew that Black America was going to need policies that not only solved the imminent issues but addressed the long-term impact of COVID-19 on our community, said Rep. Karen Bass (CA-37), Chair, Congressional Black Caucus. I am proud to present the second edition of the Jobs and Justice Act, which is a direct response to critical issue areas including the short term and long-term impact of COVID-19. Since 1971, the CBC has been a voice in Congress for the African-American community and in a year where the stakes are extremely high for Black Americans, we encourage lawmakers to support the provisions in this bill.”

2020 is an historic year for the Black community with a series of existential threats we never could have imagined: Widespread voter suppression efforts, including the undermining of our election by the President and his administration; a purposefully undercounted Census; a global pandemic disproportionately impacting Black people; an epidemic of police brutality; and emboldened White supremacists. 

The CBC is fighting for public policies that advance the human rights, civil rights, and economic rights of Black Americans. That’s why we are pleased to introduce the Jobs and Justice Act of 2020. This package reflects the legislative priorities of the Caucus. 

Some of the provisions of the bill include:

  • Robust funding to combat the COVID-19 pandemic through targeted contact tracing, testing, and treatment, along with research and data. 

  • Raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour. 

  • $7.5 billion for investments in transportation infrastructure through the successful “TIGER” program, which provides grants to local governments to fund innovative highway, bridge, and transit projects. 

  • $7.5 billion to help specifically upgrade water infrastructure and ensure clean drinking water for families. 

  • Encourages government contractors on infrastructure projects to actively recruit, hire, and provide on-the-job training to African-Americans ages 18 to 39 through existing jobs, apprenticeships, and “earn while you learn” programs. 

  • Provides the Minority Business Development Agency, the only federal agency dedicated to supporting Black businesses, with statutory authorization. This means more access to capital, contracts and markets. 

  • Expands the grants for HBCUs to help with acquiring the technological resources needed to continue offering competitive academic programs in the STEM field. 

  • Establishes “baby bonds” to give every American child a seed savings account of $1,000 at birth to aid with long term savings goals.

  • Incentivizes food service providers such as grocers, retailers, and nonprofits to help eradicate food deserts, which disproportionately impacts communities of color. 

The Jobs and Justice Act of 2020 reflects solution-oriented policies to enhance the livelihood of Black people in America. As the “Conscience of the Congress,” the Jobs and Justice Act of 2020 reflects solution-oriented policies to enhance the livelihood of Black people in America. The CBC will continue to fight for legislative policies for our communities. 

Section by Section Summary of the Jobs and Justice Act of 2020, click here.

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