The concept of reparations for native Black Americans has been bantered about increasingly over the last few years. Black Democrats seem to be growing weary of waiting and are pressing DNC leaders to allow a reparations vote this month.
Several Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) members are pushing for a floor vote on reparations legislation after visiting Tulsa, Okla., to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Tulsa Massacre that killed hundreds of Black residents and destroyed the thriving Black community known as Black Wall Street.
The caucus members had already pressed for a floor vote on the legislation, but the Tulsa visit with President Joe Biden seemed to be the inspiration to get the bill voted on by this summer.
“For those of us who went to Tulsa, it became even more apparent to us how important it is to pass H.R. 40 and to do so certainly before we leave for the August recess,” Rep. Hank Johnson (D-Ga.) told The Hill.
“We came away united with the strong feeling that now is the time to do [it],” he said. “And so we will now address leadership with this newfound sense of energy and urgency.”
The H.R. 40 bill sponsored by Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas), aims to create a commission to study the lingering effects of slavery in the U.S. and recommend ways to compensate living descendants.
The House Judiciary Committee approved the legislation in April, paving the way for a vote on the House floor. Every GOP lawmaker on the Judiciary Committee voted against the measure. On the Democrat side, Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) have yet to commit to a vote on the floor.
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“We’re still working with everyone, all the parties who have to make decisions, for a vote in June,” Jackson Lee said. “The time spent by the president in Tulsa regarding Greenwood was a very moving experience for all of us. And I couldn’t come away more positive about how we can try to find a good way of compromise to move a bill dealing with repair, and a study — that it’s not offensive to anyone to move it forward.”
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