Latino, African American and Asian American Democratic members of Congress said on Wednesday they plan to "fight together" against Trump administration policies that impact their communities.
The chairs of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC), Congressional Black Caucus (CBC), and Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC) — collectively known as the Tri-Caucus — met Wednesday on Capitol Hill with the five Democratic senators of color as part of a strategy to bring Democratic minority legislators together as a bloc. They said this was an effective way to push back against any Trump administration policies or GOP proposals they consider detrimental to the Asian American, Black, and Hispanic communities.
"We want to show our constituents that there is real power in our voting bloc," said CHC chair Michelle Luján Grisham. "They can't get anything passed nor govern effectively without us. This is also way to ensure that we continue to do our jobs and are more proactive."
CBC Chair Rep. Cedric Richmond D-LA) told reporters these bicameral coalitions send a very important message not only to the Washington, D.C. crowd but to the country.
"I hope that they see these communities have come together in lock step, to fight for issues that are going to better these communities because we're all tied together," said Rep. Raymond.
All together there are 127 voting members in the Tri-Caucus.
First on their radar screen are the current budget negotiations and the looming possibility of a government shutdown, should no agreement be reached by Friday. The legislators said they intend to make their voices heard on that issue and beyond.
"We're doing this to come together and make sure that we have a strong voice especially considering what is coming down with the Trump administration, said CAPAC chair Judy Chu (D-CA).
"This president's budget is unacceptable. It's reverse Robin Hood, robbing the poor to help the rich, and we're going to use our unity as a force against it," said Rep. Chu.
Sen. Robert Menéndez (D-NJ) said that while collectively the Tri-Caucus and the Democratic senators are in the minority, it is still a significant voting bloc to contend with, not only for Republicans but also the Democratic leadership in both the House and Senate.
"In the house, the Tri-Caucus membership is a significant bloc, so any time the Republican leadership needs votes they will have to respond to the Tri-Caucus. That's a powerful opportunity," said Menéndez.
He also said it's an opportunity "to send a message to our own leadership about the positions that we have that we are solid on and therefore if you need our votes to move forward, you're going to have to with the policy issues that are important to our community."
Rep. Richmond said the members won't allow themselves to be "pitted one against the other" and quoted Booker T. Washington, who said "we can be as separate as the fingers, yet one as the hand."