After walkout, black caucus gets what it wanted

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Call it the $4 billion boycott.

By boycotting a key House committee vote last week and threatening to abandon support for banking regulations, members of the Congressional Black Caucus got $4 billion added to legislation to overhaul government oversight of Wall Street.

House Financial Services Committee Chairman Barney Frank, D-Mass., this week inserted $3 billion to the legislation to provide low-interest loans to unemployed homeowners in danger of foreclosure. He added $1 billion for neighborhood revitalization programs.

The money would come out of the $700 billion financial rescue fund.

With 40 members in the House, the Congressional Black Caucus can be a potent force.

“Since last September, we have continuously voted for bailout and reform for the very institutions that created this devastation, without properly protecting the African-American community or small business,” Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., said on the day of the boycott. “That stops today.”

Among the caucus’ demands were greater assistance for minority-owned auto dealerships and banks that lend in African-American communities and more government advertising in minority-owned media.

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press.