Rangel says cutting government spending will hurt African-Americans

Rep. Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.) said Thursday morning that government spending cuts will end up hurting African Americans disproportionately. 

In comments on the House floor, Rangel warned blacks would be disproportionately affected because many African-Americans have sought work in the public sector for reasons related to job security.

"And so many African-Americans, for reasons that I do not have to go into, have sought public service as a way of life because of the security that's involved in it," Rangel said on the House floor. "And so, when we talk about cutting the budget and cutting the services that are provided, we're talking about a larger number of minorities that would be losing their jobs as a result of budget cutting."

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Rangel said examples of these jobs include teachers, policemen and city hall clerks. But he also cited jobs in hospitals, which are threatened by Medicare and Medicaid cuts.

"All of you know, no matter where you come from, that you see a large number of African-Americans working in these institutions, trying to get educations to move forward," Rangel said.

The unemployment rate for blacks in June was 16.2 percent, compared to 8.1 percent for whites. Monthly reports this year have shown a steady decline in public-service jobs as states and local governments have worked to close budget deficits. 

The White House and congressional leaders are continuing to work on a debt-ceiling agreement, which appears likely to include federal spending cuts to a range of programs. Earlier work by negotiators led by Vice President Biden has identified up to $2 trillion in spending cuts, although the agreement is hung up on Republican objections to new tax revenues.

"Please understand that every time we cut in the budget, we're cutting someone's job, and they will join the helpless and unemployed," Rangel said on the floor.