Skip to Content

In the News

Cedric Richmond, Congressional Black Caucus push broad bill for jobs, justice

f t # e
Drew Broach, Times-Picayune, May 11, 2018 | comments

More money would be spent on public schools, libraries, community centers and infrastructure, the minimum wage would rise to $15 per hour and the death penalty would be abolished under a 1,334-page bill that U.S. Rep. Cedric Richmond, D-New Orleans, and the Congressional Black Caucus are pushing.

The comprehensive measure is designed to "increase the upward social mobility of black families and help ensure equal protection under the law," the Richmond-chaired caucus said in statement.

The 48-member caucus announced plans for the Jobs and Justice Acton Thursday (May 10) on Capitol Hill in Washington. It likely has no chance of becoming law as is, but members hope it will inform discussions with President Donald Trump's administration and other members of Congress about ways to improve life for black people in the United States

"A lot of folks talk the talk when it comes to African-American communities, but few walk the walk," Richmond was quoted by USA Today as saying. "This bill will give them the chance to walk that walk."

"We know that many will say that this bill will not see the light of day," said National Urban League President Marc Morial, the former New Orleans mayor. "But I can guarantee you that the Urban League ... will call the question to each and every one who struts into our community, dances into our community, walks into our community asking for our vote: 'Where do you stand on the Jobs and Justice bill?' I want your name on the dotted line if you want me to pull the lever for you.''

The Congressional Black Caucus has had a testy relationship with Trump. As a candidate in 2016, he described African- and Hispanic-Americans as living in impoverished neighborhoods more dangerous than war zones and sought their support by asking, "What do you have to lose?"

Once in office, he met with the caucus and was given a 130-page policy document titled, "We Have a Lot to Lose: Solutions to Advance Black Families in the 21st Century." The caucus said Trump "never responded" to the document, although the president actually invited members back to the White House. Richmond, on the behalf of the group, declined the invitation.

Now the caucus has turned the 130-page policy document into legislation 10 times as large. Among other things, the legislation:

  • would target federal money to high-poverty areas, establish a commission to consider the effect of solitary confinement in prison and end racial profiling by law enforcers, USA Today said.
  • calls for funding two years of free community college for students, increasing federal scholarships for low-income students and spending more to improve lead-contaminated water systems, according to The Advocate.
  • seeks to remove marijuana from the Controlled Substances Act and end mandatory minimum sentences for federal drug offenses, according to Marijuana Moment.
f t # e

Connect with the CBC

Stay connected with the CBC and get news directly to your inbox.