Sen. Cory Booker Pushes House Bill To Senate For Slavery Reparations

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Written by Dana Sanchez
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U.S. Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., speaks during the Iowa Democratic Party’s annual Fall Gala, Saturday, Oct. 6, 2018, in Des Moines, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

Sen. Cory Booker is expected to file today in the Senate a bill to consider a national apology for slavery and to study reparations for the racial and economic discrimination that persists for African Americans.

A companion version of the HR 40 bill, which was introduced in the House by Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX) and first introduced in 1989 by Rep. John Conyers, is headed for the Senate today, The Grio reported.

“I am proud to introduce legislation that will finally address many of our country’s policies—rooted in a history of slavery and white supremacy—that continue to erode Black communities, perpetuate racism and implicit bias, and widen the racial wealth gap,” Booker tweeted.

Reparations have become a key policy question in the 2020 Democratic presidential primary and won support from some leading candidates.

Not everyone thinks they’re a good idea, or that they’ll work.

Now Booker seems to be taking the legislative lead on the issue. In the past, he has expressed frustration that the question of reparations has been “reduced to a box to check on a presidential list, when this is so much more of a serious conversation,” Booker told CNN’s Don Lemon during a recent town hall in Orangeburg, South Carolina.”Do I support legislation that is race-conscious about balancing the economic scales?” Booker said. “Not only do I support it, but I have legislation that actually does it.”

Booker has been campaigning on a proposal to address growing income equality with baby bonds, a government-run savings program for children.
His proposal involves granting every newborn American child money at birth that would grow with the child, based on the family’s income, and could be used at age 18 to launch young adults on the road to economic success.


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Booker introduced his baby bonds proposal in 2018 in the Senate and has referred to it in his stump speeches and town halls since then, but it has not played a central role, New York Times reported.

Still, Booker’s baby bonds plan has been criticized for not meeting the race-specific standard needed to qualify as reparations.

Booker’s baby bonds policy idea isn’t reparations, but it’s the closest a presidential candidate is going to get, Jordan Weissmann wrote for Slate.