Should Congress authorize a commission to explore reparation proposals for African Americans in the United States?

Awaiting Vote
Bill Summary

This bill establishes the Commission to Study and Develop Reparation Proposals for African Americans. The commission shall examine slavery and discrimination in the colonies and the United States from 1619 to the present and recommend appropriate remedies. The commission shall identify (1) the role of the federal and state governments in supporting the institution of slavery, (2) forms of discrimination in the public and private sectors against freed slaves and their descendants, and (3) lingering negative effects of slavery on living African Americans and society. Sponsor: Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (Democrat, Texas, District 18) View full bill text ➔

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Opponents say

• "I don’t think reparations for something that happened 150 years ago when none of us currently living are responsible is a good idea. We’ve tried to deal with our original sin of slavery by fighting a civil war, by passing landmark civil right legislation. We’ve elected an African American president." Source: Sen. Mitch McConnell (Republican, Kentucky)
• "I think pure reparations would be impossible to implement. Essentially a conversation about reparations is just something that’s not even a realistic possibility, so it’s something I don’t think we spend any time conversing on." Source: Sen. Tim Scott (Republican, South Carolina)
• "I don’t think anybody - black or white, man or woman, whatever your nationality - is responsible for what somebody else did, somebody else, black or white, did 150 years ago." Source: Sen. John Kennedy (Republican, Louisiana)

Proponents say

• "Hidden in the corners of this nation are those of African American heritage, the descendants of enslaved Africans, who have felt the sting of disparities. They continue to feel that sting. Now more than ever, the facts and circumstances facing our nation demonstrate the importance of H.R. 40, and the necessity of placing our nation on the path of reparative justice." Source:Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (Democrat, Texas, District 18)
• "I don’t think people understand that slavery is not far away. I think that’s the biggest problem. People say, “Ohm it happened way back then what do we have to pay attention to it now.’ The legacy of slavery and Jim Crow - which is a type of semi, quasi, of slavery - is still with us and so we need to do a lot more." Source: Sen. Charles Schumer (Democrat, New York)
• ”We have to be honest that people in this country do not start from the same place or have access to the same opportunities. I’m serious about taking an approach that would change policies and structures and make real investment in black communities." Source: Vice President Kamala Harris