During the 2020 presidential campaign, politicians touted the possibility of reparations. But for a year, the reparations bill HR 40 has been in limbo. Some reparations activists are questioning why the U.S. has yet to set aside federal financial reparations for its own Black citizens while it’s sending billions of dollars to Ukraine.
On April 14, 2021, Congress made history when the House of Representatives Judiciary Committee voted to move HR40, the Commission to Study and Develop Reparation Proposals for African-Americans Act, to the House floor for full consideration. Since then, the proposed legislation has been stalled.
Russia launched its invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 24. The U.S. and several of its allies have pledged support, with the U.S. providing the most. Some experts say U.S. aid could reach $1 trillion before the end of the war.
In March, the government approved a $13.6 billion package in economic, humanitarian, and military aid to Ukraine. President Joe Biden has requested another $33 billion package, which will have to be approved by Congress, to support Ukraine through September, The Hill reported.
The bulk of the U.S. money provided to Ukraine has been allocated to military and defense spending.
“This is money the government can use to help stabilize their economy, to support communities that have been devastated by the Russian onslaught, and pay the brave workers that continue to provide essential services to the people of Ukraine,” Biden said on April 21.
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The federal government has yet to give reparations payments to native Black Americans. According to reparations scholar William Sandy Darity, reparations would come to about $12 trillion. While it may seem overwhelming, most reparations activists point out that payments can be made over time and not in one lump sum.
The book “From Here to Equality: Reparations for Black Americans in the Twenty-First Century,” written by Darity and his wife, Kirsten Mullen, points out that the only way to eliminate the existing Black-White wealth gap would be through an allocation of $10 trillion to $12 trillion, or about $800,000 to each eligible Black household.
The U.S. has spent trillions of dollars on wars, especially its war on terror. A report from the Costs of War project at Brown University revealed that 20 years of post-9/11 wars have cost the U.S. an estimated $8 trillion and have killed more than 900,000 people.
Photo: A Ukrainian serviceman walks amid the rubble of a building heavily damaged by multiple Russian bombardments near a frontline in Kharkiv, Ukraine, April 25, 2022. (AP Photo/Felipe Dana)