Majority – The Black Caucus vs. Billy McCoy

But to the Black Caucus this was not just about blocking abortion funding, they seemed to take the opt-out as a direct slap at Barack Obama’s new healthcare legislation. We have seen what appears to be a lot of sensitivity from the caucus on issues that have anything to do with Obama. During the debate on Saturday, Rep. Ed Blackmon (D-Canton) felt the need to say that Obama will still be president regardless of what happens with the abortion bill.

Sometime between Friday night and Saturday morning, McCoy made the decision that he was going to support this legislation. This appeared to be a surprise to the Black Caucus, who saw McCoy and Public Health Committee Chairman Steve Holland (D-Plantersville) hold the legislation up on Friday. Needless to say, the caucus was not happy and made some pretty extreme statements on the House floor.

In the end, only one white member opposed this legislation as the Black Caucus essentially stood alone this time. Republicans like Sen. Alan Nunnelee and Rep. Greg Snowden were in rare form praising McCoy. What does this mean for the future relationship between the caucus and McCoy? I don’t see one vote changing things (although as I said the Obama angle makes this bigger than most votes). There is a mutual dependency between the two and while McCoy may have power by virtue of his position, the caucus can end things real quickly. It is probably a good thing that the regular legislative session is just about over.

Majority in Miss.