Top 3 Things You Need to Know - December 23, 2016

Friday, December 23, 2016
Staff Diversity in the Senate Matters 
Capitol Hill is buzzing after several recent articles highlighting the startling lack of diversity among top staff in the U.S. Senate. The Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies released a report last year which found that out of 336 Top Senate Staffers, only 24 are people of color. Even more troubling is that there are no Black Democratic Chiefs of Staff, Legislative Directors, or Communications Directors. 
The effect that a lack of diversity among senior staffers can have on the legislative process and our laws is significant.  This is not a partisan issue, nor is it simply a moral issue. It is an issue of creating good public policy on behalf of minority communities.  Our government must be representative of the people it serves by ensuring that all have a seat at the table. 
The National Urban League Washington Bureau will continue to call for all current and newly-elected senators to consider qualified African-American candidates from the vast talent pool that exists. On January 5, 2017 at 12:30 PM the National Urban League Washington Bureau will host a panel to elevate the importance of this discussion on Capitol Hill, and to offer solutions to address full minority representation in the U.S. Senate and elsewhere. We invite you to join us in the Hart Senate Office Building room 902 for this important discussion. 
To learn more on this issue, be sure to follow us on Twitter at @NULPolicy or follow the hashtag #SenateStaffDiversity.  You may also view this clip from News One Now with Roland Martin and the Joint Center’s report entitled, “Racial Diversity Among Top Senate Staff”. 
Congress Passes Continuing Resolution 
The United States Congress has passed a Continuing Resolution to fund the Government until April 28. After contentious negotiations, with some Senate Democrats threatening to block the continuing resolution over demands for increased retired miners’ health insurance coverage, the Senate came together on the brink of a government shutdown to pass the measure 63-36. 
While avoiding a government shutdown is in the best interest of the country, Congress’ insistence on operating from CR to CR and its unwillingness to negotiate when it matters to pass an omnibus spending bill is setting a dangerous precedent for our budget process. Rest assured that the National Urban League will continue to advocate for budget priorities that support the programs we deliver and the communities we serve. 
We Need Your Help This Holiday Season
As 2016 draws to a close and we are left with much uncertainty over what the coming year will bring, one thing you can count on is that the National Urban League will continue the fight for affordable housing, access to jobs with a living wage and good benefits, combatting the health disparities that plague our communities, and promoting policies that empower our communities and change lives.
The National Urban League served more than 2.8 million people last year through afterschool programs, college-bound initiatives, early childhood literacy, job training and placement, housing counseling and health care programs. But we did not and can not do it alone. We have you and your support to thank for partnering with us. In the spirit of the holiday season, we ask that you help us to protect the progress we’ve made. We know that with your help, we can face 2017 head on and continue to create opportunities for our communities. Click here to donate.  On behalf of all of us here at the National Urban League’s Washington Bureau, thank you and have a happy and safe holiday season.