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Black Caucus chair says spending bill will fund top priorities, including HBCUs and housing

WASHINGTON – As Democrats scramble to strike a deal on President Joe Biden’s social safety net program, Congressional Black Caucus Chair Joyce Beatty said on Wednesday that a number of her group’s priorities for black Americans would be incorporated into the massive bill.

The Ohio Democrat said in a press conference with members of the CBC that they visited the White House on Tuesday to speak with Biden and senior White House officials about the negotiations.

“We’re not there yet,” she said. “But shortly, we’ll be there and we’ll see a lot of our priorities there. We will see many of the investments that we strive for and work for and lead at the top of this list. “

Beatty said the sprawling economic package will include funding for housing and vouchers, historic black colleges and universities, child care and an extended child tax credit and coverage for more seniors and beneficiaries. of Medicaid.

“We will save thousands of lives of black children and children. We are going to get a child tax credit. We are going to have a daycare. We’re going to put more money into HBCUs than we’ve had in the history of this Congress, ”said Beatty, who said that while she didn’t consider the next bill perfect, she said that it was progress.

“Whether it’s $ 1.7 billion or $ 2,000 billion, it’s a significant amount of investment in our community,” she said.

Representative Robin Kelly, D-Ill., Said the CBC has been working to expand coverage under Obamacare and make the improved Obamacare market permanent. Kelly said they are also trying to make sure seniors have access to dental coverage.

Congress could also use the money, said Representative Emanuel Cleaver, D-Mo., To address a three-generation backlog of updating public housing and vouchers, which he said are “desperately needed.”

“We have not substantially increased the number of vouchers since [President] Lyndon Johnson, ”he said. “So this housing issue is important – and it matters, it really matters. “

Congressional Democrats are trying to reach agreement on the legislative framework before Biden travels to Europe later this week for the G20 summit in Rome and the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Glasgow.

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