President Carter and members of the Congressional Black Caucus held a political makeup session at the White House yesterday. Caucus members, at least, appeared satisfied with the outcome.
They went to the White House to get a "top priority" commitment from Carter to push for Senate approval of the Humphrey-Hawkins full-employment bill before the Senate adjourns next month.
"We were pushing for the president to classify this as a "must piece" of leg. isolation, and the president has agreed to do this," Rep. Parren J. Mitchell (D.-Md), caucus chairman, said at a press conference after the meeting.
The meeting followed by four days an acrimonious Black Caucus session at the White House from which one member, Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.), stalked out in anger.
Carter and other administration officials maintain that he was always made full employment a "top priority." But there were other priorities, such as getting out an energy bill and curbing inflation, they say.
This is what was on the mind of caucus members when they met with Carter and Vice President Mondale at an earlier meeting Tuesday. The other priorities seemed to be getting the attention, while time was running out on Humphrey-Hawkins.
At the Tuesday meeting, caucus members wanted that the White House would get the blame if Congress failed to pass the full employment bill. Carter and Mondale heatedly challenged that assertion, leading to Conyer's angry departure.
Mitchell said yesterday the caucus called for the second meeting to clear up what he called a "misunderstanding." The White House agreed.
The second meeting went smoothly, Mitchell said. Conyers stayed. The Michigan congressman even "shook hands and exchanged warm pleasantries" with Carter upon leaving, Mitchell said.
Mitchell said the White House didn't understand at the first meeting "the intensity of the feeling of the people" who support Humprhey-Hawkins. Yesterday, he said, the president understood.
To drive home that message to Carter, the caucus staged a march at the Capitol yesterday.
At the opening session of the eighth annual congressional Black Caucus legislative weekend, Mitchell and other caucus members linked arms with Coretta Scott King, widow of slain civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr., and led nearly 1,000 persons in a silent mass march across the Capitol grounds to the Senate steps.
The demonstration lasted 30 minutes. Later, the marchers - many of them black elected officials from around the country - visited their senators to lobby for the bill.
The measure would establish as a national goal reducing the overall unemployment rate to 4 percent by 1963. It received administration support after being watered down from its original form.
The bill has passed the House, and is on the Senate calender. Mitchell said yesterday the president promised to work with Senate leaders to put the bill into position for an early vote.
Mitchell said he doubted Carter "would have gone this far" to pledge support for the bill "if he had any doubts that he could do this."
Carter is scheduled to address the Black Caucus convention tonight. The White House said the president is likely to issue a statement today supporting quick action on the Humphrey-Hawkins bill.