Schumer throws support behind bill to study reparations
© Greg Nash

Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerSaagar Enjeti: Biden's latest blunder; Krystal Ball: Did Schumer blow our chance to beat McConnell? Johnson eyes Irish border in Brexit negotiations Lewandowski on potential NH Senate run: If I run, 'I'm going to win' MORE (D-N.Y.) said on Tuesday that he is supporting legislation to form a commission to study the issue of granting reparations to African Americans. 

"I’ve always believed racism is the poison of America. ... I’ve tried to do a lot, but more has to be done," Schumer said. "I will support the legislation by Sen. Cory BookerCory Anthony BookerSenate Democrats push for arms control language in defense policy bill Detroit county sheriff endorses Booker for president 'The Simpsons' pokes fun at Trump's feud with 'the squad' MORE [D-N.J.] and Rep. Sheila Jackson LeeSheila Jackson LeeJackson Lee: 'Racism is a national security threat' Most oppose cash reparations for slavery: poll Poll: Most Americans oppose reparations MORE [D-Texas] to establish a commission to study the issue of reparations for slavery and discrimination."

The legislation — identical versions were introduced in the Senate by Booker and in the House by Jackson Lee — does not take a position on paying reparations to descendants of slaves. 

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Instead, if passed, it would form a commission "to study the impact of slavery and continuing discrimination against African-Americans" and make recommendations on reparations proposals for descendants of slaves.

"The legacy of slavery and Jim Crow are still with us … and that’s why I’m supporting this legislation," Schumer added. 

But legislation to form the committee to study reparations faces a long-shot bid of making it to President TrumpDonald John Trump Former US ambassador: 'Denmark is not a big fan of Donald Trump and his politics' Senate Democrats push for arms control language in defense policy bill Detroit county sheriff endorses Booker for president MORE's desk. 

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellGOP group calls on Republican senators to stand up to McConnell on election security in new ads The Hill's Morning Report - Trump hews to NRA on guns and eyes lower taxes Hobbled NRA shows strength with Trump MORE (R-Ky.) told reporters last month that he doesn't believe reparations are a "good idea."

"We've tried to deal with our original sin of slavery by fighting a civil war, by passing landmark civil rights legislation. We elected an African American president," he said.

Booker's bill in the Senate has 14 co-sponsors so far, not including Schumer — 13 Democrats and Independent Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersSenate Democrats push for arms control language in defense policy bill Top adviser on Sanders: 'He's always been underestimated' 'The Simpsons' pokes fun at Trump's feud with 'the squad' MORE (Vt.). Jackson Lee's has 107 co-sponsors, all Democrats. 

The issue has become a topic of debate in the Democratic presidential primary.

Several 2020 candidates, including Sen. Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisSenate Democrats push for arms control language in defense policy bill Top adviser on Sanders: 'He's always been underestimated' 'The Simpsons' pokes fun at Trump's feud with 'the squad' MORE (D-Calif.), former Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-Texas) and Sanders, said while speaking at a National Action Network event earlier this year that they would sign a bill forming a reparations study commission into law if they were elected president.