House passes bill establishing commission to study racial disparities affecting Black men, boys

House passes bill establishing commission to study racial disparities affecting Black men, boys
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The House on Monday overwhelmingly passed legislation that would establish a bipartisan commission to study societal disparities affecting Black men and boys.

Lawmakers approved the bill, introduced by Rep. Frederica WilsonFrederica Patricia WilsonHouse passes bill establishing commission to study racial disparities affecting Black men, boys Florida county official apologizes for social media post invoking Hitler  GOP struggles to confront racial issues MORE (D-Fla.), in a 368-1 vote. Rep. Mo BrooksMorris (Mo) Jackson BrooksGOP congressman says person responsible for deleted Perdue campaign ad should be 'outed', 'fired' House passes bill establishing commission to study racial disparities affecting Black men, boys Overnight Defense: Army launches command probe after slaying at Fort Hood | 'MAGA' listed as 'covert white supremacy' in military handout MORE (R-Ala.) voted against the measure.

The legislation, called the Commission on the Social Status of Black Men and Boys Act, would create a 19-person panel consisting of lawmakers, agency officials and nongovernmental experts to investigate and make policy recommendations on “potential civil rights violations affecting black males and study the disparities they experience in education, criminal justice, health, employment, fatherhood, mentorship and violence.”

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The commission would then be required to produce a public report annually and provide guidance aimed at reducing systemic racism.

Proponents of the legislation argue it is a step toward ensuring equality for all Americans.

"We've come a long way in America, but we still have a long way to go. Slavery was not a necessary evil, it was a crime against humanity," House Democratic Caucus Chairman Hakeem JeffriesHakeem Sekou JeffriesJeffries on Senate coronavirus bill: 'Totally irrelevant' Gohmert tests positive for COVID-19 The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Brawls on Capitol Hill on Barr and COVID-19 MORE (D-N.Y.) said on the floor, referencing recent remarks by Sen. Tom CottonTom Bryant CottonOn The Trail: Pence's knives come out Sunday shows preview: White House, congressional Democrats unable to breach stalemate over coronavirus relief The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by the Air Line Pilots Association - Negotiators 'far apart' as talks yield little ahead of deadline MORE (R-Ark.) on the history of slavery.

"We are still living with its legacy today. Frederick Douglass once said, 'It's easier to build strong children than it is to repair broken men.' And so it is my hope this commission can begin the real process of repairing broken boys, broken men, broken families, and broken communities as a result of the systemic racism that has been in the soil of America for 401 years."

Rep. Kelly Armstrong (R-N.D.) referenced his previous work as a defense attorney in voicing his support for the commission.

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"As a defense attorney, I saw how sentence disparities on drug crimes, minimum mandatory sentencing, school board sentencing, pretrial release policies often had racial impacts," he said ahead of the vote. "By creating a bipartisan commission to study inequality in government programs, we take the necessary steps to identify and address disparities for Black American men and boys."

Sens. Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioPPP application window closes after coronavirus talks deadlock  The Hill's Campaign Report: US officials say Russia, China are looking to sow discord in election US intelligence says Russia seeking to 'denigrate' Biden MORE (R-Fla.), Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisHuffPost reporter: Biden's VP shortlist doesn't suggest progressive economic policies Hillary Clinton labels Trump coronavirus executive actions a 'stunt' Why Joe Biden needs Kamala Harris MORE (D-Calif.), and Cory BookerCory Anthony BookerSenate Democrats demand answers on migrant child trafficking during pandemic Senate Democrats push to include free phone calls for incarcerated people in next relief package Ex-USAID employee apologizes, denies sending explosive tweets MORE (D-N.J.) have introduced companion legislation in the Senate.

Passage of the House bill comes as millions of Americans across the country have advocated for police reforms to prevent systemic racism following the May 25 death of George Floyd, an unarmed Black man who was killed in Minneapolis police custody.

Updated at 1:22 p.m.