Ray Baker: What the Congressional Black Caucus Will Be Working on in...

Ray Baker: What the Congressional Black Caucus Will Be Working on in 2014


The political scene will heat up in 2014. Not only will this year bring midterm elections but also there are many interesting political battles to come. An extension of unemployment insurance is already early session drama and Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida has made it a point to offer a conservative agenda in the war on poverty. 

Equally important to communities of color will be what the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) will be working on in 2014. Many of the issues that faced communities of color in 2013 will still be on the table in ’14. Many members toldPolitic365 that they would be working to close the income inequality gap. A key policy CBC members hope will address income inequality is the 10-20-30 legislation introduced by South Carolina Congressman and Assistant House Minority Leader James Clyburn. 

Another initiative many in the CBC will be pursuing to address income inequality is the federal minimum wage. Many includingRepresentative Gwen Moore (D-WI), Rep. Donna Edwards (D-MD) and Rep. Barbara Lee all toldPolitic365 they want to see a raise in the minimum wage, with Lee going so far as to call for a living wage. Rep. G.K. Butterfield (D-NC) stressed the importance of closing the gap on income inequality by also expanding opportunities to those in rural communities.

In 2014 Edwards will continue the work she began in ’13 around the “When Women Succeed” Campaign she worked on with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) and Rep. Doris Matsui (D-CA). A legislative goal for Edwards will be to pass a bill to make childcare more affordable for working families.

Elder statesman of the CBC Rep. Charlie Rangel (D-NY)will be working on legislation aimed at providing a second chance to ex-offenders as well as finding ways to “improve and expand” the African Growth and Opportunity Act (of which Rangel is an author).

Rep. Andre Carson (D-IN) will use his position as a member of the Transportation Committee to work on the highway bill. Carson wants to see the bill include language that allows for construction and design jobs that, “bring tax dollars back for our public transit and Amtrak.”

These and the other members of the CBC may have lofty political and policy goals for 2014, but they and Democrats remain in the minority. It remains to be seen what of their legislative goals members of the CBC can get accomplished in a deeply divided and partisan House.