Washington Report: Updates From the Capitol

Jobless rate at 16.5 % for African Americans; Fattah jockeys for chairmanship

What Washington Will Be Talking About Next Week

A senior Democratic aide tells BlackEnterprise.com that there will be a joint hearing between the House Financial Services panel’s Housing and Community Opportunity subcommittee and its Oversight and Investigations subcommittee on issues impacting minority contracting in the financial services industry. They’re still in the process of reaching out to various black organizations to compile the witness list, but hope the hearing will take place on Wednesday.

Rumors are swirling around Washington that President Barack Obama will announce the name of his second Supreme Court nominee on Monday. When asked about this by reporters during his Friday outdoor press conference on the April jobs report, however, Obama turned on his heels to go back inside the White House, acting as though the question had not even been asked. And, during a mid-day gaggle with reporters, press secretary Robert Gibbs refused to confirm the rumor, but did say that an announcement could come at any time.

Lawmakers are anxious to get a financial regulatory reform bill through the Senate before they take off for their Memorial Day recess. With the help of two Republicans, Senate Democrats were able to knock back a GOP challenge to the proposed Consumer Financial Protection Agency. House Dems are hoping the Senate will have a complete package for them to review by the end of the coming week.

The House Oversight Committee will hold a hearing on Wednesday to examine the merits of the Restroom Gender Parity in Federal Buildings Act. Also known as the Potty Parity Act, it was introduced by Rep. Edolphus Towns (D-New York) to address the problem of insufficient restroom facilities for women in federal buildings. It’s a bipartisan measure co-sponsored by the panel’s ranking member Rep. Darrell Issa (R-California). Towns told BlackEnterprise.com that he once saw a ladies room line in an airport that was so unfathomably long that he imagined some sort of prizes were being given away. The bill would require a one-to-one ratio for toilets, including urinals, in women’s and men’s restrooms.

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