The midterm elections of 2010 are just as critical as the 2008 presidential race, according to two powerful Democratic members of the House of Representatives.
Rep. James Clyburn (D-SC) and Rep. Xavier Becerra (D-CA) spoke out against the GOP’s recent ‘Pledge to America’ in a conference call with members of the media. Clyburn is the House Majority Whip and Becerra is the Vice-Chair for the House Democratic Caucus of the 111th Congress.
The GOP’s pledge is a 48-page outline of the major goals of what could be a Republican-led House and/or Senate after the November midterm elections. They first presented their ideas in a press conference in late September 2010.
In the ‘Pledge to America,’ Republican leaders want to create jobs, curb government spending, restore trust in Congress, and focus on national security. The major issue gaining steam within the party is their plan to either repeal or remove funding from the healthcare legislation that Congress passed in March. The GOP has cited the hefty price tag associated with funding the legislation as one of the primary reasons for their lack of support.
Clyburn and Becerra, however, believe that the harsh economic realities in communities of color outweigh the Republican promises.
Unemployment in the African-American and Latino communities is at 16 percent and 12 percent, respectively, according to a representative from the Center for American Progress who joined the Congressmen. Congressmen Clyburn and Becerra both feel that the GOP’s pledge will only increase these figures by slashing programs and spending that will assist communities of color.
“We lost enough private sector jobs to fill up the ranks of a major U.S. city,” said Rep. Becerra of the staggering unemployment across the country and among African-Americans and Latinos.
The Congressmen also reminded reporters that minority communities will be negatively impacted from any changes in the healthcare legislation.
“To be told by this [Pledge for America] that the right you now have to keep your child on your health insurance policy until the age of 26 because your child is having difficulty finding work that provides health insurance gives you no peace of mind,” Becerra added. He was referring to the section of the pledge that details the plan to cancel all of the current healthcare reform policies.
Despite the specifics about programs and potential adverse changes, the message of minorities getting to the polls remained at the forefront. Both Congressmen stressed the urgency of voting with just over three weeks left until Election Day.
“I think this [midterm] election is seminal. We have got to get the minority community engaged in this process,” Rep. Clyburn said.
“It is important to future generations that we do all we can to energize this vote between now and November 2,” he added.
With that said, over the next few weeks, both Congressmen will be working hard to spread their message of supporting President Obama via a vote for Democratic leaders.