The CBC to Exercise Greater Power in New Congress

Members head top committees in Democrat-heavy legislature

she will succeed. The move worked to her advantage because Lee is now poised to lead the CBC during a period in which the challenges are greater but also one in which it can have significant impact.

Lee sits on the House Committee on Appropriations and co-chaired the Congressional Progressive Caucus before stepping down to head the CBC. She was the only House member to vote against a resolution authorizing President Bush to use “all necessary and appropriate force” against anyone associated with the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11.
“Lee comes from a very diverse district, with strong roots and so many of the issues and concerns that are paramount to the CBC. She brings a wealth of understanding, commitment and vibrancy. Talk to anyone on either side of the aisle in either cameral, and they’ll say, whether they agree or disagree with her, that she is power to be reckoned with on Capitol Hill. Having someone with her vision and commit at helm of CBC will be great for America,” says Hilary Shelton, NAACP Washington bureau director.

“We have many, many challenges, but those challenges do present historic opportunities,” said Lee at the news conference. “When you look at the economy and the fact that millions of Americans’ lives are in shambles due to the foreclosure crisis, that’s the first priority for all of us.” She declined to be more specific about what the CBC’s agenda will be until the caucus has held its retreat, but promises that it will be “unified and bold.”
Shelton believes that under Lee’s leadership, the CBC will be able to provide insightful perspectives about how the African American community is impacted by the challenges facing the nation as it always has, but now people will actually be listening. Recalling President Bush’s refusals to meet with the group as well as his lack of support for their stand on such issues as the budget and Hurricane Katrina victims, he adds, “They have a tremendous opportunity before them because they’ve got someone who’s a proven friend in the White House and more friends in both the House and the Senate.”

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