*Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas), a senior member of the House Committees on Judiciary, Budget, and Homeland Security, will kick off the 117th Congress this week by reigniting legislation she’s been trying to get passed for years.
On Monday, January 4, 2021, Jackson Lee re-introduced H.R. 40, a bill that would fund a committee to explore whether Black Americans should receive reparations for slavery.
While it does not directly introduce payments, the Commission would study racial inequities and policy solutions. She stated, “In short, the Commission aims to study the impact of slavery and continuing discrimination against African-Americans, resulting directly and indirectly from slavery to segregation to the desegregation process and the present day.”
“The commission would also make recommendations concerning any form of apology and compensation to begin the long-delayed process of atonement for slavery,” Jackson Lee added.
The bill has had increased support with 147 co-sponsors in the House, all Democrats.
Because Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) and Republicans in the Senate have indicated strong opposition to taking the measure up in that Chamber, the Georgia runoff elections count as a huge step toward getting the bill passed. Democrats gained two Senate seats with Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock winning against their Republican opponents.
Below, Jackson-Lee spoke about her Reparations Bill in November during Zerlina’s “The 91 Percent: A conversation on the political power — and future — of Black women” special.