It seems Obama's relief and recovery plan isn't fooling everyone in Washington. Yesterday, ten Congressional Black Caucus members, led by California Representative Maxine Waters, withheld their votes on a financial reform bill that would add new consumer protections, create a structure to relieve failing banks and companies, and regulate derivatives. But none of it includes creating new jobs for the growing 15.2 percent of Blacks who are unemployed. For Black men between the ages of 16 and 24, the jobless rate is at 34.5 percent, reaching Great Depression proportions. The CBC protested Obama's failure to stem the high jobless rate in Black communities opting instead to relieve the banks and companies that put all of us in this situation with their reckless spending and irresponsible lending practices. Said Maxine Waters, California's Democratic Representative, to The Hill:
“We have not been forceful enough in our efforts to protect the most vulnerable of our population,” said Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.), who represents one of the nation’s poorest districts. “We can no longer afford for our public policy to be defined by the worldview of Wall Street.”
To funnel resources back into the communities that need them, the CBC is calling for:
-- stronger efforts to reduce foreclosures, which includes relieving the amount of the principal for those lenders facing foreclosure -- better access to credit for African-American-owned auto dealerships
-- more aid to small and community banks that lend to African-Americans
-- more federal money funneled into supporting advertising in radio stations and newspapers owned by people of color
The CBC members did not say whether or not they would be withholding their votes again next week when the bill goes up for vote in front of the entire House. They are lining up meetings with the heads of national financial regulatory agencies and president Obama himself.