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 PelosiHouse unravels with rise of 'Les Enfants Terrible' Will Trump's racist tweets backfire? Al Green: 'We have the opportunity to punish' Trump with impeachment vote 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 LeeSchumer throws support behind bill to study reparations Pelosi announces House resolution to condemn Trump's 'xenophobic tweets' O'Rourke says he and his wife are descended from slave owners 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 HarrisHarris tops Biden in California 2020 poll The Hill's Morning Report - A raucous debate on race ends with Trump admonishment Democrats fret over Trump cash machine MORE (Calif.) and Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenHarris tops Biden in California 2020 poll The Hill's Morning Report - A raucous debate on race ends with Trump admonishment Democrats fret over Trump cash machine 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 ClintonTrump thanks 'vicious young Socialist Congresswomen' for his poll numbers Will Trump's racist tweets backfire? Democrats fret over Trump cash machine 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.”