Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
March 5, 2015

Posts in "Congressional Black Caucus"

March 2, 2015

The ‘Real Congresswoman From Selma’ Has Her Say

Sewell, likes to kid that her mother is the "real congresswoman" from the district. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Sewell likes to kid that her mother is the “real congresswoman” from the district. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

MONTGOMERY, Ala. — Rep. Terri A. Sewell has her constituents in Alabama. Then she has “the” constituent.

“Everyone knows [who] the real congresswoman from the 7th District is,” the Alabama Democrat said. Her staff backs her up, almost in unison: “Nancy Sewell.” Full story

February 26, 2015

Some Democrats May Skip It, but Netanyahu Speech Is Still a Hot Ticket

Dozens of House Democrats are planning to skip Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s address to Congress on March 3, and they’re hoping their absence will send a strong signal.

One of those Democrats is Rep. John Yarmuth of Kentucky. Full story

February 23, 2015

CBC Chairman: ‘Black America Is in a State of Emergency’

The Congressional Black Caucus is still getting up and running for the 114th Congress — it announced its staff Monday — but its new chairman sees an urgency for an organization that has long been known to represent the interests of minorities and the poor.

“We have a traditional role and that is to be the conscience of the Congress,” Rep. G.K. Butterfield, D-N.C., told CQ Roll Call on Feb. 20. “We’ve been using ‘conscience of the Congress’ as our brand, if you will, since our founding. But we’ve got to do more than that because black America is in a state of emergency right now.” Full story

New Congressional Black Caucus Staffers Announced

UNITED STATES - FEBRUARY 20: Congressional Black Caucus staffers from left, Kwame Canty, Kendra Brown, Candace L. Randle, and Abdul Henderson pose in the Cannon House Office Building on Friday, Feb. 20, 2015. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Congressional Black Caucus staffers, from left, Kwame Canty, Kendra Brown, Candace L. Randle and Abdul Henderson. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

With the 114th Congress already heading into its seventh week of action, the Congressional Black Caucus announced its new staff, filling out its four-person shop with three new hires and one holdover from the 113th.

Abdul Henderson will serve as the CBC’s new executive director, taking over for LaDavia Drane, who is now director of the Office of Federal and Regional Affairs in D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser’s administration. Full story

February 20, 2015

Terri Sewell Proves You Can Come Home Again

Sewell, left, takes a selfie with Patti Chambers at the Brown Chapel AME Church in Selma, Ala. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Sewell, right, poses with Patti Chambers at the Brown Chapel AME Church in Selma, Ala. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

MONTGOMERY, Ala. — “I come to places like Sidney Lanier so you can see, congresswomen look like me,” Rep. Terri A. Sewell tells a roundtable of student journalists here at Sidney Lanier High School.

With apologies to the late novelist Thomas Wolfe, the Alabama Democrat contradicts the title of his 1940 book, “You Can’t Go Home Again.” Full story

February 18, 2015

In Richmond’s Defense of Scalise, a History of Camaraderie

House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, R-La., right, and Rep. Cedric Richmond, D-La., talk in the Capitol's House chamber before President Barack Obama's State of the Union address, January 20, 2015. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Richmond, left, and Scalise speak in the House chamber before President Barack Obama’s 2015 State of the Union address. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Democrat Cedric L. Richmond’s defense of Steve Scalise after revelations the Republican majority whip spoke to a white supremacist group in 2002 raised eyebrows in Washington — especially among other members of the Congressional Black Caucus.

But the two Louisiana congressmen — one a black progressive, the other a white conservative — have a relationship that goes back 14 years, to their early days as friendly adversaries in the state Legislature. Full story

February 11, 2015

Lawmakers Push Longshot Bid to Rewrite Voting Rights Act

Sensenbrenner, R-Wisc., prepares to testify during the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on "From Selma to Shelby County: Working Together to Restore the Protections of the Voting Rights Act" on Wednesday, July 17, 2013. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Sensenbrenner seeks more Republican support for a revived Voting Rights Act. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner fell short in his 2014 efforts to convince GOP leadership to take up his Voting Rights Amendment Act, but the Wisconsin Republican is ready to take another stab at passing a rewrite of the historic law.

But there’s little indication this year will be any different.

Full story

January 29, 2015

Democrats Unite Around Middle-Class Message, Israel Says

Israel, D-N.Y., chairman of the DCCC, speaks at the National Press Club's Newsmaker series on how Rep. Paul Ryan's, R-Wis., budget will effect the midterm elections. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Israel says Democrats are behind the new “middle class” focus. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

PHILADELPHIA — House Democrats are united around a new messaging strategy for the 2016 cycle, according to Rep. Steve Israel of New York.

“Middle class, middle class and middle class,” the chairman of a newly created Democratic Policy and Communication Committee told reporters on Thursday morning. Full story

January 27, 2015

House Democrats Brace for Potentially Tense Retreat

elosi, D-Calif., arrives for her weekly news conference in the Capitol Visitor Center, January 22, 2015. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Pelosi’s Democrats head to Philadelphia looking for unity. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The official theme of the House Democrats’ annual “issues conference” this week is “Grow America’s Economy, Grow American Paychecks.”

But the three-day retreat in Philadelphia, which kicks off Wednesday afternoon, could be a test of whether leaders and rank-and-file members can return to Washington, D.C., having found some common ground. Full story

January 22, 2015

Clyburn Offers Personal Perspective on the Relevance, Power of ‘Selma’

Assistant Democratic Leader Rep. James Clyburn, D-S.C., speaks during the House Democrats' news conference on poverty and the House Republicans' budget on Tuesday, March 19, 2013. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call) Copyright © Roll Call Group

Clyburn will lead the Democratic Party’s efforts to increase voter participation. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

“Selma” may have been snubbed by the Oscars, but Rep. James E. Clyburn gave the civil-rights movie a very personal endorsement Wednesday during a Democratic Party news conference on voting rights.

The South Carolina Democrat, introduced at the event by Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi as the chairman of a new task force charged with increasing voter participation, shared an anecdote about how the movie about Martin Luther King Jr. and the civil rights movement of the 1960s resonated with one of his younger relatives:

I have now seen the movie, “Selma,” twice and I plan to see it again in this building next Tuesday evening. The second time I watched it was last week and I watched it sitting with my just-turned 18-year-old granddaughter. I didn’t say anything to her about the movie. I just told her that I was sponsoring the movie for members of — of my staff and others in the community.

We rented out a theater of 120 seats. Within two hours, we had to go back and get a 300-seat theater. But I was really focusing on my granddaughter, so I sat next to her during the movie. She was — she had her iPhone, doing what 18-year-olds do.

I’m — like a granddaddy; I’m scared to look at see what was going on on that iPad, so I kept looking forward. But she stayed, when even the movie came on, she didn’t turn off that iPhone until those little four girls was walking down the staircase in the church, going to their Sunday School room and the bomb went off.

At that point, she turned off her iPhone and intently watched the movie; even asked me at one point, a question about who that person was that was having a little interchange with John Lewis about whether or not to march, James Foreman, who was one of my best friends in the movement.

And I explained who James Foreman was and she was a little bit surprised to know that I — I knew him and he was a friend. But the next morning, when the movie was over, she went home. I got a call the next morning. She wanted to have lunch. And so I said OK.

And she told me what time and I — I objected to the time. And I said, ‘Well — well, can’t we do it a little earlier?’ She says, ‘No, because I’m going to register to vote. And when I finish my registration, I want to come and have lunch with you.’

And she brought some of her friends with her. And we talked about the movie. And we talked about voting. And when lunch was over, the rest of her friends; they left and went to the voter registration office.

I think that we’re at a time that young people, who seem not to be participating at the same level as young people did when I was young; that we can get people re-engaged once again. And that’s what this task force is all about.

Clyburn, the House’s No. 3 Democrat, will head the 11-person Democratic Outreach & Engagement Task Force, which will also include California’s Lucille Roybal-Allard and Barbara Lee; New York’s Nydia Velázquez, Hakeem Jeffries and Grace Meng; Indiana’s André Carson; Louisiana’s Cedric Richmond; Pennsylvania’s Matt Cartwright and Brendan Boyle; and New Mexico’s Michelle Lujan Grisham.

 

Related:

Cantor Voting Rights Act Legacy is Failure to Deliver, Democrats Say

Democrats Commemorate Voting Rights Act Anniversary as Legislative Fix Remains Elusive

Voting Rights Rally Calls on Congress to Act

Can Cantor Deliver on Voting Rights Act?

Lawmakers Introduce Bipartisan Voting Rights Act Fix

Republicans to Eric Holder: Don’t Mess With Texas on Voting Rights

Cantor Calls For a Voting Rights Act Fix

Voting Rights Act Puts GOP in Pickle

Get breaking news alerts and more from Roll Call in your inbox or on your iPhone.

January 16, 2015

Congressional Black Caucus Sees Leverage in Steve Scalise Protests

Protesters outside rallied outside the Capitol Hill Club on Jan. 13. (Hannah Hess/CQ Roll Call)

Protesters outside rallied outside the Capitol Hill Club on Jan. 13. (Hannah Hess/CQ Roll Call)

Members of the Congressional Black Caucus see opportunity in the scandal that inspired a heart-shaped “KKK + GOP” sign outside a recent Capitol Hill Club fundraiser for House Majority Whip Steve Scalise.

Revelations that the Louisiana Republican rejected a 1996 resolution in apologizing for slavery — six years before his 2002 address at a meeting of white supremacists — “disgusted” CBC Chairman G.K. Butterfield, but the North Carolina Democrat says he doesn’t want to dwell on it. Full story

December 3, 2014

‘Hands Up’ Joins Legacy of Boston Tea Party, Rosa Parks, Selma, Lawmaker Says (Video)

(CQ Roll Call File Photo)

(CQ Roll Call File Photo)

“Hands Up, Don’t Shoot” as a symbol of protest against injustice is here to stay, Rep. Al Green said Wednesday on the floor of the House.

“This is not going to go away,” the Texas Democrat said during a short, public response to critics — chiefly MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough — who have taken issue with Green’s and other black lawmakers’ use, during congressional proceedings two days earlier, of a gesture that has come to symbolize frustration over the police shooting of teenager Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo.

Green said the “Hands Up” movement that has germinated in the wake of last summer’s shooting is the latest in a long line of historic protests, including the Boston Tea Party, Martin Luther King Jr.’s Selma march and Rosa Parks’ refusal to sit at the back of the bus in Montgomery. Full story

November 25, 2014

Congressional Black Caucus Members React to Decision in Ferguson

Chair of the Congressional Black Caucus Rep. Marcia Fudge, D-Ohio, speaks during the Congressional Black Caucus news conference to discuss today's Supreme Court decision on Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act, Shelby County v. Holder on Tuesday, June 25, 2013. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Fudge calls the grand jury’s action a “slap in the face.”  (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Just as America seems divided on the death of a young black man in Ferguson, Mo., members of the Congressional Black Caucus are showing their own divisions over the racially charged incident that has prompted many in Congress to wonder how they should respond.

A CBC spokesperson told CQ Roll Call Tuesday that the special orders hour on the first day the House is back, Monday Dec. 1, would be on Ferguson, but knew of no legislative response lawmakers were planning to take, including legislation to address the militarization of police. There were calls for hearings this summer on the Pentagon-to-police weapons program after the initial protests erupted in Ferguson, but there were no such calls Tuesday — at least not yet.

Instead, it’s been words — statements and tweets — that have marked the different approaches to Ferguson. And Monday night, after a grand jury decided not to indict Darren Wilson, the police offer who shot and killed unarmed teen Michael Brown this summer, members further showed their divisions. Full story

November 19, 2014

CBC Rallies to Defend Brown, Democrats’ Seniority System

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Brown, who had the most seniority, is the new ranking member of the VA Committee. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Wednesday was a good day for the Congressional Black Caucus: In just a matter of hours, the powerful group saw Democrats’ seniority system — a tradition that has long protected minority lawmakers from being passed over for leadership positions — prevail not once, but twice.

First, Rep. Frank Pallone Jr. — the No. 3 Democrat on the Energy and Commerce Committee — beat the No. 5 panel Democrat, Rep. Anna G. Eshoo of California, in the race to be ranking member.

He’s not a member of the CBC, but Pallone showed that lawmakers had no intention of bowing to pressure from some party leaders, such as Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, to disregard the House Democratic Caucus’s deference to the decades-old seniority precedent. Full story

Messy Fight for Veterans’ Affairs Ranking Member Slot (Updated)

Brown, left, and Walz, center, are vying for the ranking member position on the Veterans' Affairs Committee. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Brown, left, and Walz, center, each are vying for the ranking member position on the Veterans’ Affairs Committee. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 9:28 a.m. | Rep. Tim Walz of Minnesota thought there would be a vote after Thanksgiving on the Veterans’ Affairs Committee ranking member race. As it turns out, his face-off against Rep. Corrine Brown of Florida will happen on Wednesday.

It gives Walz less time than he and his allies said they anticipated to build support around his uphill challenge of Brown, who benefits from seniority and the backing of the Congressional Black Caucus, of which she is a member.

Before the Democratic Steering and Policy Committee can meet to vote on a recommendation to the full House Democratic Caucus, Walz will have to clear an additional hurdle: A vote on whether he is even eligible to hold the post.

Walz is the highest-ranking enlisted soldier to ever serve in Congress and has had a seat at the Veterans’ Affairs Committee table since 2007. He is, however, on the committee via waiver, and his opponents say it doesn’t qualify him to run against Brown, who after nearly two decades on the committee is next in line to succeed the current retiring ranking member, Michael H. Michaud of Maine. Full story

Sign In

Forgot password?

Or

Subscribe

Receive daily coverage of the people, politics and personality of Capitol Hill.

Subscription | Free Trial

Logging you in. One moment, please...