On Tuesday, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer jumped on the slavery reparations bandwagon, telling reporters that he supported a bill that would establish a commission to study slavery reparation proposals for black Americans.
According to Axios, Schumer took a vicious swipe at Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) who opposes reparations, snapping, “What McConnell said was just preposterous and that’s why I’m supporting this legislation. In his actions as Majority Leader, he's done nothing to combat bigotry."
Schumer continued, "I’ve always believed racism is the poison of America … The legacy of slavery and Jim Crow is still with us and that’s why we need to do a lot more."
The bill, H.R 40, states, “To address the fundamental injustice, cruelty, brutality, and inhumanity of slavery in the United States and the 13 American colonies between 1619 and 1865 and to establish a commission to study and consider a national apology and proposal for reparations for the institution of slavery, its subsequent de jure and de facto racial and economic discrimination against African-Americans, and the impact of these forces on living African-Americans, to make recommendations to the Congress on appropriate remedies, and for other purposes.”
The bill adds, “ … as a result of the historic and continued discrimination, African-Americans continue to suffer debilitating economic, educational, and health hardships including but not limited to having nearly 1,000,000 black people incarcerated; an unemployment rate more than twice the current white unemployment rate; and an average of less than 1/16 of the wealth of white families, a disparity which has worsened, not improved over time.”
In April, Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) introduced his own reparations legislation, tweeting, “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.”
There have been various responses among Democratic presidential candidates regarding slavery reparations, as News One reported:
South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg in March: “I haven’t seen a proposal for a cash transfer that people would be able to come together around and view as fair. But I absolutely believe that we need to have some kind of accounting for the persistent racial inequities today there by design because of part and present racism.”
Former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Julian Castro supports the idea, having said, “I’ve long believed that our country will never truly heal until we address the original sin of slavery.”
Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) supports Lee’s legislation.
New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand has said that slavery reparations discussions are “long overdue” and supports establishing a commission to study the issue.
Former Congressman Beto O’Rourke supports legislation establishing a commission.
One of the strongest advocates for slavery reparations is Marianne Williamson, who stated she favored “a $200 billion – $500 billion plan of reparations for slavery, the money to be disbursed over a period of twenty years.”
Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren and Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders support Booker’s legislation.