Today, the Chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC), Congressman Cedric Richmond (D-La.), and the Ranking Member of the House Judiciary Committee, Congressman John Conyers, Jr. (D-Mich.), issued the following statement in response to President Trump’s attempt to walk back his recent comments on HBCUs. On Friday, while signing a $1.1 trillion omnibus bill, President Trump questioned the constitutionality of HBCU funding.
“Based on President Trump’s record on HBCUs, we think it’s safe to say that he meant what he said on Friday and that last night’s statement, much like the HBCU executive order, meeting, and photo, are just PR.
“He held a meeting with more than 70 HBCU presidents in February and then said after the meeting that they didn’t ask him for anything even though they did. He signed an executive order that moves the HBCU initiative into the White House but does little else. In addition, his budget proposes to give HBCUs the same amount of funding they received last year, even though their operational costs are increasing, and to cut programs like Pell Grants that support students served by these schools.
“Sadly and shamefully, HBCUs, including the schools that President Trump met with, are left to wonder whether he wants to help or hurt them. If President Trump really wants to help HBCUs, he’ll implement the proposals the CBC has suggested to him in several letters (February 27, March 22), including the letter we sent him on April 27 calling for robust funding for a host of programs that support students served by these schools.”
The $1.1 trillion omnibus bill that President Trump signed on Friday included funding for year-around Pell Grants ($22.5 billion), TRIO ($950 million), and Gear Up ($340 million) and was the result of negotiations by Congressional Republicans and Democrats that began before President Trump took office.