Congressional Black Caucus members met with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) Tuesday night to talk about the assistant leader position. Rep. James Clyburn (D-S.C.) and Pelosi worked out a compromise last week that he would be nominated for the post - which is the new no. 3 leadership position - if he backed down from challenging Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) for the no. 2 position of whip in minority leadership.
Congressional Black Caucus members have had concerns that the job would be ceremonial or not substantial and that the position would not have enough power. Members left their meeting Tuesday pleased with the outcome.
The person in that no. 3 position - as Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-Mo.) described it - would be responsible for coordinating activities with the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. It would also serve as a liaison to the speaker for appropriations-related issues since this committee is vital to Democrat's efforts to prevent a repeal of health care.
"The bottom line, Jim Clyburn is being given the latitude to make this into what he wants it to be," said Cleaver. "His portfolio can expand."
Chair of the Congressional Black Caucus Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) said they spoke with Pelosi "in terms of the commitment in terms of ensuring that the resources and everything that goes with assistant leader is there." Lee said she is satisfied with Pelosi's commitment.
Cleaver was clear, however, that the leadership position is not just as a representative of the Congressional Black Caucus, but for all members of the Caucus. "This is not, like, the director of black people," he said.
Both Democrats and Republicans hold their leadership elections Wednesday.