Black Caucus Feuds With Obama on Jobs Program

Monday, 08 Aug 2011 05:31 PM

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The Congressional Black Caucus finds itself at odds with President Barack Obama over a jobs program for African-Americans. Members of the caucus have met three times this year with administration officials but have failed to secure Obama’s support, The Washington Post reported.

“We want him to know that, from this day forward . . . we’ve had it,” Michigan Rep. John Conyers told the Post. “We want him to come out on our side and advocate, not to watch and wait.”

Regardless, the caucus also has plenty of ire for House Republicans, blaming them for blocking more than 40 bills intended to create jobs for African-Americans, and caucus members are not about to abandon the president. However, they are fed up with Obama’s view that the best way to bring jobs to African-Americans is to improve the economy.

The caucus is pushing for programs, such as government grants to poor neighborhoods, to target an unemployment rate that now stands at 16.8 percent for blacks, compared with 8.2 percent for whites. The lawmakers are embarking on a month-long campaign that will convene rallies in Ohio, Florida, Michigan, Georgia, and California.

Cabinet members will attend the events, and several federal agencies are participating in the job fairs, which will include more than 200 companies with 10,000 available jobs, caucus spokeswoman Stephanie Young told the Post.

The events will overlap with Obama’s three-day “listening tour” through the Midwest that starts this weekend. He will be in Iowa on Aug. 16, when the Congressional Black Caucus will be in Detroit for the second of its five rallies.

“What the president is doing is not the same as what we’re doing. . . We have real jobs to give real people who are unemployed,” caucus Chairman Emanuel Cleaver, D-Mo., told the Post. “This is not one of those deals where we go around and talk about jobs and hope somebody gives us some press attention.”

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