Members of the Congressional Black Caucus Chairman participate in a ceremonial swearing-in, Tuesday, Jan. 6, 2015. on Capitol Hill in Washington, as the 114th Congress began . (AP Photo/Lauren Victoria Burke)
Democrats in the House of Representatives have proposed a change to seniority rules in the House. The proposal could marginalize the political power of the Congressional Black Caucus at a time when they make up nearly a quarter of the Democrats in the House.
Members of the CBC have waited for their time to ascend into leadership roles according to House seniority rules. Now as they are poised to seize power it appears as though their colleagues are changing the rules to keep them from key leadership posts.
On Monday, Roland Martin and the “NewsOne Now” Straight Talk panel looked at the brewing firestorm as well as the political ramifications if the proposed changes to House seniority rules are put into place.
“NewsOne Now” panelist Joia Jefferson Nuri told Martin, “Everybody is fearful of the color majority that is coming on this country. It is coming whether you like it or not.” She believes lawmakers looking to change the rules in the House are want to modify the current system to resemble an Apartheid system to where “you could be the majority number, but you have no power.”
Martin said Black Caucus members have a valid point because, “Even when you are in the minority, when you are a ranking member on a committee — that holds significant power.” He continued, “Having Maxine Waters on the House Committee dealing with banking and finance, that’s crucial” to how minorities are included in monetary policy.
Attorney and Consultant, Shelby Emmett disagreed with the sentiments of Martin, Nuri and Manago who all felt the move to change rules showed malice towards Black lawmakers. Emmett said, “I hate to break it to the CBC and members of Congress, but it’s not about you. It’s not about your power. This is about you representing your district, not about you having seniority.”
Listen to Martin, Joia Jefferson Nuri, Cleo Manago and Shelby Emmett’s heated debate over changes in the House of Representatives seniority rules and the role the Congressional Black Caucus has played in pushing legislation to benefit African Americans in the audio clip below.
Do you think members of the CBC should revolt against Rep. Nancy Pelosi and other Democrats who are attempting to change the rules just as Black lawmakers are on the cusp of attaining key leadership positions? Or do you believe members of the CBC are more focused on attaining power within the House than fighting for their constituents?