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If Democrats Take Back the House Next Congress, the CBC Would Insist They Pass These Policies Within the First 100 Days

Today, the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) released 10 must-do policies that would help address issues hurting both communities of color and rural communities.  If Democrats take back the House next Congress, CBC would insist that they pass these policies within the first 100 days.

 

Among the policies included are those that would restore the Voting Rights Act, reform the criminal justice system, reinforce the Affordable Care Act, expand economic opportunity, and empower workers.

 

1. Restore the Voting Rights Act

  • Fully reinstate Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 to ensure states with problematic histories must preclear changes to their voting laws before implementation. 
  • Amend the National Voter Registration Act to promote voter registration.
  • Restore full funding for election security.

 

2. Reinforce the Affordable Care Act & Eliminate Racial Disparities in Health Care

  • Promote legislation strengthening access to universal health care.
  • Allocate resources to stabilize the Affordable Care Act’s insurance marketplace.
  • Address persistent ethnic and racial health disparities and improve health outcomes in communities of color.
  • Diversify the health provider pipeline to keep pace with racial demographic trends.
  • Improve support for Medicaid Disproportionate Share Hospitals treating low-income Americans in urban and rural communities.

 

3. Advance Comprehensive Criminal Justice Reforms

  • Direct the Department of Justice to pursue civil actions, including actions which would result in consent decrees, when the Department has reasonable cause to believe that law enforcement has engaged in actions that violate constitutionally protected rights. 
  • Ban private prisons and reinstate federal parole.
  • Require police academies to conduct de-escalation training focused on preserving life.

 

4. End the War on Drugs

  • Decriminalize the use and possession of marijuana allowing states to make their own decisions and end federal prohibition and related law enforcement of marijuana.
  • Remove marijuana from the Controlled Substances Act and create a “Community Reinvestment Fund” to invest in communities most impacted by the War on Drugs, for programs such as job training, reentry, community centers, and more.
  • Retroactively eliminate mandatory minimums for federal drug offenses and require the Attorney General to reinstitute the Smart on Crime directive and pass codifying legislation.
  • Instruct the U.S. Sentencing Commission to amend the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines accordingly.

 

5. Empower Workers

  • Raise the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2025.
  • Allow employers a credit against income tax for employees who participate in qualified apprenticeship programs.

 

 

6. Boost Educational Opportunity

  • Authorize the Department of Education to award grants to states and Indian tribes to waive tuition and fees at community colleges.
  • Reduce the cost of college by investing in and modernizing student financial aid, protect students, veterans, and taxpayers from predatory institutions, and assist colleges and universities in their efforts to improve student outcomes.
  • Establish a grant program to help HBCUs modernize their core curricula—particularly in the tech field—to encourage businesses to hire recent HBCU graduates.
  • Authorize formula grants for subsidized summer jobs for in-and out-of-school youth ages 14 to 24, authorize formula grants for partially subsidized year-round jobs for youth ages 16 to 24 who are out of school and work, and authorize competitive grants to transform communities with high rates of youth disconnection into communities of opportunity.

 

7. Enact Common-Sense Gun Violence Prevention

  • Close loopholes including the Charleston loophole and gun show loophole.
  • Expand universal background checks.
  • Authorize and require research into the impact of gun violence on community safety.

 

8. Expand Economic Opportunity & Promote Entrepreneurship

  • Restore full funding to the Community Development Financial Institutions Fund.
  • Expand the New Markets Tax Credit Program and improve access to the New Markets Tax Credit Program to Minority Depository Institutions and community banks.

 

  • Strengthen the Earned Income Tax Credit for childless workers currently taxed into poverty.
  • Require the Small Business Administration to make grants for commercial investment in economically underserved communities.

 

  • Encourage corporate diversity by requiring federal contractors and public companies to disclose the race, gender, and ethnicity of their board of directors and senior management.

 

  • Target investments to the 485 counties where 20 percent or more of the population has been living below the poverty line for the last 30 years.

 

9. Improve Access to Affordable Housing

  • Codify the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) mission statement, including language committing to “inclusive and sustainable communities free from discrimination.”
  • Require HUD to reinstate the Local Government Assessment Tool that assists jurisdictions in complying with the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule.
  • Provide additional funding for the public housing Capital Fund for large public housing agencies, for mortgage foreclosure mitigation assistance, and for incremental rental assistance vouchers.
  • Direct HUD to conduct a nationwide testing program to detect and report patterns of housing discrimination.

 

10. Eliminate Discriminatory Lending

  • Reinstate the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act’s racial reporting requirement struck from the recently passed banking deregulatory legislation.
  • Strengthen the Community Reinvestment Act.
  • Reform pay day and title lending practices.
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