Today, U.S. Senator Cory Booker (D-N.J.), a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, introduced S.40, the Commission to Study and Develop Reparation Proposals for African-Americans Act, legislation that would establish a commission to consider proposals for reparations for African-American descendants of slavery. The legislation is the Senate companion to H.R. 40, introduced by Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX-18).
The Commission will study the impact of slavery and the continuing discrimination against African-Americans and will make recommendations on reparation proposals for the descendants of slaves.
“Our nation must reckon with its dark past of slavery and its continued oppression of African-Americans, fueled by white supremacy and racism,” said Senator Booker. “Many of our bedrock domestic policies that have ushered millions of Americans into the middle class have systematically excluded Black individuals. I urge my colleagues to support this bill that will address the institutional racism that has suppressed African-Americans prosperity throughout our history and bring our country one step closer to our founding principles of liberty and justice for all.”
“I am pleased to thank Senator Cory Booker for introducing the Senate version of the Commission to Study Slavery and Develop Reparations Proposals Act. His introduction of this bill in the Senate is pivotal to the success of this legislation in the 118th Congress. I’m further pleased that Senator Booker, with his storied history of civil rights leadership, sees the value of legislation that takes a historical look at slavery and then works collectively to assess the repair for that era in American history. I believe that the Commission to Study Slavery and Develop Reparation Proposals Act is a crucial piece of legislation that will complement the House version, HR 40. This legislation, both the House and Senate version, goes beyond exploring the economic implications of slavery and segregation but is a holistic approach to reconciling that period of American history. This bill will allow for a moral and social overview of the implications of slavery and the status of African Americans today. I look forward to working with Senator Booker in a bipartisan manner to get this bill through the House and Senate and on to the President’s desk. America will truly be the beneficiary!” said Representative Jackson Lee.
The legislation is cosponsored by Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL), Ed Markey (D-MA), Bob Casey (D-PA), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Alex Padilla (D-CA), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Tina Smith (D-MN), Chris Coons (D-DE), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), and Patty Murray (D-WA).
189 organizations working to advance civil rights in America have endorsed the legislation. A list of those organizations can be found here.
The full text of the legislation can be found here.
The House companion bill can be found here.