Rep. Karen Bass (D-Calif.) will serve as chair of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) for the 116th Congress, for which caucus members will chair five full House committees and at least 28 House subcommittees.
Bass, 65, was the first-ever African-American woman to become speaker of any state legislature in the United States.
The CBC, which was established in 1971 to bring Black members of the Congress together, will also add nine new representatives, growing their numbers to 55 — the first time the organization will have more than 50 members.
During her time as speaker of the California State Assembly, California faced its worst economic recession since the Great Depression.
However, Bass worked with then-Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and Republican colleagues such as then-California state Sen. and former Senate Republican Leader Darrell Steinberg to pass a budget that eventually earned her the 2010 John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award for her bipartisan negotiating efforts.
“The richest country in the history of the world should be able to ensure that its people can afford health insurance. Health care is a human right, and attacks on the Affordable Care Act hobble our health care system,” said Bass in an interview recently with Elle Magazine.
“Know that this attempt will fail like the others and that come January 3rd, a new Congress will be sworn in that will be working for the people again,” she said.