*A day after the so-called “Gang of Six” released its deficit reduction plan, the Congressional Black Caucus sprang into action with a press conference to voice their opposition.
“We are an anti-gang group,” quipped CBC Chairman Emanuel Cleaver, D-Missouri. “We are trying to suppress the growth of gangs. We think that it is not healthy for Washington.”
Members of the Congressional Black Caucus, Congressional Hispanic Caucus and Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus held a joint news conference to discuss the impact of the debt talks on minority groups, particularly when it comes to possible cuts to Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.
Cleaver said he was concerned the plan could hurt Social Security recipients.
“Social Security is personal to me,” Cleaver said, talking about his 89-year-old father’s reliance on Social Security income.
Cleaver wasn’t the only one to express his displeasure with the “Gang of Six.”
“I think it’s an insult to the caucus that we have to go back to a ‘Gang of Six,’ much less go to the Senate for a solution to this problem,” said Rep. Charlie Rangel, D-New York. “The way it has been set up in this Congress, the question of taxes, Medicare and Social Security belong, constitutionally, to the Ways and Means committee and the Finance committee.” Rangel is a member of the Ways and Means committee.
The Constitution requires legislation that raises revenue to originate in the House of Representatives.
“I, for one, can’t see how we can possibly go back home and tell our constituents that we have no clue what six people have come up with and the president apparently to some extent has embraced it,” Rangel said. “So, it’s really something that is embarrassing to me.”
Asked if he could support the plan, Cleaver wouldn’t give a direct answer.
“I think it would be difficult for us to get into an in-depth answer on something that we only have some news reports on and we have not had anything presented to us on paper,” he said.