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 PelosiBattle over reopening schools heats up Pelosi: Trump wearing a mask is 'an admission' that it can stop spread of coronavirus Sunday shows - Spotlight shifts to reopening schools 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 LeeTexas Democrats call for new stay-at-home order Local reparations initiatives can lead to national policy remedying racial injustice House to vote on removing bust of Supreme Court justice who wrote Dred Scott ruling 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 HarrisHillicon Valley: Facebook considers political ad ban | Senators raise concerns over civil rights audit | Amazon reverses on telling workers to delete TikTok Senators raise concerns over Facebook's civil rights audit Biden's marijuana plan is out of step with public opinion MORE (Calif.) and Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenIn politics, as in baseball, it ain't over till it's over Trump defends Roger Stone move: He was target of 'Witch Hunt' Democrats blast Trump for commuting Roger Stone: 'The most corrupt president in history' 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 ClintonBiden leads Trump in Florida, tied in Arizona and Texas: poll We haven't seen how low it can go There's a big blue wave coming 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.”