This morning, President Obama met with Members of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) at the White House. During the meeting, they discussed a range of topics including the economy, voting rights legislation, education, comprehensive immigration reform, youth employment, gun violence, and anti-poverty programs.
The President started the meeting by welcoming the freshmen members of the CBC serving in the 113th Congress. The President went on to acknowledge all of the hard work and perseverance demonstrated by the CBC to address pressing issues important to communities around the country. The President underscored the need to build on the legislative gains accomplished in his first term with the help of the CBC and they collectively agreed that there is still more work to be done together.
The President expressed that education remained a top priority in his administration from cradle to career. He emphasized commitments made by his Administration to improve the quality of early education and a new effort called “ConnectEd” that will provide high-speed broadband access to 99 percent of America’s students. He also discussed the need to continue efforts to help students afford college by protecting Pell Grants and preventing Stafford Loan interest rates from doubling for American students.
The President and the CBC conveyed their deep disappointment with the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision on the Voting Rights Act. The President reaffirmed his commitment to addressing voter discrimination through the Department of Justice and expressed his interested in working with Congress to pass legislation to ensure that every American who is eligible to vote has access to the polls.
Though the economy is showing signs of improvement, the President and the CBC expressed shared frustration over the pace of economic growth and the elevated unemployment rate among African Americans. The president reaffirmed his commitment to support and create policies that will not only build a strong economy for the middle class but also create ladders of opportunity for those striving to get into the middle class.
The President also underscored the need to continue to work with Congress, law enforcement and advocacy groups to reduce gun violence.
Members of the CBC shared a common interest in amplifying the benefits of the Affordable Care Act and plan to start a tour this summer to inform their constituents about the health care marketplaces set to open on October 1.
They also discussed the benefits of fixing our broken immigration system and the need for a commonsense approach.
At the end of the meeting, the President again thanked the CBC and said that he looks forward to continue to work with them.