the Senate ~~ CONGRESS ~~ the House


The Senate stands in adjournment until 9:30am on Wednesday, September 18, 2013. Following any Leader remarks, the Senate will be in morning business for one hour with the Republicans controlling the first half and the Majority controlling the final half.

Following morning business, the Senate will resume consideration of S.1392, the Energy Savings and Industrial Competitiveness Act.

Senator Cruz asked unanimous consent that the Rules Committee be discharged from further consideration of S.Res.225, a resolution to express the sense of the Senate that Congress should establish a joint select committee to investigate and report on the attack on the United States diplomatic facility and American personnel in Benghazi, Libya, on September 11, 2012.

Senator Boxer objected and she and Senator Menendez spoke on the issue.




Adopted S.Res.240, designating the week of beginning September 15, 2013, as “National Hispanic-Serving Institutions Week”.

Discharged the Judiciary committee and adopted S.Res.164, designating October 30, 2013, as a national day of remembrance for nuclear weapons program works.

Completed the Rule 14 process of H.R.2775, the No Subsidies without Verification Act.

Completed the Rule 14 process of H.R.2009, the Keep the IRS Off Your Health Care Act of 2013.

Completed the Rule 14 process of S.1513, the High Technology Jobs Preservation Act of 2013. (Wyden/Murkowski)

Completed the Rule 14 process of S.1514, the Saving Coal Jobs Act of 2013. (McConnell)



Last Floor Action:
3:14:42 P.M. -H.R. 761
Pursuant to the provisions of H. Res. 347, the Committee of the Whole proceeded
with 10 minutes of debate on the Hastings (Fl) amendment.


Breaking the Color Barrier in the Trenches

NMAAHC -- National Museum of African American History and Culture

Lonnie Bunch, museum director, historian, lecturer, and author, is proud to present A Page from Our American Story, a regular on-line series for Museum supporters. It will showcase individuals and events in the African American experience, placing these stories in the context of a larger story — our American story.

A Page From Our American Story

American Soldiers in Korea Fighting with the 2nd Inf. Div. north of the Chongchon River, Sfc. Major Cleveland, weapons squad leader, points out Communist-led North Korean position to his machine gun crew. November 20,1950. Pfc. James Cox.

African Americans have served in every military engagement in our history — from the American Revolution to today’s wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Even though for years they suffered injustice and inequality in the military, they served, as former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Colin Powell said, because “by serving, you demonstrated that you were as good as anyone else.”

This past August marked the 65th anniversary of the integration of America’s military. In July 1948, President Harry Truman signed an executive order mandating fair treatment and equality in government and the armed services. It was long overdue. Yet, even with the President ordering the change, integration was a slow process.

In the American Revolution and the Civil War, African Americans fought on both sides. The British promised freedom for enslaved blacks who took up arms against the Colonies. The same promise was offered by some leaders of the colonies. Following the Emancipation Proclamation, newly freed African Americans were permitted to serve in the army and navy. Still, the inequalities that had existed in the military prior to the Proclamation remained as blacks were always segregated and made to serve under under white commanding officers.

Segregation was as institutionalized in the military as it was in American society. Despite serving with distinction in the Spanish-American War and World War I, black servicemen and servicewomen returned to a nation that treated them like second class citizens.

James_DanielChappie.jpg Gen. Daniel R. “Chappie” James Jr. (1920-1978), a Tuskegee Airmen who trained and served during World War II, in 1975 became the first African American to achieve the grade of four-star general. (U.S. Air Force photo)

This was magnified following World War II. Throughout the war, African Americans performed at a high level. They helped free Europe and defeat Imperial Japan, but came home to find that little had changed. The military itself was still operating, in essence, two separate armed forces: one for whites, one for blacks.

In response to political pressure and the growing civil rights movement, in July 1948, President Truman issued executive order 9981 desegregating the armed forces. However, the military’s response was two years of institutional foot dragging. It was not until the Korean War that military commanders, out of necessity, realized they had to accelerate the process to rebuild forces that had been scaled back after WWII. Each branch of the armed forces responded differently.

The Air Force set itself on a path to integration in 1949, and in 1951 Captain Daniel “Chappie” James Jr., became the first black officer to command a fighter squadron. Among James’ many air medals was the Distinguished Flying Cross, one of the armed forces highest honors. James would go on to become the first four-star general in the Air Force. By the war’s end, 25 African American pilots served in fully integrated units.

Ensign Jesse L. Brown.jpg Ensign Jesse L. Brown, USN In the cockpit of an F4U-4 Corsair fighter, circa 1950. He was the first African American to be trained by the Navy as a Naval Aviator, and as such, became the first African American Naval Aviator to see combat. Brown flew with Fighter Squadron 32 (VF-32) from USS Leyte (CV-32). National Archives.

In the Navy, African Americans had long served on ships along with white sailors, but the jobs were menial and advancement was almost non-existent. Ensign Jesse L. Brown became the first African American Navy pilot when he was commissioned in 1948. He was also the first black Naval officer to die in the Korean war, and received the Distinguished Flying Cross posthumously. In March 1972, the Navy christened a Knox-class destroyer the USS Jesse L. Brown in his honor.

In 1952, Second Lieutenant Frank E. Peterson, Jr., became the first Marine aviator, flying 64 combat missions by the end of the Korean war. Peterson, too, received the Distinguished Flying Cross. He rose in the ranks to become the Marine Corps’ first African American general.

LtGenFrankPetersen_USMC.jpg LtGen Frank E. Peterson, USMC. Senior US Military aviator. First African American Marine Corps aviator and General. Photo from official USMC biography.

The Army was the slowest of the branches to respond. Still operating under WWII racial quotas that limited the number of African Americans who could serve, the Army was enlisting black Americans in numbers relative to the nation’s overall population, approximately 10%. Still, the Army faced a massive shortage of troops. When the Army lifted its racial quotas, African American enlistment rose sharply. Even then, however, the Army remained slow to integrate, and morale in black units was dangerously low. The last fully segregated black unit wasn’t disbanded until 1954.

During the Korean War, some of the oldest military racial walls fell. Perhaps the biggest of those barriers was the fear that white troops wouldn’t respond to black officers. This proved not to be the case. Integrated troops did respond to black officers and non-commissioned officers during the war. However, the number of African American officers in the Army was small, numbering less than 3% at the end of the Viet Nam War. Change was taking place, but slowly.

A leading proponent for integration was General Matthew Ridgway. When he was appointed Supreme Commander of United Nations forces in Korea in 1951, he immediately called for the desegregation of the forces under his authority. Ridgway stated, “It has always seemed to me both un-American and un-Christian for free citizens to be taught to downgrade themselves this way as if they were unfit to associate with their fellows or to accept leadership themselves.”

Nearly 600,000 African Americans served in an integrated armed forces during the Korean War. Neither racism nor hatred was extinguished overnight, but integrating the services played an important role in the larger picture of American society. African American servicemen and servicewomen were finally on a path to end their treatment as second class citizens fighting for the American ideals of freedom and equality.

 dd-enews-temp-lonnie-bunch-2.jpg All the best, Lonnie Bunch Director

P.S. We can only reach our $250 million goal with your help. I hope you will consider making a donation or becoming a Charter Member today.

a message from David Simas

The White House, Washington

Hello, everyone —

In the early hours of September 15, 2008, five years ago last Sunday, Lehman Brothers announced it would file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. Lehman was a giant of the financial system — the fourth-largest investment bank in the US, a firm that employed thousands of brokers and analysts, with billions in assets that were suddenly worthless — and its collapse sent shock waves through the global economy.

Suddenly, it was obvious that the next president of the United States would inherit a staggering economic crisis. But the challenge that President Obama was forced to confront didn’t just begin in 2008. Even before Lehman Brothers, middle-class security had been slowly eroding for decades as jobs became obsolete or were shipped overseas.

So as we mark this anniversary, we’ve asked senior staff from across the Obama administration to sit down and talk about the moment when key decisions were made — the factors they weighed, the results of the actions that President Obama took. What we’ve put together is a behind-the-scenes look of the decision-making process that you won’t find anywhere else.

Check out the story of America’s recovery, then share it with your friends.

By the end of 2008, the economy was shrinking by an annual rate of more than 8 percent, our businesses were shedding 800,000 jobs a month, and credit was frozen for families and small businesses. We were in the midst of the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. On the day that I first began working in the White House in 2009, the auto industry was on the brink of collapse and the President was wrestling with how to help the millions of families in thousands of communities who would have been devastated if the motor companies died.

That’s the lens through which President Obama saw his responsibilities, and it’s a consistent theme in all the stories we’ve collected. Every decision he made was meant to stop the economy from spiraling out of control, put people back to work, and reverse the trends that had buffeted middle class for decades. The task was nothing short of monumental — to clear away the rubble of the crisis and lay down a new foundation for sustained economic growth in the United States.

There’s no diminishing the severity of the challenge we’ve overcome together, and we’ve got a lot more work to do to rebuild an economy where everyone who works hard has a chance to get ahead. But five years after Lehman Brothers bankruptcy, we want to help everyone get the context and see the full picture.

Take a minute to learn more about where we are five years after the start of the financial crisis:



David Simas Deputy Senior Advisor The White House @Simas44