Black Caucus would welcome two Republican freshmen

The Congressional Black Caucus has decided to allow two new Republican members to join.

Caucus Chairwoman Barbara Lee said Tuesday that the group would do nothing to prevent Reps.-elect Tim Scott of South Carolina or Allen West of Florida from becoming members, even though the rest of the group are Democrats.

“Membership in the Congressional Black Caucus has never been restricted to Democrats,” Lee said. “Should either of the two African American Republicans recently elected to the House of Representatives request membership in the Congressional Black Caucus they will be welcomed.”

Scott and West will be the first black GOP House members since Oklahoma’s J.C. Watts retired in 2003. Watts never joined the CBC. The last black Republican to do so was Rep. Gary Franks of Connecticut who was defeated in 1996. West has signaled he wants to join the CBC. Scott is undecided, but has said in the past he probably will not become a member.

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