Reparations bill gains traction in the House

Reparations bill gains traction in the House
© Greg Nash

Rep. Sheila Jackson LeeSheila Jackson LeeYovanovitch impeachment testimony gives burst of momentum to Democrats Live coverage: Ex-Ukraine ambassador testifies in public impeachment hearing Consequential GOP class of 1994 all but disappears 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 ScottEducation Department finalizes new regulations to relax college-accreditation requirements Trump admin gave over million in aid to students at unaccredited for-profit colleges CBO: Pelosi bill to lower drug prices saves Medicare 5 billion MORE (Va.), 2020 Democratic presidential hopeful Rep. Seth MoultonSeth MoultonPardoning war crimes dishonors the military The Hill's Morning Report - Fallout from day one of Trump impeachment hearing We still owe LGBT veterans for their patriotism and service MORE (Mass.), Congressional Hispanic Caucus Chairman Joaquin CastroJoaquin CastroCastro tweaks brother's beard: 'If I knew it'd look like that I wouldn't have suggested it' Live coverage: House holds third day of public impeachment hearings Live coverage: Ex-Ukraine ambassador testifies in public impeachment hearing MORE and House Democratic Policy and Communications Committee Chairman David CicillineDavid Nicola CicillineHillicon Valley: Federal inquiry opened into Google health data deal | Facebook reports millions of post takedowns | Microsoft shakes up privacy debate | Disney plus tops 10M sign-ups in first day Top antitrust Dem presses DOJ, FTC on Google's Fitbit acquisition Hillicon Valley: California AG reveals Facebook investigation | McConnell criticizes Twitter's political ad ban | Lawmakers raise concerns over Google takeover of Fitbit | Dem pushes FCC to secure 5G networks 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 passes stopgap as spending talks stall This week: Round 2 of House impeachment inquiry hearings Lawmakers skeptical of progress on spending deal as wall battle looms 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 McConnellOvernight Health Care: GOP senator says drug price action unlikely this year | House panel weighs ban on flavored e-cigs | New York sues Juul McConnell hopes Senate impeachment trial 'not too lengthy a process' Former Speaker Boehner's official portrait unveiled 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."