By Justin Sink
Fudge said members of the caucus had fielded phone calls “questioning why none of the new appointees will be able to speak to the unique needs of African Americans.”
Since then, the president nominated to African Americans to prominent positions within the administration: former Charlotte Mayor Anthony FoxxAnthony FoxxGreat Lakes senators seek boost for maritime system Feds create advisory panel for self-driving cars Safety agency falls behind in rulemaking for hazardous materials MORE as transportation secretary, and former CBC chair Rep. Mel Watt (D-N.C.)as the director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency.
Fudge applauded the Watt nomination as "an outstanding choice" in a statement.
In August 2011, Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) made headlines when she she said that while the CBC was "supportive of the president," the lawmakers were "getting tired" fighting for economic opportunities.
"We're getting tired. So, what we want to do is, we want to give the president every opportunity to show — to show what he can do and what he's prepared to lead on," Waters said.
"Our people are hurting," she added.
But in a meeting with black journalists earlier this year, senior adviser Valerie Jarrett defended the White House from charges that the president hasn't focused enough on African American issues.
“If you look at the president’s record in the first four years, if you look at his major domestic policy accomplishments, they disproportionately do benefit the African-American community,” Jarrett said, according to the Florida Courier.
“If you look at the Affordable Care Act, roughly 9 million African-Americans uninsured will have health insurance today. If you look at the president’s Recovery Act and subsequent budgets…If you went through the menu of tax incentives and unemployment that disproportionately benefit the African-American community, time and time again – I think unemployment insurance has been extended like nine times – every single time we had to fight the Republicans to get that done.”
This post was updated at 7:15 p.m.