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Cummings Says Jobs Bill Won’t Benefit Black Community

Updated: 3:40 p.m.

The black community won’t be reaping many benefits from the $17 billion Senate jobs bill on its way to the president’s desk, Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) said Wednesday.

“The problem [is that] the African-American community, I don’t think, will be helped a lot by that bill,” Cummings said on MSNBC.

Senate Democrats spent the morning hailing the passage of the jobs measure put forward by Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), saying the victory underscored the majority’s focus on job creation. The bill passed on a 68-29 vote, with 11 Republicans voting with Democrats.

But Cummings and other Members of the Congressional Black Caucus have criticized the package for focusing on tax breaks instead of providing funds for things like job training in communities with high poverty rates.

The Maryland Democrat praised separate legislation by Rep. George Miller (D-Calif.) that specifically provides assistance to communities with double-digit unemployment.

“We’re going to be pushing hard for that. He just filed it within the last day or so. … We’ve just got to put the pressure on to get it passed,” Cummings said.

President Barack Obama met with CBC members last week and has signaled that he supports passing more jobs-related bills that would address their concerns.

During a Wednesday luncheon at the Capitol, Obama praised lawmakers for sending him the jobs package and, perhaps in a nod to the CBC, said the bill is “the first of what I hope will be a series of jobs packages that help to continue to put people back to work all across America.”

Cummings’ comments came the same day that the CBC hosted a public hearing on chronic unemployment. Among things discussed in the hearing were data showing that African-Americans and other minority communities face higher rates of chronic unemployment than the national average.

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