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 PelosiThe Hill's Morning Report - Trump says no legislation until Dems end probes Threat of impeachment takes oxygen out of 2019 agenda Trump denies 'tantrum' in meeting with Pelosi: 'It is all such a lie!' 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 LeeDems probe DOJ's handling of civil rights violations by law enforcement Reparations: The 'lost cause' of black politics? Dem lawmaker says Trump 'has in many respects become a dictator' MORE (D-Texas), currently has 35 co-sponsors, though Pelosi’s backing could help lead to more widespread support among the House Democratic Caucus.

ADVERTISEMENT

“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 HarrisThe Hill's Morning Report - Trump says no legislation until Dems end probes Harris readies a Phase 2 as she seeks to rejuvenate campaign 2020 Dems put spotlight on disabilities issues MORE (Calif.) and Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenThe Hill's Morning Report - Trump says no legislation until Dems end probes Harris readies a Phase 2 as she seeks to rejuvenate campaign 2020 Dems put spotlight on disabilities issues 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 ClintonHarris readies a Phase 2 as she seeks to rejuvenate campaign Nevada Senate passes bill that would give Electoral College votes to winner of national popular vote 2020 Dems break political taboos by endorsing litmus tests 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.”