Congressional Black Caucus: The Role in Making the U.S. Domestic and Foreign Policies

DOI: 10.20542/0131-2227-2019-63-10-67-77

V. Konyshev (,
St. Petersburg State University, 7–9, Universitetskaya Nab., St. Petersburg, 199034, Russian Federation;
A. Sergunin (,
Moscow State Institute of International Relations (MGIMO-University), The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation, 76, Vernadskogo Prosp., Moscow, 119454, Russian Federation;
St. Petersburg State University, 7–9, Universitetskaya Nab., St. Petersburg, 199034, Russian Federation

Abstract. The article examines the role of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) in the U.S. domestic and foreign policy making during the Barack Obama and Donald Trump administrations. The CBC structure, functions, main activities and relations with the executive power are analyzed. The CBC is one of the most influential congressional factions, which both other legislators and the executive branch of government reckon with. Under the Obama administration, CBC demonstrated the growing interest in foreign policy issues. At the same time, the U.S. color population-related problematique remained the CBC’s highest priority. Barak Obama, the first U.S. black president, failed to meet color people’s expectations while the black community viewed him as “its representative” in the government. He did not pay proper attention to the U.S. ethnic communities’ needs. On the one hand, his presidency was affected by tensions between Republicans and Democrats in the Congress which impeded implementation of his legislative agenda oriented to the color peoples’ needs. On the other hand, President Obama’s personal style was characterized by inconsistency and the lack of political will which again negatively affected his relations with the Afro-American community. Nonetheless, with the CBC support, a number of color population-focused programs have been launched in the areas, such as education, health care, social adaptation and immigration policies. Under the Republican president Donald Trump, the CBC retained its influence on American political process. However, its relations with the White House are of conflictual rather than cooperative nature. Particularly, the CBC is discontent with Trump’s policies in areas such as inter-ethnic relations, social security, health care, education, and immigration. The Black Caucus believes that Trump tries to undermine the fundamentals and achievements of Obama’s social policies that were beneficial for the U.S. color population and poor people. Given the CBC-Trump controversies on domestic policy issues, the Caucus does not pay much attention to the foreign policy problematique preferring to react to specific international challenges (for example, humanitarian issues or potential U.S. military interventions abroad) rather than to have a proactive foreign policy strategy. It should be noted, however, that the CBC does not completely identify itself with the Democratic party’s political course (although all its members are Democrats). For example, the CBC didn’t not support Washington’s hegemonic ambitions and actions in the cases of the Syrian and Venezuelan crises or Trump’s overtly pro-Israeli policies in the Near East. Hopefully, in the future, when (and if) the U.S. political establishment will start to overcome its Russophobia, Moscow could cooperate with the CBC taking into account its important role in shaping Washington’s African and Latin American policies. As the CBC’s previous political activities demonstrate, this grouping can be open for cooperation in different ways, such as traditional and public diplomacy, inter-parliamentary links, intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations, and so on.

Keywords: U. S. Congressional Black Caucus, domestic policy, foreign policy, Barack Obama, Donald Trump 


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For citation:
Konyshev V., Sergunin A. Congressional Black Caucus: The Role in Making the U.S. Domestic and Foreign Policies. World Eonomy and International Relations, 2019, vol. 63, no. 10, pp. 67-77.

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