The Congressional Black Caucus will allow two black Republicans, Allen West of Florida and Tim Scott of South Carolina, to join, according to a statement made by the CBC’s chair, Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Calif.
“Should either of the two African-American Republicans recently elected to the House of Representatives request membership in the Congressional Black Caucus they will be welcomed,” Lee said in a statement. “Membership in the Congressional Black Caucus has never been restricted to Democrats.”
When asked about joining the CBC by WOR radio, West said, “I plan on joining, I’m not going to ask for permission or whatever, I’m going to find out when they meet and I will be a member of the Congressional Black Caucus and I think I meet all of the criteria and it’s so important that we break down this ‘monolithic voice’ that continues to talk about victimization and dependency in the black community.”
Rep.-elect Tim Scott, R-S.C., has not said whether or not he intends to join the CBC. Former Rep. J.C. Watts, R-Okla., famously declined to join the CBC after he was elected to Congress in 1994. Two black Republicans have joined the CBC since it was founded in 1969. The group currently consists of 41 Representatives — all Democrats — and outgoing Sen. Roland Burris.
The Congressional Black Caucus campaigned against West this fall. Rep. Alcee Hastings, D-Fort Lauderdale, raised money and campaigned for West’s opponent, Rep. Ron Klein, as did Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga.
Luke Johnson reports on Florida for The American Independent.