Pelosi says she supports bill to study issue of reparations for slavery

Pelosi says she supports bill to study issue of reparations for slavery
© Greg Nash

Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy Patricia D'Alesandro PelosiHouse Dems unveil measure to reject anti-Israel boycotts Freshman Dems to meet with Obama next week The Hill's Morning Report - Trump's intraparty feuds divide Republicans MORE (D-Calif.) said Wednesday she supports a bill that would establish a commission to study and consider reparations for African-Americans regarding slavery.

The resolution, which was reintroduced last year by Rep. Sheila Jackson LeeSheila Jackson LeeThe Hill's 12:30 Report: Trump attacks on McCain rattle GOP senators Harris to make hard Texas push, recruits key O'Rourke aide: report Trio of NFL players intern on Capitol Hill as part of league program MORE (D-Texas), currently has 35 co-sponsors, though Pelosi’s backing could help lead to more widespread support among the House Democratic Caucus.

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“As you probably are aware, Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee has legislation to study this issue, and I support that,” Pelosi said in response to a question about reparations during an event at Howard University in Washington, D.C.

The Democratic leader tied studying reparations to a litany of other issues involving inequality, including affordable education and health care, among other issues.

“One of the things that we can do not only just in terms of trying to make up for a horrible, sinful thing that happened in our country in terms of slavery, but for our country to live up to who we think we are," she said.

"We have to reduce the disparity in income in our country, we have to reduce the disparity in access to education in an affordable way in our country, reduce the health disparities in our country … so while we’re studying how we deal with the reparations issue, there’s plenty we can do to improve the quality of life of many people in our country,” she said.

Pelosi's office declined to offer additional comment.

The issue of reparations burst onto the presidential scene last week after Democratic Sens. Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisMichael Bennet 'encouraged' in possible presidential bid: report House Dems unveil measure to reject anti-Israel boycotts Strategist says Trump is 'retreating' from talking about foreign policy MORE (Calif.) and Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenOn The Money: Trump rolls dice on uncertain economy | 737 crisis tests Boeing's clout in Washington | Watchdog group pushes 2020 candidates for 10 years of tax returns House Dems unveil measure to reject anti-Israel boycotts Bannon says an O'Rourke-Harris ticket poses the greatest threat to Trump in 2020 MORE (Mass.), two high-profile White House candidates, came out in support of the restitutions.

Democratic leaders including former President Obama and 2016 Democratic presidential nominee Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonClinton and Ocasio-Cortez joke about Kushner's alleged use of WhatsApp Hillicon Valley: Kushner accused of using WhatsApp, personal email for official work | White House rejects request for Trump-Putin communications | Facebook left 'hundreds of millions' of passwords unsecured | Tech pressured to root out extremism Man accused of mailing pipe bombs to Dems pleads guilty MORE have previously said they do not support the policy, which supporters say is necessary to address the history of slavery in the U.S. Experts say such a policy could cost several trillion dollars.

“We have to be honest that people in this country do not start from the same place or have access to the same opportunities,” Harris said in a statement last week. “I’m serious about taking an approach that would change policies and structures and make real investments in black communities.”