- Unbeliebable: White House turns Bieber petition response into immigration screed
- Obama signs law denying Iran ambassador’s visa, but says law is ‘advisory’
- Mich. judge to laughing convicted killer: ‘I hope you die in prison’
- Man charged in Kansas City-area highway shootings
- Keystone XL pipeline still on hold after State Dept. decision
- Fla. man charged with killing 16-month-old son to play Xbox undisturbed
- Drones from the deep: Pentagon develops ocean-floor attack robots
- Michigan mayor slaps back atheists’ try to erect ‘reason station’ at city hall
- PHILLIPS: Where is the conservative establishment?
- 7.5-magnitude earthquake shakes southern Mexico
Black caucus presses Obama on voting rights, immigration
Black lawmakers pressed President Obama on Tuesday to ensure that immigration reform doesn’t shortchange African immigrants, and they strategized about ways to protect minority voting rights in the wake of the Supreme Court’s ruling that struck down a key provision of the Voting Rights Act.
The Congressional Black Caucus met with Mr. Obama at the White House for about 90 minutes, their first gathering with the president in more than two years. Although some caucus members have been critical of Mr. Obama for not doing enough to lower black unemployment and appointing too few blacks to his Cabinet, they emerged from the meeting with words of praise for the president.
“We are on the same page,” said Rep. Marcia L. Fudge, Ohio Democrat and CBC chairwoman.
Ms. Fudge said immigration reform legislation in Congress was a topic of concern at the meeting. The CBC and others say the Senate-passed immigration bill could lead to lower immigration from countries with high black populations.
“We want to be sure that the immigration bill, which they’re saying is comprehensive, is in fact comprehensive,” Ms. Fudge said, “and that it includes people from the Caribbean and from Africa.”
She expressed concern that the Senate immigration bill will favor merit-based visas for high-skilled workers at the expense of “diversity visas.”
“We want to be sure that the people we represent, those who come from underserved countries, poorer countries, are included in the bill,” Ms. Fudge said.
The bill would replace a lottery system with by a merit-based formula that gives more points to applicants with higher academic degrees. Some say the new merit-based system would reduce the number of African immigrants.
The House has yet to take up comprehensive immigration reform; Mr. Obama has urged House lawmakers to complete a bill before the congressional August recess.
Black lawmakers also talked with Mr. Obama about protecting minority voting rights in light of the Supreme Court ruling, which voided a provision requiring certain states and localities with a history of voting-rights abuses to get pre-clearance from the federal government before making any changes to voting laws.
Ms. Fudge said the lawmakers “talked about how we strengthen Section 2” and ways to determine a “formula” that would cover all states, as opposed to a state-by-state procedure. Rep. Chaka Fattah, Pennsylvania Democrat, said they discussed several ideas on how to respond to the ruling, but reached no consensus.
“Other than the fact that there’s a certainty we’re going to seek to address it, I don’t think there’s any decision about how to proceed,” Mr. Fattah said.
With black unemployment at 13.7 percent in June, compared to the national average of 7.6 percent, several lawmakers urged Mr. Obama to send more federal money to their districts. Rep. James E. Clyburn, South Carolina Democrat, revived the idea of a formula that would direct more federal dollars to communities with persistent poverty, the so-called 10-20-30 formula.
“It can be education,” Mr. Clyburn said. “It can be broadband deployment. It can be water and sewage development. Whatever you are doing to improve communities making sure it gets to communities of need. And it creates jobs dramatically.”
Ms. Fudge said the president “was receptive to that formula.”
© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
Dave Boyer is a White House correspondent for The Washington Times. A native of Allentown, Pa., Boyer worked for the Philadelphia Inquirer from 2002 to 2011 and also has covered Congress for the Times. He is a graduate of Penn State University. Boyer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Skeptics on all sides take aim of John Kerry's tentative deal on Ukraine
- Obama commutes drug dealer's sentence because of clerical error
- U.S. military on high alert as Ukraine troops trade gunfire with pro-Russian militants
- Obama calls for prayer on anniversary of Boston Marathon bombing
- Obama urges Putin to defuse Russian separatism in Ukraine
Latest Blog Entries
- Obama and Boehner congratulate U.S. men's hockey on win over Russia
- Americans say income gap will shrink if government butts out, poll shows
- WH spokesman Jay Carney recognizes beard's 'insufficiency,' shaves it off
- Obama misses deadline again on budget
- Biden burns rubber in driveway, laments road restrictions
TWT Video Picks
Women losing coverage under Obamacare, too
- Scalia to students on high taxes: At a certain point, 'perhaps you should revolt'
- Former Ranger breaks silence on Pat Tillman death: I may have killed him
- Feds approve powdered alcohol; 'Palcohol' available later this year
- Special Forces' suicide rates hit record levels casualties of 'hard combat'
- Justice at last: 'Evil woman' outed for grabbing girl's game ball
- Army goes to war with National Guard, seizes Apache attack helicopters
- Inside China: Marine's comment on islands draws sharp Chinese response
- EDITORIAL: More Lerner smoking-gun emails at IRS
- U.S. Navy to turn seawater into jet fuel
- EDITORIAL: Mark Warner running scared?
Top 10 handguns in the U.S.