Congresswoman Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee began her fight to pass legislation that would create a team to explore reparations options for Black Americans back in 2019 and again in the fall of 2020 with Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA). This week, the Texas representative reintroduced the legislation to Congress as the new Biden-Harris administration transitions into the White House.
Jackson’s H.R.40 bill will allow and fund a formal commission to study and develop reparation proposals for the African American Act. While the bill has received support from House Democrats, many Republicans including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) have shown strong opposition to the legislation. Jackson’s move comes at a time when the Senate narrowly obtained victory in Georgia yesterday in the Senate run-offs elections, paving the way for a Democratic majority in the Senate.
“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,” Jackson Lee said in a statement regarding the legislation, according to the Washington Informer.
“The impact of slavery and its vestiges continues to affect African Americans and indeed all Americans in communities throughout our nation,” Jackson Lee added. “This legislation is intended to examine the institution of slavery in the colonies and the United States from 1619 to the present, and further recommend appropriate remedies. Since the initial introduction of this legislation, its proponents have made substantial progress in elevating the discussion of reparations and reparatory justice at the national level and joining the mainstream international debate on the issues.”