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Congresswoman Joyce Beatty

Representing the 3rd District of Ohio

Spectrum News 1 Ohio: Black lawmakers push Biden for inclusive spending deal: 'While it's not a perfect ending, it is a lot of progress'

Oct 27, 2021
News Articles

Black voters helped to propel Joe Biden to the White House in the 2020 election – 92% of Black voters supported Biden, according to the Pew Research Center – and they remain a crucial constituency for the Democratic Party.

But the influential Congressional Black Caucus sent the White House a warning of sorts this month: In a statement, CBC chairwoman Rep. Joyce Beatty, D-Ohio, said that she made clear to Biden in a meeting that “the needs of Black families are not being perceived as a top priority for the Administration.”

What You Need To Know

    • After warning the White House that Black families felt left out of negotiations over President Joe Biden’s agenda, the Congressional Black Caucus has secured multiple meetings with the president and other administration officials
    • Chairwoman Joyce Beatty said Wednesday the caucus has received a promise that the final deal will include funding for things like HBCUs and housing vouchers
    • Black voters overwhelmingly supported Biden in the 2020 electiom, 92%-8%, according to a survey from the Pew Research Center
    • Beatty said "it’s very crucial” the Biden infrastructure agenda gets passed to prove to voters their support was worthwhile

The meeting came as the White House was negotiating with congressional Democrats over the size and scope of Biden’s Build Back Better act, a sweeping bill aimed at expanding the social safety net and fighting climate change.

“We weren’t at the table in the way we felt we should be,” Beatty told reporters in a press conference on Wednesday, almost two weeks after that initial exchange.

It seems the message was received: Since then, members of the caucus have met with Biden or his advisors multiple times.

On Wednesday, CBC members said they’ve been promised that the final deal will include funding for historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs), housing vouchers and expansions of the Child Tax Credit and Medicaid. A spokesperson for the CBC said Wednesday exact dollar amounts were not yet available.

“While it’s not a perfect ending, it is a lot of progress,” Beatty told reporters.

Rep. Gregory Meeks, D-N.Y., a fellow caucus member, said, “you’re seeing the inclusion of Black Americans like you’ve never seen before.”

With Democrats holding a razor-thin majority in Congress, any group of lawmakers can block passage of Biden’s agenda. Meeting the needs of different Democrats is a major reason why the White House has struggled to strike a deal.

Morderate Democrats like Sens. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., and Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., have forced Biden to slash the size of his plan and find new ways to pay for it, while groups like the CBC are pushing for historic investments in programs that will help the communities they represent.

“People will call our office and they will talk about jobs and the economy," Beatty told Spectrum News in an interview Wednesday. "They’ll talk about feeding their children, keeping a roof over their head. Some families will talk about education and how much the cost of college will be.”

Despite overwhelming support from Black voters, many of Biden's election promises, like police reform and protecting voting rights, have been blocked by Republicans.

Beatty said getting the Build Back Better agenda passed will be crucial to showing Black voters their support was worthwhile.

“I think it’s no secret that it’s very crucial,” Beatty said.

The article was originally published by Spectrum News 1 Ohio on October 27, 2021.