Washington Report: Updates From the Capitol

Clyburn calls for investigation of South Carolina candidates

Financial Services Reform Conference Committee Now in Session

Black lawmakers are prominently represented on the conference committee comprised that will reconcile the House and Senate versions of a financial regulatory reform bill. They include Maxine Waters (D-California), Mel Watt (D-North Carolina), and Gregory Meeks (D-New York), who are chair Financial Services subcommittees, as well as Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers (D-Michigan) and Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Edolphus Towns (D-New York).

Watt said that while he and the other black lawmakers will fight for protections such as minority representation at each regulatory office “to serve as a watchdog and reminder that people need to do better” and a Consumer Financial Protection Agency, African Americans need to pay attention to as many aspects of the bill as possible.

“We’re an integral part of the economy and this meltdown has substantially and adversely and disproportionately impacted us, so there’s not a section of this bill that we’re not involved in,” he said. “Most of my constituents don’t feel like they know a lot about derivatives and CDOs and those sorts of things, but these things impact them if they as taxpayers end up having to pick up the bill for them.”

Click here to view coverage of the conference hearings.

In the meantime, the Senate is still trying to muster up enough support to pass the American Jobs and Closing Tax Loopholes Act. In addition to some Democrats, moderate Maine Republican senators Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins are balking at increasing deficit spending and want to see more offsets to pay for the measure.

So far, says Rep. Emanuel Cleaver, the provisions that the Congressional Black Caucus fought for, such funding for youth summer jobs and compensation for black farmers, are safe.

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