A Response to President Trump’s Inaugural Address & New Deal for African-Americans

January 24, 2017
Press Release

Tonight, I join my colleagues this evening to speak to the plan our new President has penned as the “New Deal for African-Americans.”  This plan, unfortunately, does not meet the needs of our communities and focuses on the same assumptions that have not worked for our communities over the years. 

In his Inaugural Address, President Trump stated: “The establishment protected itself, but not the citizens of our country. Their victories have not been your victories; their triumphs have not been your triumphs; and while they celebrated in our nation's capital, there was little to celebrate for struggling families all across our land.”

Well, while individuals were celebrating last week, actions were taken for people all over our nation to lose their health care coverage, and the Federal Housing Administration mortgage insurance rate was cut an hour after President Trump took office, which would have reduced insurance premiums for borrowers each year.  This does not help the men, women and children of our great nation. 

Jobs and Targeted Investment

In the “New Deal for Black America” President Trump assert there will be “tax reforms to create jobs and lift up people and communities.”  Just in my community alone at Temple University Hospital, there are jobs that will be lost due to the repeal of the Affordable Care Act, which President Trump signed an Executive Order to dismantle the day he was sworn in as our President.  This is counter to any notion of job creation.  And as our Chairman so eloquently stated in the letter expressing the views of the Caucus on January 19th, the new Administration should target investment to those communities that need it most and support programs that support small and medium-sized businesses and address the access to capital crisis in the African-American entrepreneur community.

In President Trump’s Inaugural Address he called for a “new national pride will stir our souls, lift our sights, and heal our divisions.”  I assert that we already have a national pride.  It is the pride that those in our communities feel when there is unity…when they understand that there are individuals here in Congress that are fighting for them.  It is the pride that communities feel when they understand that groups such as the CBC zealously represented and advocated to improve their lives over the course of the existence of the Caucus, those in rural and urban communities.


Financial Reforms to Expand Credit to Support New Job Creation

An additional point in the “New Deal for Black America” asserts financial reforms to expand credit to support new job creation and specifically calls out the Dodd-Frank reforms set forth and protected through the leadership of Ranking Member Waters.  These financial reforms and protections are absolutely essential to protect our communities. 

With the racial wealth gap reaching an unfortunate and historic level, with white households maintaining 13 times the wealth of African American households, we must work to ensure the protections of Dodd-Frank remain in place.  Additionally, as Representative Richmond shared, programs such as the Small Business Administration’s Microloan Program, which provides capital and assistance to minority-owned business, must be bolstered.

I have spoken directly with my constituents about the need for access to capital.  Thus, my statement is not hypothetical or speculative in nature.  There is an actual need in our communities so that our small businesses can grow and flourish. 

Our new President asserts “We are transferring power from Washington, D.C. and giving it back to you, the American People.”  I assert that the American People have always had the power.  I see this power as I walk through my district as through my community…as I walk through Ogontz Avenue in West Oak Lane part of my district, down Girard Avenue in North Philadelphia, Lancaster Avenue on the Main Line, and Baltimore Avenue in West Philadelphia the faces in my community let me know that the power has always belonged to the People.  It is now up to all of us to do what is in the best interest of our communities, to work collectively and address and the issues that plague our communities. 

I yield back the balance of my time.