Economic Development and Wealth Creation

Co-Chairs: Maxine Waters, Yvette Clarke
Members: John Conyers, Bobby Rush, Melvin Watt, Bennie G. Thompson, Shelia Jackson-Lee, Gregory Meeks, Lacy Clay, Al Green, Gwen Moore, Keith Ellison, Hank Johnson, Andre Carson, Marcia Fudge, Hansen Clarke, Terri Sewell, Allen West

The Economic Development and Wealth Creation Taskforce is co-chaired by Maxine Waters and Yvette Clarke. The House Committees of jurisdiction for the Taskforce are the Committees on Agriculture, Financial Services, Small Business, and Ways and Means.

Americans confront a tenuous economic recovery, enduring weakness in the housing market and persistently high, chronic under and unemployment. The recovery is more depressing in African American communities than in any other. The overall unemployment rate has hovered between 9 – 10% since the onset of the recession, but for African Americans it hovers between 15-16%. This context alone demands that lawmakers sharpen their focus on strong economic growth, enhanced competiveness, and increased job creation. Moreover, minority businesses are under attack—legally and economically. The attacks remain despite the fact that minority-owned firms employ 4.7 million people with annual payroll totaling $115 billion. Legally, challenges continue to mount against many of our businesses with protected status under SBA rules. Economically, despite having “protected status” many businesses cannot survive because they cannot receive loans or even worse, they are informed that they do not have the capacity to do business for or with a particular entity.

In the 1970s, the CBC fought for the Community Reinvestment Act. This law helped reduce redlining, ensured financial institutions were located in communities of color, and provided access to capital. The Congressional Black Caucus remains committed to working hard to ensure better economic opportunities for all. As a part of the Dodd- Frank bill the CBC, led by this taskforce established Offices of Minority and Women Inclusion in the financial services entities within the Executive Branch. The taskforce also assisted in drafting the Workforce Investment Act to address job training and development needs, especially the chronically unemployed.

The Economic Development and Wealth Creation Taskforce works to develop initiatives that accelerate economic recovery and ensure underserved communities get on a path towards economic growth. The taskforce directly analyzes programs that have been beneficial including neighborhood stabilization funds, community development block grants, and empowerment zones. Additionally, it specifically addresses topics related to the Agriculture, Financial Services, Small Business, and Ways and Means Committees, overseeing issues related to: economy; banking system; housing and insurance focusing on job creation and economic development; protection of small and minority businesses; and stabilization of distressed communities. The applicable portions of the House of Representatives Rule X for this taskforce’s jurisdiction are as follows:

Committee on Agriculture.

(2) Agriculture generally.

(5) Agricultural economics and research.

(6) Agricultural education extension services.

(9) Commodity exchanges.

(13) Extension of farm credit and farm security.

(16) Human nutrition and home economics.

(17) Plant industry, soils, and agricultural engineering.

(19) Rural development.

Committee on Financial Services.

(1) Banks and banking, including deposit insurance and Federal monetary policy. (2) Economic stabilization, defense production, renegotiation, and control of the price of commodities, rents, and services.

(3) Financial aid to commerce and industry (other than transportation).

(4) Insurance generally.

(5) International finance.

(8) Public and private housing.

(9) Securities and exchanges.

(10) Urban development.

Committee on Small Business.

(1) Assistance to and protection of small business, including financial aid, regulatory flexibility, and paperwork reduction.

(2) Participation of small business enterprises in Federal procurement and Government contracts.

Committee on Ways and Means.

(2) Reciprocal trade agreements.

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