While Congress held a hearing on Capitol Hill in which the necessity of reparations bill H.R. 40 was debated, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said President Joe Biden is in favor of a study on reparations.
On Wednesday, Feb. 17, Psaki told media Biden “certainly would support a study of reparations” after a reported asked where Biden stood on the topic.
“He supported a study of reparations … and studying the continuing impacts of slavery, which is being discussed in this hearing on H.R. 40.”
The H.R. 40 bill seeks to establish a “Commission to Study and Develop Reparation Proposals for African Americans” that will “examine slavery and discrimination in the colonies and the United States from 1619 to the present and recommend appropriate remedies.”
It has been presented to Congress for over 30 years – first by late Congressman John Conyers; then reintroduced by Sheila Jackson Lee and the Congressional Black Caucus.
When pressed about whether Biden would sign H.R. 40 Psaki did not confirm. She reiterated his commitment to addressing racial injustice instead.
“He continues to demonstrate his commitment to take comprehensive action to address the systemic racism that persists today. Obviously having that study is a part of that,” Psaki said.
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“He has signed an executive order on his first day which would begin to deliver on his commitment to having an across government approach to addressing racial inequality and making sure equity is a part of his entire policy agenda, but he certainly would support a study of reparations,” she continued.
She then added Biden was not waiting for any legislation to pass before he began tackling the issue.
“We understand that we don’t need a study to take action right now in systemic racism so he wants to take action right now within his own government in the meantime,” Psaki said.