tv House Majority Whip Clyburn Discusses Legislative Priorities CSPAN April 12, 2021 2:23am-3:27am EDT
university. >> welcome to a conversation with house majority whip james clyburn. i'm david barker, president -- professor of government here a you and the director of the center for presidential studies -- we are thrilled to host a cement tonight -- event tonight. we are honored to be joined by someone who has been strengthening that square for several decades. whether you want to call him a kingmaker or a washington whisperer or something else, , congressman clyburn showed his last year that his voice might be the most influential one in the entire democratic party. when he talks, people listen.
that explains why we are all here tonight. i probably don't have to offer a more formal introduction than that, but i will do so anyway. congressman clyburn has represented south carolina's six congressional district since 1993. he has been elected chairman of the congressional black caucus and vice chairman and later chairman of the house democratic caucus. this is his second stint as majority whip. he previously served in that role from 2007-2011 and has served as assistant democratic leader from 2011-2019. congressman clyburn also serves as the chairman of the house elect subcommittee on the coronavirus crisis. he is also the chairman of the rural broadband task force and democratic face working group. -- faith working group. as a national leader, he has championed rule and economic development and many of his initiatives have become law. his efforts have restored scores of historic buildings, sites on the campuses of historically black colleges and universities
. his legislation has created a south carolina national heritage corridor and the cultural heritage corridor. it elevated the congaree national monument to a national park, and established a reconstruction national monument in south carolina's low country. congressman clyburn's humble beginnings in sumter, south carolina is the eldest son of an activist, fundamentalist minister and an independent civic minded beautician, garnered him securely family, face and public service. his memoir,"blessed experiences: genuinely southern and probably black" was published in 2015 and has been , described as a primer that should be read by every student interested in pursuing a career in public service. -- and plat -- and proudly black" was published in 2015 and has been described as a primer that should be read by every student interested in pursuing a career in public service. congressman clyburn is not the only reason we are here tonight.
we are also honored to be joined by my colleague and dare i say friend, professor valaria sinclair chapman. she has expertise in politics, -- she is a renowned scholar with expertise in politics, nor any voting rights, political representation voting rights, political participation, , coalition politics and social movements. broadly construed, or research examines the effects of racial, ethnic and gender diversity of political institutions and engagements. she is author or co-author of a long list of journal articles, book chapters and award-winning book. countervailing forces in african-american civic activism, 1973-1994, published by cambridge university press in in 1996. 1992, she spent a year working for representative maxine waters as a legislative fella for the women's research and education institute. she currently serves as a co-editor for the simple science -- for the american political science review the nation's , premier political science journal. she is a founding director of the institute for civic engaged
research hosted by tufts university. here is how things will go. dr. sinclair chapman will open with an interview for 30 minutes and at 40 minutes past the hour we will open things up to you for q&a to let you get in on the act and please post your questions at any time during a conversation using the q&a tool in zoom. not the chat tool, the q&a tool. also please keep your class -- your questions civil, avoid grandstanding and follow the alex trebek rule of asking your question in the form of the question. with that, i will go ahead and turn the virtual mic over to valaria. prof. sinclair chapman: thank you, david. congressman, it is such a pleasure to be here with you. i want to say, good evening and welcome. i would like to mention that, like you, am a child of the
south. i grew up in fayetteville, north carolina, the home of fort bragg and the 82nd airborne. my father is from lumberton, north carolina, and my mother is from greenville, south carolina. i enjoyed reading your book," blessed experiences." genuinely southern, and proudly black. at the beginning, one of the things you say is you would have named it, i, too, am a southerner. there's something special about being an african-american from the south in the times you grew up in you did. , and doing the work that you did. you have had a storied history as an activist on the street, in boardrooms, and in the national legislature. in light of the 2020 elections in the biden presidency, what would you out as the next chapter to your book? rep. clyburn: thank you very much for having me. and thanks to all who are participating this evening for allowing me the opportunity to
spend some time with you. to answer your question, if i were going to write another chapter, i would probably would entitle it, "the more things change, the more they stay the same." i would probably go back to my first meeting with john lewis. it was also the weekend i first met martin luther king jr. and that experience, that weekend october 14-15, 1960, took place on the campus of morehouse college.
it was at a time when and people do not talk about it a lot, but there was significant friction between martin luther king jr. and those of us in snic. you mentioned north carolina and earlier, in the spring, we met in raleigh, north carolina to match how university. we discovered at that time that things were too fractured and we needed to have ordination. so we decided to meet again down , in atlanta at morehouse college. that is the name, the student non-violent coordinating committee. because we wanted to have coordination with the college campuses, because after february 1, 1960, the north carolina a&t
student sitting in, things got fractured. at that meeting, a lot of people miss this. but up until that time, king had been preaching nonviolence but he had never been to jail. he was also preaching disobeying unjust laws but he had never been to jail. and that meeting was all about you have to practice what you , preach. it was right after that meeting that king went to jail for the first time. in fact the following week. ,so, when you look at that, look at where we are now, i suspect or conclude that i need to write a chapter on the more things change, the more they stay the same. the reason i say chapter and not another book, is that i am
starting a new book now. i don't know what the title is going to be. i will start out like i did my second book. the first book i did was a tabletop, on the people who started the case that became brown v. board of education. my second book was my memoirs. blessed experiences. and of course i said in the introduction to the book, that all of my experiences have not been pleasant but i consider all of them to be blessings. i do consider them to be blessings. i have already started a third book. and this one, i have not decided what the title is going to be. when i started out writing
blessed experiences i had , another title. i, too, am a southerner. i changed it because of my father's fondness for the hymn , blessed experiences. i had to go to that him to finish the book, so that's what , it would be. prof. sinclair chapman: thank you, congressman. looking for your book and hearing your description of sncc and the activism at shaw university in 1961 with ella baker, there is so much history in the blessed experiences, it was really just amazing to read. i took it to class and i am really happy to have connected with it. also, you were an historian.
so, there's so much it's so rich. , it's so rich. i think we are awaiting for this soi think we are awaiting for this next book so we are looking , forward to that. since you mentioned blessed experiences, congressman you are , a preacher's kid and i'm sure many in the audience share that upbringing. i would welcome your thoughts on the role of religion and politics. -- in politics. recent reporting suggests church membership is declining, that it's at the lowest level in decades. but americans seem to be clamoring for a connection to a story bigger than their own individual self-interest. i'm thinking here of the new poor people's campaign that's organized by reverend barber, also a north carolinian, leader of the naacp from a small town in north carolina. he has championed a nonpartisan progressive alternative to the conservative evangelical religious movement. and his approach might be a model. the question for you, sir, is what can the democratic party do
to appeal to the public interest in the face of this larger , purpose? rep. clyburn: i think what we must do, it seems to me, is combat this notion that evangelicals in the broad sense are the spokespeople for people of faith. the fact of the matter is, we have to keep in mind that the ku klux klan used, as their symbol, the cross. now, a lot of people don't focus on the fact that one of the original names, i say one because there were different factions of the ku klux klan, was the white christian knights. white christian knights.
we tend to gloss over the fact that there was a point back in the 1920's, when, an after church event took place in the town square, they went down to watch a hanging. now a lot of people gloss over , the fact that they -- that there have been speeches given from the legislatures in the south in support of slavery. now when you look at all of , that, you have to come to grips with the fact that we've got to decide whether or not we
will continue to allow biblical teachings to be used to support submissiveness. and i'm trying to stay away from it, but i have to use it, to even support slavery. people go all the way back to genesis to make the argument in support of the difference in who is blessed and who is cursed. so, what i said, you know my dad , and i used to talk all the time about my falling into the ministry. and i thought i would.
but he and i had a discussion one time, and i raised the issue of missionary work. , and i asked my dad. i was already sort of smart so i asked my dad. and my dad, i said dad, explain to me what happened to those people in africa who died before the christian missionaries got there. if their teachings were required to save their souls, what happened to the ones before they got there? i knew, the moment i asked the question, that i never should have asked that question.
i don't remember exactly how the conversation concluded, it was so unpleasant. but i knew that i would never ask that question again or nothing like it. and i also knew deep down inside that i probably would not for be going into the ministry. i would say this to all christians. one of my favorite verses in the bible, i have two favorite bible verses. the first one is old testament. michael 6:8, where he tells men, do what is required, love and mercy, that's my favorite of all. in hebrews, the first verse, faith, substance, the evidence of things unseen.
these are two scriptures i live by. i know that most democrats of faith tend to rush to matthew 25 , you know, to express their feelings about service. they rush right down to verse 45, doing for the least of these. but i remind people and talk with and that there are 44 versus in matthew 25 before you get down to that thought. all of those verses have various parables, one of which is the parable of the talents. people using their talents,
hopefully for positive, or losing them. i say to people all the time, read the other 44 versus or 45, and see what is required of you as you build up for doing for the least of these. prof. sinclair chapman: thank you, congressman. just to add onto that briefly, that parable of talents is one that has been a guiding one for me, too, because the servant says i hid them in the ground because you are a hard taskmaster. >> that was taken away from him and given to the one who has the most. prof. sinclair chapman: you have to be willing to leave it all on the field. that's the character your life is demonstrated. rep. clyburn: thank you. prof. sinclair chapman: i want to say, i mentioned you mentioned your father was a renowned pastor. your mother was an entrepreneur.
rep. clyburn: yes. prof. sinclair chapman: you're also the son of an entrepreneur. i wonder what are your thoughts , on entrepreneurship more generally, those people who are self-employed and really struggling coming out of the last year with the shutdowns and the cost of the pandemic and that these experiences have disproportionately affected black and brown communities and women, in terms of moving forward. what are your thoughts about entrepreneurship, given you grew up in a house with a highly entrepreneurial mother? and what are you thinking about how we will go forward and recover? rep. clyburn: i'm glad you mentioned my mom. when i talk to people about my book, everybody tells me that is the chapter of the book they
appreciated most. i would've thought it was my brother or something but everybody seemed to really enjoy getting to know my mom. my mother overcame some real obstacles. she grew up on a little farm. some kind of way she talked to , her dad into letting her leave the farm and go to school. none of her siblings finished high school. but she left the farm, and went to move in with the family about 20 miles away. and she kept house with them and in return, they sent her to high school. maryland's academy it was called in those days, a boarding school , which i also went to to , graduate from. but my moms, i had an experience
one time i think i told in the book. when i got to mammoth, of course i got into some trouble. ,it was not serious trouble, but it was an offense that could have got me thrown out of school. and i called her to come get me. and she came. then i had all my stuff packed to go home and she never got out of the car. and i went out to meet her. i told her what had happened and then she cranked the car up and started rolling up the window. i said, i have to get my stuff. she rolled the window down and looked at me and said i believe , i could live in hell for three months if i knew i was going to get out. you've got three months left in school. i think you can live in hell for three months.
and she drove off. [laughter] it wasn't quite hell for the next three months, but i did get out. our house got burned down. my mom had a beauty shop. the whole beauty shop got burnt down and the house. it was 1953 i think the year was. she overcame all of that. and when she passed, she had two beauty shops, 16 operators, but she always operated, that one could live in hell for three months, if they knew they were going to get out. and i learned a lot from my dad.
but i think my moms live in me, more than anything else. i tend to be more like her than i am like my dad. i looked more like him and i've taken on a lot of his teachings. my personality and who and what i am, i think i am my mother. prof. sinclair chapman: i don't think that's so unusual. so, absolutely, absolutely. i wonder, given what you said about how your mother suggested that you can survive for a short while in a hard place. i wonder your thoughts about the protests of last summer, the organized protests against police brutality. now we are in the midst of the
trial against derek chauvin. are these types of protest able to influence public policy at the national level? rep. clyburn: i think so. i also think that what you have to do is be careful not to allow the protests and your methods, even your language, to undercut the cause. when john lewis and i were in sncc, john lewis was lionized by the time he died. and there is going to be, the state of georgia with all this other foolishness, they have already decided they're going to replace one of their statues in statuary hall with a likeness of john lewis. he deserves all of that. and i must add, that the state of florida is going to replace
their confederate general. i never could understand why florida had him out there is one of their statues. they are going to take that out and replace it. so these are historic things. , there are other statues up there as you know, frederick douglass is in the capital. harriet tubman and rosa parks. but all of them were put there by congress. each state gets two statues. they have the right to put two statues in the capitol building. john lewis will be the second person of color honored with the statute, by a state. i think it's important for us to
know. but you have to understand that what has happened last summer with black lives matter. john and i talked about on the floor. we were talking one day at the back of the chamber after he told me that things with him were coming to an and, that his illness was terminal. and we talked about black lives matter and talked about what was going on in ferguson, that led to black lives matter. then he also said, that we were hopeful. that things would not happen to them, to that movement, the way it happened two hours. -- the way it happened to ours. now, we were doing fine with sncc. we woke up one day, and there
was a new slogan on the street, burn, baby, burn. and we had the same fear we would wake up one day with that and they were yelling defund the , police. we saw that as a wedge to undermine the movement. burned, baby vern, to the contrary, there's something to be said about getting beyond. i call it the way i see it. burn, baby, burn destroyed our movement. john lewis refused to accept it and refused to say it and they got together and kicked him out of sncc. a lot of people don't know that john lewis was kicked out of it , sncc, and left georgia and stay for a year up in new york,
before coming back and taking over the voter education project from vernon jordan. when vernon jordan went to the urban league. that's why the two of us spoke out against that slogan, defund the police. and people still argue about it. but i can tell you that those kinds of slogans can kill a movement. you know, we, hopefully we'll get beyond that. and i think we are. i think enough people stood up to that. and what we are seeing now is kind of interesting. i was on some program the other day and i was asked about that. and i said, it is kind of
interesting to me that two people standing in that street filming, or video or whatever you do, recording that event, two people called the police. so if they were anti-police, why , did they call the police on the police? they dialed 911, and said there is a bad cop out here. if you want a good cop to come out here and do something about , it. so black people are not against , the police. we are against add policeman. and there are some. i mean there is a trail going on , right now highlighting the fact that there are bad policemen. i often tell the story of --
my dad was president of his presbyterian group in the first conversation i eavesdropped on was with my dad and several of his cabinet were discussing the defrocking of a minister. they got rid of the minister. they didn't get rid of the church. they did not burn the church they got rid of the minister. they got rid of the minister. , i try to say that to my friends and i have relatives who are police officers. you know we aren't against , police. we are against bad police. there can be bad ministers, bed baptists, bad lawyers. i saw a headline last week, to lawyers in clammy a, south carolina disbarred because they , are bad lawyers. the same thing happened with sothe same thing happened with doctors, they lose their , licenses. so why is it that all of a , sudden, we cannot see that there are some policeman who ought not to be policeman. -- that there are some
policemen, who ought not be policemen? it is that simple. prof. sinclair chapman: congressman, i think your point is interesting. i see echoes from your own history. there is an impatience we see in the street but what you are pointing to is there often has to be some strategy that if you want to actually create the change, together you have to , play a long game. rep. clyburn: absolutely. prof. sinclair chapman: some strategy in working with policymakers. i think certainly there is a lot of merit to what you are saying. the critique seems to be about, we want police to protect and serve. rep. clyburn: absolutely. prof. sinclair chapman: we certainly do not want to be brutalized. and i don't think that's the question. it's interesting to me because i think the congressional black caucus has for a long time played a role in critiquing violence and police brutality.
so you are certainly not a , stranger to that. rep. clyburn: no. prof. sinclair chapman: but there has to be a strategy to move forward that makes policymaking possible. agree with that. i doagree with that. i wonder if i can segue. you actually made me think about the way that you do take some hard stance. auto want to wander off into the confederate flag, but if i had to choose a favorite chapter from your book, it was about the that chapter. because there were so many ups and downs and twists and turns. it could be a lifetime movie. you can get caught up in it. i don't want to go down that route unless you want to. i want to ask you a question about working across the aisle. right? you work, have opposition often, with the senator from your state, senator strom thurmond?
but you also report, that there were some times and you were able to work with him to solve problems. and i do you think that would be wondered do you think that would be, do you think that would be possible to do now? or has the nation become so intolerant to that kind of compromise and working across the aisle but also with people who are diametrically opposed your own view? rep. clyburn: you know i did , work with strom thurmond. was kind of interesting. a lot of times, you have to establish some kind of the foundation upon which to build a relationship. fortunately for me, i went to work in the employment security commission. i left teaching history in the charleston county public schools, and went to work. because back then teachers were , not allowed to be too political and i've always been very political. and so i left the classroom and
, went to the commission. so, when i went to work there, i really got involved politically . but one of the people that i met, in fact we work in the same -- we worked in the same office, our desks, we are one desk apart, was gertrude thurmond. she was strom thurmond's sister and we struck up a friendship. strom got elected to congress and was telling me how much his sister gertrude thought of me. so, i catalogue his comments to use when i would need it in conversation. we did work together on various things. but that did not keep me from naming at the courthouse in colombia for matthew perry who was an african-american jurist
-- judge who had been a civil rights lawyer and had been my lawyer both times that i went to jail and both times i was tried. a lot of times nobody went to jail, nothing happened. but there were two big trials. matthew perry was my lawyer and we got to be very good friends. and i wanted that new courthouse and club it to be named for matthew perry. and strom thurmond wanted his name on it. and we had a public disagreement on it. i will never forget there was a reporter in columbia who wrote this op-ed piece about my differences with strom thurmond. and he wrote, who was going to win that? i had differences with jesse
helms. jesse holmes and i differed with judgeships. jesse helms never approved a black judge. that is why tell people about the filibuster now. jesse helms would never return the blue slip on the black judge. -- on a black judge. he wouldn't do it. i asked you about ron johnson up there in wisconsin? paul what's his name down in , kentucky. these guys are letting you know up how they feel. so you cannot let them carry the day. we had a public disagreement. i won that battle. it's a long story as to how i won it. so i will not waste your time today.
but i won that argument with jesse helms. the senior judge in the fourth circuit court of appeals to this day is ron gregory, an african-american judge from virginia, who never got the blue slip returned from jesse helms. because jesse helms would not approve a black judge. but i got to bill clinton. and he wanted something from me and i told him i would be inclined to do it if he would appoint roger gregory to the fourth circuit court of appeals and it was a recess employment. he cannot do it and the regular time. so when congress was out, bill clinton appointed roger gregory. and then you talk about strategy and not only did he get the job but he is still there today and he has now a senior judge in the fourth circuit court of appeals in the circuit that used to be the most segregated.
it is now one of the most integrated ones. prof. sinclair chapman: that is amazing, it is amazing. congressman i have one last , question and then we will open up the floor for questions from the audience and david will be the moderator. so, i could talk to you all day. i must say, i am already ready to talk about the people who rescued you from the icy road but we are not going there. not right now. rep. clyburn: we can. we can. prof. sinclair chapman: no, i have a question. another time, congressman i but hope. , let me ask you this question. after the 2012 election, i was struck by mitt romney's answer to a reporter's question. the reporter asked, what will you do next? here this man was, on the most
public stage, having just failed in his biggest gambit to run for president. but mr. romney did not miss a beat, he merely answered that he was not sure. now he hope a senate seat from the great state of utah. you, on the other hand, are riding a winning streak right now. your endorsements have made and revised careers of president obama in 2008 and president biden and 2020. you also have known the sting of defeat. if this is not too forward to ask, sir do you see yourself as , the successor to nancy pelosi, the nation's first black speaker of the house? is that a possibility? rep. clyburn: no. i won't miss a beat. you have to be real about that. the fact of the matter is, i think there will be an african-american speaker of the house.
you know, there are several people who i thought fit into that category, people like cedric richmond who is going off to the white house. marcia foote who is now going to be a secretary and hakeem , jeffries who is still there. and i suspect that his name will come up in any conversation, as to who as an african-american would have the possibility of being speaker of the house. i think he has that he is , building a kind of resume that could be successful. and there are others. but i think that he is poised to be in the running. you have ms. underwood from illinois, who i think a lot of
and she is just in her second term. i don't know how long that would be. but as for jim clyburn? no, i've had too many birthdays for that. so my next job after i quit would probably be [indiscernible] [laughter] prof. sinclair chapman: [laughter] hopefully we will still be able to hear your stories and benefit from all of the history and knowledge and experience that you so graciously shared with us tonight. thank you, congressman, it has been a pleasure, an absolute pleasure to have this discussion with you and i will turn it over to david now to continue. david: thank you so much, professor sinclair-chapman, and
congressman. thank you congressman. , i could listen to you to talk -- you two talk for the next four hours. we did promise our audience we would open it up to them. i'm just going to pick a few of these questions for you. i will let you answer them as you wish. the first one is from wendy . representative clyburn, thank you for your amazing career and service. as fellow georgia has given me southerner georgia has given me new hope that speaks to a , progressive politics. what kind of infrastructure investment is the democratic party prepared to invest in other deep southern states? we might see the emergence of a new southern strategy. rep. clyburn: thank you very much for that question. i think it is a critical question. it's something we have to think hard about. you know, the stars aligned and
the stars were aligned this time for the kind of result we got out of georgia. now, what we have to keep in mind is, that politics in this country run like the pendulum on the clock. it goes right for a while, and then it goes back to left, and then it goes back right. but i tell people all the time when it goes from left to right , it passes through the center. and what a ghost right to left it passes through the center. we have to remember our politics as a nature -- as a nation is , not right or left. we went left to elect obama, we went right to elect from. we went immediately back to left with warnock and also-- ossoff. immediately, the legislature in
georgia started doing things moving back to the right. that's what we have to always keep in mind. and you asked about the infrastructure. what we are going to have to do is stay engaged, stay focused, and keep in mind that there is no linear movement in politics in this country. it is always a pendulum. left to right, right to left, and it is the intervention of the voter that determines how long it camps out in one area or the other. david: that is a really great insight i really appreciate and that. our next question is harkening back to the question you answered earlier about black lives matter. she says beyond policing, would , you characterize the criminal justice system overall, as having more of a few bad apples
or as a systematically flawed system? rep. clyburn: i do not think the system is systematically flawed. i think there are more than a few bad apples, no question about that. i think what we have done to the police is what we've done to gun ownership. we have treated these things with absolutes. you hear us talk about qualified immunity. it is one thing to have qualified immunity. i am not against qualified immunity, but it does not mean absolute. and that is what we have done given police officers absolute , immunity. we don't give that to any other profession in this country. so, why do we do it to police officers? so no, i don't think the system , itself is flawed. i just think we have been flawed in our oversight of the system. we are allowed in most spaces,
we have not allowed community committees or commissions to have any say so about policing. come on why not? , why not? so i just think it is like we have done with gun ownership. the first amendment is a great amendment to the constitution . but as people often say, you do not have absolute immunity when you put the to work. first amendment the same thing should be true for the second amendment. why is it, that in the first amendment would not allow one to yell fire in a crowded theater but the second amendment is , absolute? it's crazy.
good point. our third question is from michael. he says that we hear a lot of negative things in congress such as party polarization, how the parties cannot get things done. we don't hear enough about the positive changes that have occurred in the institution over time. in light of your tenure in congress, can you please share some of the positive changes from your point of view that have occurred since you been there? rep. clyburn: once again, you go right to left, left to right. i've seen many changes since i've been there. i have been able to get legislation passed. there were some pretty progressive issues.
for some strange reason, we have decided or too many people in congress have decided that it is more important to win an argument then to really move the agenda forward. we are supposed to be in pursuit of a more perfect union. you don't do that by turning the clock back on voting. you don't do that by turning the clock back on anything. you do that by continuing this pursuit. it stands to reason that we have fits and starts. what we've got now is the notion that the most important thing going is to win the argument. if you call timeout to get together.
play football, you go into the huddle. sometimes, you kick the ball away and give the other team the ball to get in a better position to improve your position on the field. we don't do that in politics. we have to win every argument. it's one of the things i tried to teach young people. have a group called the clyburn fellows. i meet with them periodically. i'm not the only person that meets with them. i try to tell them that we have to keep in mind that all of us have a reserve exit experiences and we will see the world different. you should never consider one to be right or wrong. when i first got into politics, someone said to me, don't ever call a man a liar.
thank you for coming to speak to us. i'm a member from claremont graduate university in claremont, california and i want to hear thoughts on those who suggest that no deliberation occurs in the u.s. house. we see this argument from defenders of the filibuster. this would simply become the house. we were hoping to hear your thoughts on that. >> i'm assuming you are saying the senate is becoming the house. >> just majoritarian. >> look, we have allowed for something we call reconciliation that gets around the filibuster. you have to run the country. you can't let the country collapse on the altar of a
filibuster. the constitution, i don't think the constitution should be allowed to be jeopardized by filibusters. the filibuster is supposed to be there to allow for an extension of debate. i see a thing one way, you see it another way, maybe i can convince more of these people to see it my way if i had more time to talk. that is what the filibuster is all about, extending the debate, but that is not what the filibuster has become. it is being used to deny constitutional rights, and that is why i said the filibuster needs to have a point of reconciliation, as we do with the budget. you should not be able to filibuster my constitutional rights, my voting rights, and so i think that is where we have to draw the line. if i have a legislative issue
and want to pass a law, one program took me six years to get passed, but that is an issue that did not involve anybody's constitutional rights, anybody's voting rights, it is just whether or not we have this program to deal with rural energy policy. all these bills i have passed took me more than one term of congress to get passed, but it was not denying anybody the right to vote or constitutional rights, so i don't think it should be subjected to the
filibuster. i think people are wrong when they say they should have the filibuster with these constitutional issues that will turn the senate into a house, i don't think so. >> thanks. i have another one here for you. we have lost a number of key members and the black caucus in recent years, with the most recent passing of representative hastings. there has been the emergence of an influential generation of junior members. are you optimistic about the
trajectory of the caucus moving forward? >> yes, i am, very much so. i didn't event yesterday, i mentioned laura underwood, other people. these are all people, younger members with tremendous -- i just mentioned someone else, yeah, absolutely. when i got to congress, my class came in in january 1993, we pretty much almost doubled the size of the congressional black caucus. when it was formed, there were eight african-american members of congress. today, 59? so, yeah. we knew each other when we were college students. we talk about that a lot, but i always remind him that i was an undergraduate law student, but we knew each other. we saw this 20-year-old college student, sure, there are a lot of young people coming along. i feel great hope for the future.
i don't have any doubt that the talent will be there. the talent is there, but there is a big difference in having the talent and having the opportunity, so i don't want anybody to get this messed up, there are a lot of talented people. i often tell the story of thomas edison, one of the great inventors of all time, but someone else invented the filament. most people don't know that. he was a smart guy, the son of slaves.
he escaped to massachusetts, but he came up with a carbon filament that made thomas edison's lightbulb work, so he never got credit for it, but that did not mean he did not do it, so just because you don't have the opportunity doesn't mean you don't have the wherewithal. there are a lot of young black people that have what it takes to be outstanding legislators, president, vice president. the question is, will they have the opportunity? >> excellent point. do you have time for one more? this is from tyson king meadows. he says, the supreme court has steadily whittled away at congressional prerogatives over the years. the most egregious perhaps in
recent memory was the shelby decision. given the enormous power congress holds in article one, might we see the court again reject national standards, if the john lewis voting rights advancement act becomes law? >> yes, you could very well see that, but they will have to find another way. i have proposed something and i am having negotiations, discussions, not negotiations, but discussions with senators. remember, the john lewis voting rights act is to restore section four of the voting rights act of 1965. section five allows for or cannot operate without section four. section four is where the formula is, and that is what they got rid of, pre-clarence,
the formula. the reason we have the formula is it did not apply to every state, it only applied to six states, a few other states, including new york and arizona. they are covered by the civil rights act of 1965. now, suppose we did a john lewis voting rights act with pre-clarence applied to all 50 states, we would need a formula that would apply to all 50 states. i have read that there are 47 states that have proposed various voting limitations they did not have before the last election.
now, if that is true, that means that only three states you could apply to -- if you apply to all 50 states, which is what i'm advocating, and i have talked to several senators who say, why are we waiting around for a formula to come up? let's just pass the john lewis voting rights act, saying you cannot pass any kind of constraint on voting in elections, unless it is precleared by the justice department. that is what i think we ought to do. >> ok. thank you so much. we will let you enjoy a little bit of your evening now. this has been terrific, and we are so grateful, there you are. thank you so much for posting this for us, and for serving in your role, i just think this
whole thing was terrific and i recommend everybody give another virtual round of applause. with that, unless you have any final words? >> no, just thank you so much, congressman for sharing your time with us and stories in history and experience. we are all waiting for this next book, so get to it. >> thank you very much. >> yeah, get on that. >> i am on that. >> you have work to do, too. thanks a bunch. good night everybody. by the imf
managing director. >> it is great to be bringing some good news. we have upgraded the growth projections for the world to 6%, and it is on the basis of three things. one, vaccinations advancing, two, major economies putting in more stimulus, and the united states recently did that, and three, lockdowns do not cause the same decrease in economic activity, but there are two things to watch.