House Panel To Vote On Slavery Reparations Bill For The First Time


For the first time, the House Judiciary Committee is expected to vote on H.R. 40. Introduced by former Rep. John Conyers in 1989, H.R. 40 would establish a 13-person committee to discuss the impact of slavery and put forth "appropriate remedies." Leading sponsor Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee said that H.R. 40 is "enabling legislation to address the deep-seated racism and historic and systemic elements of mistreatment of African Americans through the centuries."

"We think it will be cleansing for this nation, and we think that it will be a step moving America forward to see us debate this question on the floor of the House," the congresswoman said.

H.R. 40 comes to a vote with the most support it has ever had in the U.S. House of Representatives. A number of Congress members have publicly expressed their support for Lee's efforts.

"Understanding that the compounding nature of racism has created a dynamic where Black people today must not only grapple with living in a country built on our sustained oppression, but also observe the modern manifestations in our daily lives," Rep. Jamaal Bowman said.

While H.R. 40 has more support than it ever has, it still faces stiff Republican opposition in Congress. Rep. Burgess Owens called the bill "impractical and a nonstarter."

"It is also unfair and heartless to give Black Americans the hope that this is a reality," Owens said.

"I don't think reparations for something that happened 150 years ago, for whom none of us currently living are responsible, is a good idea," Sen. Mitch McConnell commented after being asked about the bill.

In the White House, President Joe Biden has publicly stated that he would support H.R. 40 and met with Lee about the proposal.

"We have heard from not only the president, but the White House and his team, that he is committed to this concept," Lee said.

Photo Credit: Getty Images


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