February 16, 2003
COLUMBIA, S.C. -- President Bush's economic plan and his stance against affirmative action hurt efforts to eliminate the effects of past discrimination, a black member of the House Democratic leadership says.
Bush's proposed 10-year, $1.3-trillion tax-cut package would do little to close the gap between "whites and blacks in income, education attainment and health care," Rep. James Clyburn of South Carolina said Saturday in the Democrats' weekly radio address.
"African-Americans and Latinos stand to suffer disproportionately from this administration's economic policies that, by all accounts, favor the wealthy," said Clyburn, vice chairman of the House Democratic Caucus.
Unemployment among blacks is 10.3 percent, nearly double the national rate of 5.7 percent, and 7.8 percent for Hispanics, he said.
House Democrats have an economic agenda that would create 1-million new jobs, give an immediate tax rebate and help states strengthen homeland security, Clyburn said.
He also criticized the president for opposing affirmative action.
Last month, the administration said the University of Michigan's admissions policies, which are being contested in a case before the U.S. Supreme Court, are unconstitutional because of what the White House said were racial quotas. The administration filed a legal brief urging the court to strike down Michigan's policies.
"I can assure you that positive gains are made only when we take proactive and affirmative measures," said Clyburn, who served as South Carolina's top administrator of affirmative action for 18 years. "We must continue our efforts to make this nation a more perfect Union. We are not there yet."