The Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) has announced a 1,300-page bill to improve the lives of black people in the United States.
The CBC announced the plans for the Jobs and Justice Act of 2018 during a press conference on last Thursday.
According to NOLA, the bill calls for a $15 minimum wage, two years of free community college, funding to remove lead-contaminated water pipes, abolition of the death penalty and the removal of marijuana from the Controlled Substances Act.
CBC chairman Cedric Richmond acknowledged low unemployment rates in the black community but says that doesn’t mean there isn’t room for improvement.
“When we were slaves and sharecroppers, black unemployment was 0 percent. But I don’t think anyone would say that our community was doing well then,” said Richmond.
The bill includes legislation from almost all 48 members of the CBC and The National Urban League’s Main Street Marshall Plan. National Urban League CEO and President Marc Morial admitted the bill is up against a hostile administration, but he believes accountability is key to ensuring it gets through Congress.
“We know that many will say that this bill will not see the light of day,” said Morial. “But I can guarantee you that the Urban League … will call the question to each and every one who struts into our community, dances into our community, walks into our community asking for our vote: ‘Where do you stand on the Jobs and Justice bill?’ I want your name on the dotted line if you want me to pull the lever for you.”
Rep. Barbara Fudge took the direct approach.
“Mr. President, since you want to make sure poor neighborhoods stay poor, the very least you can do is give us access by train, by bus…so we can get to a job. So fix the streets, Mr. President,” she said.
The bill is based on a policy document, “We Have A Lot To Lose,” the CBC delivered to the White House in 2017.