Reparations bill gains traction in the House

Reparations bill gains traction in the House
© Greg Nash

Rep. Sheila Jackson LeeSheila Jackson LeeThe US should work to counter India's actions against the people of Kashmir Sheila Jackson Lee tops colleagues in House floor speaking days over past decade Omar calls on US to investigate Turkey over possible war crimes in Syria MORE’s (D-Texas) bill that would form a commission to study whether black Americans should receive reparations for slavery is gaining traction among top Democrats, with the legislation reaching 90 co-sponsors by the end of June. 

More than two dozen Democratic lawmakers — including notable members such as House Education and Labor Committee Chairman Bobby ScottRobert (Bobby) Cortez ScottHoyer: Democratic chairmen trying to bridge divide on surprise medical bills To support today's students, Congress must strengthen oversight of colleges Democratic lawmaker tears into DeVos: You're 'out to destroy public education' MORE (Va.), 2020 Democratic presidential hopeful Rep. Seth MoultonSeth MoultonOvernight Defense: Iran crisis eases as Trump says Tehran 'standing down' | Dems unconvinced on evidence behind Soleimani strike | House sets Thursday vote on Iran war powers Congress reacts to US assassination of Iranian general Key moments in the 2020 Democratic presidential race so far MORE (Mass.), Congressional Hispanic Caucus Chairman Joaquin CastroJoaquin CastroCongressional Progressive Caucus co-chair Jayapal endorses Sanders Sanders, Warren battle for progressive endorsements Joaquin Castro follows brother in backing Warren MORE and House Democratic Policy and Communications Committee Chairman David CicillineDavid Nicola CicillineHillicon Valley: Biden calls for revoking tech legal shield | DHS chief 'fully expects' Russia to try to interfere in 2020 | Smaller companies testify against Big Tech 'monopoly power' Smaller companies testify against Big Tech's 'monopoly power' Living in limbo may end for Liberians in the US MORE (R.I.) — have signed on to the bill since the House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Civil Liberties held a hearing in mid-June on the issue and House Majority Leader Steny HoyerSteny Hamilton HoyerHouse poised to hand impeachment articles to Senate House to vote on Iran war powers bills sought by progressives Khanna: Timing of Iran bill being weighed against getting bigger majority MORE (D-Md.) announced he intends to bring the bill to the floor for a vote. 

"I am proud to sign on to this bill and join Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee," Castro said in a statement to The Hill. 

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Moulton said he believes it’s critical for Congress to have an open debate on the issue. 

House Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-S.C.) "always said that reparations are about repair," Moulton said during an appearance on New York radio show "The Breakfast Club." "It’s not necessarily just writing a check. It’s about investing — investing in the places where black people have been historically left behind."

Jackson Lee reintroduced the legislation at the start of the 116th Congress, making the argument that "the call for reparations represents a commitment to entering a constructive dialogue on the role of slavery and racism in shaping present-day conditions in our community and American society."

While the bill has gained momentum in the Democratic-controlled lower chamber, it faces an unlikely path in the Republican-controlled Senate. 

"I don't think reparations for something that happened 150 years ago for whom none us currently living are responsible is a good idea," Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellDemocrats worry a speedy impeachment trial will shut out public George Conway group drops ad seeking to remind GOP senators of their 'sworn oaths' ahead of impeachment trial GOP senator 'open' to impeachment witnesses 'within the scope' of articles MORE (R-Ky.) told reporters last month. "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."