Feb. 12, 2016 SIGN IN | REGISTER

Clyburn Keeps Pulse of a Diverse Caucus

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"It was only maybe six seconds before someone stood up and said, 'I move that we adopt the position that Mr. Clyburn has just expressed in a response to the debt talks,'" Cleaver said.

That confidence will no doubt help deliver votes, whether it be on an as-yet-unknown budget deal or another compromise such as Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell's (R-Ky.) proposed plan.

"When there's an unknown out there, you want to make sure you're placing your trust in someone that's solid as a rock, and that's Jim Clyburn," House Democratic Caucus Chairman John Larson (Conn.)said.

"He brings the issues of those who have been left behind in our society for minorities, people that are hurting, in pain," Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.) said. "He brings a particular color to it because of his history, his background, he knows what it is for people to suffer."

Though Clyburn said some thought he was unqualified to represent the budgetary concerns of the Caucus in the Biden talks, he said the rumblings motivated him.

"I've always got something to prove," he said. "These were people who had these notions about who I was that didn't know what they were talking about."

House Budget ranking member Chris Van Hollen, another veteran of the Biden talks, said Clyburn brought a particular focus on funding for social programs.

"He made very clear that we need to have a fair approach when we're talking about reducing the deficit, one that protects critical investments this country needs to make in education and health care," the Maryland Democrat said.

After each of the 10 sessions with Biden, Clyburn said he would huddle with a broad swath of Democratic Members Reps. Jan Schakowsky (Ill.) of the Progressive Caucus, Bobby Scott (Va.) of the CBC, Xavier Becerra (Calif.) of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, and Jim Cooper (Tenn.) of the Blue Dog Coalition, to name a few.

In doing so, he was able to keep his finger on the pulse of the groups, not just to inform his negotiating posture but to allow them to report back to their Capitol constituency that they were being included.

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