Sen. Cory Booker is asking the Senate to establish a commission to study and then consider reparations for the descendants of slaves.
The New Jersey Democrat introduced a companion Senate bill to the HR 40 bill, which was introduced in the House of Representatives by Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee in January, to study the impact of slavery and discrimination as well as explore reparation initiatives for African-American descendants of slavery.
“This bill is a way of addressing head-on the persistence of racism, white supremacy, and implicit racial bias in our country,” the Democratic presidential candidate said in a statement on Monday.
“It will bring together the best minds to study the issue and propose solutions that will finally begin to right the economic scales of past harms and make sure we are a country where all dignity and humanity is affirmed,” he added.
The legislation, which was first introduced to Congress three decades ago by then-Rep. John Conyers of Michigan, and the push for reparations has been touted by other 2020 Democratic candidates, including Sens. Kamala Harris of California, Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, Bernie Sanders of Vermont, former Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke, South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg, and Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard.
“Since slavery in this country, we have had overt policies fueled by white supremacy and racism that have oppressed African-Americans economically for generations,” Booker said in a statement on Monday, according to Fox News. “Many of our bedrock domestic policies that have ushered millions of Americans into the middle class have systematically excluded blacks through practices like GI Bill discrimination and redlining.”
Booker addressed the issue during a CNN town hall event last month, contending that slavery reparations has been “reduced to a box to check on a presidential list, when this is so much more of a serious conversation.”
“Do I support legislation that is race-conscious about balancing the economic scales? Not only do I support it, but I have legislation that actually does it,” he said at one point.
Booker tweeted about the bill he introduced on Monday, saying, “I am proud to introduce legislation that will finally address many of our country’s policies—rooted in a history of slavery and white supremacy—that continue to erode Black communities, perpetuate racism and implicit bias, and widen the racial wealth gap.”
I am proud to introduce legislation that will finally address many of our country’s policies—rooted in a history of slavery and white supremacy—that continue to erode Black communities, perpetuate racism and implicit bias, and widen the racial wealth gap.https://t.co/5x7bdfncbZ
— Cory Booker (@CoryBooker) April 8, 2019
The text of the HR 40 bill reads:
“To address the fundamental injustice, cruelty, brutality, and inhumanity of slavery in the United States and the 13 American colonies between 1619 and 1865 and to establish a commission to study and consider a national apology and proposal for reparations for the institution of slavery, its subsequent de jure and de facto racial and economic discrimination against African-Americans, and the impact of these forces on living African-Americans, to make recommendations to the Congress on appropriate remedies, and for other purposes.”
“Since the initial introduction of this legislation in 1989, the importance of examining the institution of slavery in the United States has been recognized across a broad range of our society,” Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee said in a statement on Monday. “I am pleased that Sen. Booker has introduced a Senate Companion to H.R. 40. I salute his dedication to elevating the discussion of reparations and reparatory justice.”
Critics have denounced the idea of mandating reparations as something that could cost untold trillions of dollars, and, as Conservative author and columnist Shelby Steele noted, it would mean “holding onto an idea of justice that’s absolutely impossible.”
“Not only is it impossible, but it’s self-defeating because you have to continue to see yourself as a victim waiting around in life to be resurrected by the beneficence of the larger society, by white guilt,” Steele told Fox News’ Laura Ingraham, adding that that it was “unimaginable” that anyone “would have the hubris to think you could resolve slavery” by making reparations.
With Democrats continuing to inch further to the left, the controversial move by Booker and others pushing for reparations sparked much reaction on Twitter. Republicans should be elated.
Most racist thing I have seen in a long time. Because Americans, generations separated from slavery and wrongdoing, are born a certain color, they have to pay a fine for being that color. That is the definition of racism!! You clearly see color as an issue! #racist! #racist!
— Kevin M (@KevinM689) April 8, 2019
will there also be reparations for the Irish, Chinese, Indigenous, and Japanese Americans- or do we just need Legislators from those those SPECIFIC backgrounds to “introduce” their own (ya know since you like diversity and all right).
— marcnolan (@coachnolan09) April 8, 2019
That is the most
Idea in the History of ideas.
Well done Booker, you’re as useless as a screen door on a submarine.
And give Republicans control of the House and Senate again! Love it!
— M’Lissa Anderson (@blissfull8674) April 8, 2019
nothing says pandering for votes like Booker’s reparations talk and investigation
— Fran Butkiewicz (@gambler1647) April 9, 2019
Nothing says progress like dredging up slavery. https://t.co/DN3NLs430v
— Josh Aikens NJ?? (@Aikens_Josh) April 9, 2019
Hey there Spartacus, reparations were already paid long ago with the blood and lives of free men. https://t.co/rpVVWvE2Yc
— Robin Karr (@jiggaz31) April 9, 2019
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