Black Caucus pushes for priorities in final deal

Black Caucus pushes for priorities in final deal
© Greg Nash

Rep. Joyce BeattyJoyce Birdson BeattyDemocratic caucus chairs call for Boebert committee assignment removal Warnock: 'True justice' is a Black man not having to worry about being killed while jogging Biden: Guilty verdicts in Arbery case 'not enough' MORE (D-Ohio), chair of the Congressional Black Caucus, said Tuesday that she has made a vigorous push in recent weeks to make sure that Black communities are prioritized in the final version of President BidenJoe BidenMan sentenced to nearly four years for running scam Trump, Biden PACs Dole in final column: 'Too many of us have sacrificed too much' Meadows says Trump's blood oxygen level was dangerously low when he had COVID-19 MORE’s Build Back Better package.

“We diligently championed our priorities and are proud to see their inclusion in this reconciliation package,” Beatty said in a statement Tuesday afternoon, noting that she had met with the White House more than a handful of times in recent weeks.

“This is an important start and it demonstrates progress.”

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Beatty’s statement came after she and other CBC members took part in a broad lawmaker meeting with senior White House staff early Tuesday afternoon that included representation from the Tri Caucus Women’s Caucus and LGBTQ+ Equality Caucus.

To White House staff attending the meeting included Susan RiceSusan RiceAn unquestioning press promotes Rep. Adam Schiff's book based on Russia fiction Biden administration, stakeholders to host interagency event on economic equity Black Caucus pushes for priorities in final deal MORE, the director of the Domestic Policy Council; Brian DeeseBrian DeeseBiden says 'consumer spending has recovered' to pre-pandemic levels The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by ExxonMobil - Arbery case, Biden spending bill each test views of justice Democrats optimistic as social spending bill heads to Senate MORE, director of the National Economic Council; and senior Biden advisor Cedric RichmondCedric RichmondBiden should seek some ideological diversity Biden says 'consumer spending has recovered' to pre-pandemic levels Build Back Better is a 21st century New Deal MORE, who is formerly a CBC member and lawmaker from Louisiana.

Cecilia RouseCecilia RouseBlack Caucus pushes for priorities in final deal On The Money: Inflation spike puts Biden on defensive | Senate Democrats hit spending speed bumps | Larry Summers huddles with WH team Larry Summers, White House officials meet to discuss Biden agenda MORE, Chair of the Council of Economic Advisers, and Shalanda Young, acting director of the Office of Management and Budget, were also present at the meeting.

Standing outside of the White House after the meeting, Beatty told reporters that Democrats are “close to a deal” on their budget reconciliation package, which initially sported a price tag of $3.5 trillion.

The original goal of the package, also known as Biden’s Build Back Better plan, was to significantly expand the country’s social safety nets, including many provisions that were cut out of the bipartisan infrastructure plan. 

However, objections over the bill’s cost — and how to pay for it — from centrist Sens. Joe ManchinJoe ManchinSchumer steps on the gas to move Biden agenda Overnight Health Care — Biden touts drug price push Biden points to drug prices in call for Senate social spending vote MORE (D-W.Va.) and Kyrsten SinemaKyrsten SinemaBiden points to drug prices in call for Senate social spending vote The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Uber - Omicron tests vaccines; Bob Dole dies at 98 This week: Congress poised to go into December overtime MORE (D-Ariz.) forced Democrats back to the negotiating table where they’ve been stuck for weeks.

That said, an end to the deadlock might come this week, as Democratic leadership and the White House are eager to have a deal worked out before Biden embarks on an overseas trip Thursday.

In her statement, Beatty cited funding for HBCUs, the expanded child tax credit and housing vouchers as some of the policy points that the Black Caucus pushed to be included.

The Ohio congresswoman added that the caucus remains committed to voting rights and police reform, describing both as “nonnegotiable from the CBC’s standpoint.”

Unlike the budget package, legislative progress on voting rights and police reform has been hard to come by this session.

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Rep. Karen BassKaren Ruth BassFor Democrats it should be about votes, not megaphones Proposed California maps put incumbents in jeopardy Bass calls 'Black pastors' comment during Arbery trial 'despicable' MORE (D-Calif.), Sen. Tim ScottTimothy (Tim) Eugene ScottHow expanded credit data can help tackle inequities Dems erupt over GOP 'McCarthyism' as senators vet Biden bank watchdog pick Why Democrats' prescription drug pricing provision would have hurt seniors MORE (R-S.C.) and Sen. Cory BookerCory BookerMaternal and child health legislation must be prioritized now Poll: Harris, Michelle Obama lead for 2024 if Biden doesn't run Five reasons for Biden, GOP to be thankful this season MORE (D-N.J.) spent the spring and summer trying to broker a deal on the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, but were ultimately unsuccessful.

Democrats’ pair of voting rights bills — The Freedom to Vote Act and the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act — have both passed the House this session, only to be stonewalled by the Senate filibuster.

Last week, the Freedom to Vote Act fell prey to a Senate cloture vote, keeping debate of the bill off the Senate floor. The latest setback has renewed calls for some form of filibuster reform, a strategy that Sinema and Manchin have yet to support.