CBC to meet with Biden, Harris to discuss voting rights and policing

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Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) leadership, House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn and two additional members — Senators Cory Booker and Senator Raphael Warnock will meet with President Joe Biden on Tuesday at the White House at 2 p.m. eastern.

CBC Chairwoman Joyce Beatty confirmed to theGrio that the influential caucus group will seek to discuss a number of issues deemed “our top priorities during our [first] 100 days.”

Rep. Joyce Beatty, President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris
Left to right: Rep. Joyce Beatty, President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris (Photo: Getty Images)

Various sources confirmed Monday night before the meeting that the membership of the CBC huddled virtually to line up the top issues they wanted to address with President Biden.

Read More: Biden police oversight commission put on pause

The CBC, which has been long considered the conscience of the congress, is walking into the presidential session in alignment with President Joe Biden on a host of issues. 

Some of the expected top agenda items include the filibuster, the For the People Act and George Floyd Policing Act. Other highly-anticipated agenda items involve the American Rescue Plan and its equity components, closing the wealth gap, Black farmers, and COVID-19 vaccines. 

High-level topics that are supposed to also be discussed, according to a CBC member, focus on the economy, education, COVID, voting rights and reparations. The CBC source told theGrio that the group plans to place reparations and voting rights at the top of the agenda.

Senators Cory Booker and Raphael Warnock
Senators Cory Booker and Raphael Warnock (Photo: Getty Images)

When it comes to the Black COVID-19 vaccination numbers there is a stark difference in the amount of Black and brown Americans being vaccinated compared to white Americans. 

Dr. Alison Galvani, Yale Director of the Center for Infectious Disease Modeling and Analysis said, “it will be yet another American racial injustice with reverberations for the entire country in terms of perpetuating COVID.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control Demographic data released on Monday, 29.2 million white Americans have been vaccinated in comparison to 3.8 million Hispanic/Latinx Americans, 3.4 million Black Americans and 1.78 million Asian Americans. In the American Indian and Native Hawaiian populations, vaccine numbers are only in the hundreds of thousands.

Read More: More Black Americans open to vaccines after outreach efforts

One CBC member who spoke with theGrio anonymously feels states are doing a poor job of getting the vaccines to people of color. The congressperson said there is “a need to pull the alarm on that.”

Monday’s meeting with the CBC marks the first time as president that Joe Biden will meet with Black members of congress. The group is more than familiar with the president, especially since he currently has three of its former members in the highest ranks in his administration: Vice President Kamala Harris, Director of White House Office of Public Engagement and Senior Advisor, Cedric Richmond, and HUD Secretary Marcia Fudge.

White House Senior Advisor Cedric Richmond and HUD Secretary Marcia Fudge
White House Senior Advisor Cedric Richmond and HUD Secretary Marcia Fudge (Photo: Getty Images)

At least one of the two former members of the CBC who now work in the White House, Vice President Harris, is expected to attend the Oval Office meeting with the president and members of the legislative affairs team. Because of COVID-19 concerns, the meeting will have a limited number of attendees.

The last time the group met with a new president was when then-Congressman Cedric Richmond chaired the CBC. The meeting was initially prompted by then-presidential candidate Donald Trump’s asking the Black community, “What do you have to lose” if you vote for me? Now, Richmond serves as the highest-ranking Black personnel in the White House staff. 

Another congressperson participating in the Tuesday meeting who also requested to not be identified for this story said the CBC members are not afraid to take pictures with this president compared to what happened last time when members felt they were “being exploited” by then-President Trump.

Read More: Where are the jobs? Thousands remain vacant in Biden administration thanks to Trump

President Trump Delivers Remarks On Federal Judicial Confirmation Milestones
U.S. President Donald Trump looks on during an event about judicial confirmations in the East Room of the White House on November 6, 2019 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

At Trump’s first press conference as president, he was asked by theGrio’s White House Correspondent, April Ryan, about when he planned on meeting with the CBC. He did not know what the acronym meant at the time. 

Prior to the Trump presidency, it has been customary for a new president to meet with the CBC. As the conscience of Congress, the CBC has also pushed the public to see the intersections of Black America’s plights with national issues that Congress rectifies through legislation. For the White House to create inclusive policy, it has been essential for the administration to communicate with Black members of Congress. 

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