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Congressional Black Caucus ‘disappointed’ in Obama’s Cabinet picks

Congressional Black Caucus ‘disappointed’ in  Obama’s Cabinet picks

     (CNN) - Rep. Marcia Fudge, chairwoman of the Congressional Black Caucus, expressed
concern in a letter to President Barack Obama over the lack of African Americans among his
new Cabinet picks.

     “Congressional Black Caucus offices have had numerous phone calls from constituents
questioning why none of the new appointees will be able to speak to the unique needs of African
Americans,” Fudge, D-Ohio, wrote. “Their ire is compounded by the overwhelming support
you’ve received from the African American community.”

     The president faced criticism at the beginning of the year when he picked white males for
some of the highest spots in the administration, including secretary of state, treasury secretary,
defense secretary and chief of staff (the latter of which has the status of Cabinet-rank).  

     White House staff, however, said Obama was not finished with his cabinet picks.

     “His Cabinet when he’s finished – and he’s far from finished – will have diversity including
women, including people of color,” Obama senior adviser Valerie Jarrett told CNN’s chief
national correspondent John King and chief political analyst Gloria Borger from the White
House on Inauguration Day.

     None of his appointees since then, however, have been African American, Fudge notes.

Obama has chosen contenders for secretary of energy and secretary of the interior. And CNN
reported Saturday that Thomas E. Perez, the U.S. assistant attorney general heading the
Justice Department’s civil rights division, will be nominated to be the next secretary labor
secretary.

     His choices for other administration posts that have Cabinet rank are also not African
American. Those include his picks for the Environmental Protection Agency and the Office of
Management and Budget.

     “You have publicly expressed your commitment to retaining diversity within your cabinet,”
Fudge wrote in the letter. “However, the people you have chosen to appoint in this new term
have hardly been reflective of this country’s diversity.”

     Attorney General Eric Holder and U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk are the two African
Americans who now sit on the Cabinet. Both were nominated during the president’s first term.
Fudge argued the lack of “diverse voices leads to policies and programs that adversely impact
African Americans,” adding that she was disappointed that none of the CBC’s recommendations
for Cabinet picks have “received the consideration they deserve.”

-        CNN’s Deirdre Walsh and Ashley Killough contributed to this report.

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