Unfinished Business

Over the past two years, instead of solving problems, House Republicans have wasted time passing dead-end, highly partisan bills and blocking the American people’s priorities.

Key issues facing African-American communities have not been addressed.

Under the dysfunctional Republican Congress, there has been no “No Fly, No Buy” legislation to prevent suspected terrorists from buying guns. No legislation to strengthen our background check system.

There has been no increase in the minimum wage, no criminal justice reform, and no legislation to enact a strengthened Voting Rights Act.

The House Republican agenda excludes the concerns of African-American communities.

As it has for over 40 years, the Congressional Black Caucus worries about the struggles of America’s neglected citizens and continues to respond with meaningful action.

In September, before House Republicans left Washington without acting on the priorities of the American people, members of the Congressional Black Caucus gathered at the U.S. Department of Justice to address the surveillance and profiling of African Americans by law enforcement.

We have been engaged in efforts to address gun violence, expand educational opportunities for African Americans, and increase African-American inclusion in the tech industry.

And we are more committed than ever to these issues and to making a positive difference in the lives of those we represent.

Despite the hateful tone of his campaign and his appointment of a racist misogynist as his senior adviser, the president-elect has promised to be the president for all Americans. For the sake of our country, this is one promise he should actually keep. And it’s one that House Republicans should help him fulfill.

They should start by allowing a vote on bipartisan gun violence prevention legislation.

Every year, more than 30,000 Americans are killed by guns. Gun homicides in the United States are about as common as deaths from car crashes.

We need to expand background checks nationwide and keep guns out of the hands of suspected terrorists, criminals, and the dangerously mentally ill.

At the same time, we need to reform our broken criminal justice. We need to make our criminal justice system fairer and more efficient while improving our ability to protect the public and law enforcement. This necessitates reducing rigid mandatory minimums for certain nonviolent offenses and prioritizing treatment over incarceration.

House Republican leadership should recognize the bipartisan support for criminal justice reform and bring legislation up for a vote prior to the end of this Congress.

We also need to prioritize federal investment in anti-poverty programs. Assistant Democratic Leader James Clyburn’s 10–20–30 plan would designate funding to persistent poverty communities. This is an excellent place to start.

These are just a few priorities that we are urging Republican leadership to invest in.

As the 114th Congress winds down, we can do right by America’s families by focusing on the challenges they face and increasing opportunities for success.

The American people don’t want gridlock; they want action, and they want results. The Congressional Black Caucus will remain committed to securing results for every American, and will keep pressure on the Republican Congress to do the same.

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