The People Obama Should Be Listening To

Terrance Heath

House Speaker John Boehner and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor asked to meet with President Obama, to "discuss potential areas of bipartisan agreement," before his (hopefully) big jobs speech. Either they were hoping to crib some ideas, because they’re fresh out, or they wanted script approval.

Either way, here’s hoping the president told them exactly where to go. (Most likely, the White House politely declined.) Because there’s another group he should be listening to.

The chairs of the Congressional Progressive Caucus and of the three caucuses of black, Hispanic and Asian members of the House would like a word with President Obama before his Thursday jobs address.

In a Tuesday letter provided by a source, the leaders, who speak for a majority of House Dems, sought to make sure that Obama keeps his eye on the jobs crisis, which has disproportionately hit minority groups.

"With unemployment at 9.1% nationally– approaching 12% in the Hispanic community, 16.7% in the African American community and with Asian American and Pacific Islanders remaining unemployed for longer periods than any other group– we are in a national crisis. We have learned throughout American history that big, bold action is required to put people back to work and promote economic growth," the chairs write. "The chairs of the CBC, CAPAC, CPC, and CHC look forward to an opportunity to talk with you about proposals we would like you to consider before you address the nation this week."

The letter, which you can read here, hints that they’ll push for actual hiring programs to guarantee job creation. It comes at a time when members of these caucuses are catching an earful from constituents — usually reliable Democratic voters — who have grown frustrated with the party and Obama himself.

He could also talk with Rep. Keith Ellison about his Emergency Jobs bill for the Super Committee.

They’re not Republicans, but they represent more than half of the House Democrats — compared to the tea party coalition, which represents just a quarter of House Republicans. And, unlike Boehner, Cantor and the tea party, they might actually help the president hold on to his job.

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