Congressional Black Caucus Chairman Rep. Emanuel Cleaver II, D-Mo., center, accompanied by fellow CBC members outside the White House after their meeting with President Barack Obama. Front row, from left are, Rep. Robert Scott, D-Va., Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Calif., Cleaver, D-Mo.; Rep. Bobby Rush, D-Ill. and Rep. Donald M. Payne, D-N.J. (Photo: AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
The Congressional Black Caucus met with President Obama for an hour on Thursday, during which the group urged him to focus more on job creation in the nation’s urban core and other communities where unemployment rates have soared to record-high levels.
CBC Chairman Emanuel Cleaver (D-Missouri) told reporters after the meeting that the group is “unapologetically pushing” for economic solutions that target African-Americans.
“We are not satisfied that the poor and the vulnerable are hurting,” Cleaver said. “We are satisfied that the president’s attention is on that.”
Cleaver said that CBC members and the president exchanged “creative” ideas about job creation, including programs that target census tracts where unemployment and poverty have persisted for decades and areas recovering from recent natural disasters. But, he said, “The issues are difficult to manage. If they weren’t, we would have already solved it.” Cleaver said that his group also would seek legislative solutions but would continue to place pressure on the White House.
“People who would otherwise be middle class through no fault of their own have found themselves without jobs. They’re firefighters, factory workers, police officers and state workers, and they are begging for help,” Cleaver said. “I think that the Congressional Black Caucus and the president are interested in trying to come up with some means to address that and doing it rather quickly.”