The issue of reparations will back on the table again at 10 a.m. EST on April 14, when the House Judiciary Committee debates the H.R. 40 bill for the first time ever and holds a markup during the live-streamed event.
H.R. 40 — the Commission to Study and Develop Reparation Proposals for African Americans Act — will create a commission to study the following:
“Today, we still live with racial disparities in access to education, health care, housing, insurance, employment, and other social goods that are directly attributable to the damaging legacy of slavery and government-sponsored racial discrimination,” House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) said in a statement. “The creation of a commission under H.R. 40 to study these issues is not intended to divide, but to continue the efforts commenced by states, localities and private institutions to reckon with our past and bring us closer to racial understanding and advancement.”
Introduced nearly 30 years ago, H.R. 40 establishes a commission to examine slavery and discrimination in the U.S. from 1619 to the present and recommend appropriate remedies.
Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX), who sponsored the bill, is the subcommittee chairwoman on crime, terrorism, and homeland security. “Since its introduction in 1989 by the late Chairman John Conyers, and now through its continued introduction, H.R. 40 has galvanized governmental acknowledgment of the crime of slavery and its continuing societal impact,” Rep. Lee said.
But many are calling for H.R. 40 to be rewritten. Among those voices is reparations and wealth inequality expert William Darity, who, with Kristen Mullen wrote “From Here to Equality: Reparations for Black Americans in the Twenty-First Century.” Darity called on Rep. Jackson-Lee to edit H.R. 40. She has yet to respond publicly.
People on Twitter agreed it’s time to revamp the bill.
“Let’s hope @SandyDarity, the top economist in this space, has his edits included or else this might be one of the worst bills ever presented for African Americans who have ancestors enslaved in America,” noted one person.
Others cosigned. “If no one from ADOS lineage and or #ADOS the movement is present on April 14 for the ‘first ever’ mark up of HR40 this ‘historical event’ will have been in vain more benign neglect from flaccid leadership! We demand Dr. Darity’s edits be included!! #FIXHR40!! #40BAG!!”
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A June 2020 ABC News/Ipsos poll found that 73 percent of people think the federal government should not “pay money to Black Americans whose ancestors were slaves as compensations for that slavery.” Just one in eight white Americans supported reparations versus three-quarters of African Americans, Daily Mail reported.
You can watch the House Judiciary Committee H.R. 40 markup event live-streamed at 10 a.m. ET on April 14 YouTube.
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