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Black lawmakers to confront Trump on policies

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The Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) has plans to meet with President Donald Trump to discuss issues related to the African American community.

President Trump and the executive committee of the Congressional Black Caucus will meet on Wednesday, the White House confirmed.

Press Secretary Sean Spicer told reporters at his daily briefing that Trump invited the lawmakers to “continue to have a dialogue -- sitting down with people, talking about the issues, talking about common ground.”

The Congressional Black Caucus is made up of 49 black members of Congress, mostly Democrats, but Republican Rep. Mia Love of Utah is also a member.

Rep. Cedric L. Richmond , the caucus chairman, said that he and five executive committee members have accepted Trump's invitation to discuss issues related to the African American community, including the president's proposed budget, education, criminal justice reform and health care.

“I decided to accept the president’s meeting request because there is no one around him who can provide the perspective and expertise that the CBC can provide,” he said in an interview with The Associated Press.

“His budget is contrary to African-American interests in a number of ways, and it's our role as policymakers to call him out on it,” Richmond said.

Richmond added, “I hope the president leaves the meeting with a better understanding of the challenges African Americans face, and how racism and discrimination in this country helped create those challenges.”

He added that the caucus members have heard many concerns from their constituents about the administration and that public opinion was divided over whether the members should meet with the president.

In a widely reported incident at a White House press conference last month, Trump told April Ryan, Washington bureau chief for the American Urban Radio Network, to “set up a meeting” between him and the Congressional Black Caucus. Ryan explained to the president she could not do that because she is a journalist.

During his campaign, Trump laid out “a new deal for black America” by promising to cut crime in inner cities, help create jobs for African-Americans, and deal with education challenges.

In a letter to the president on January 19, the Congressional Black Caucus said it outlined the issues it considers important. The letter expressed the opinion that Trump’s “New Deal for Black America” is ill-informed and insufficient.

The other lawmakers, all Democrats, who are scheduled to attend are Reps. André Carson (Ind.), Karen Bass (Calif.), Gwen Moore (Wis.), Brenda Lawrence (Mich.) and Anthony G. Brown (Md.).

2017.03.22 / 17:59
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