Sen. Cory Booker (D-New Jersey) announced Monday that he will take charge on the proposal of a bill that would establish a group to study the possibility of reparations to the African descendants of slaves.
Booker is among several presidential hopefuls, including Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Massachussetts.) who have been asked about their positioning on reparations, a key 2020 policy issue, as they vie for the Democratic nomination.
According to CNN, the New Jersey Democrat said the commission would work to find solutions for the decades-long “overt policies fueled by white supremacy and racism that have oppressed African-Americans economically for generations,” and “that have ushered millions of Americans into the middle class,” while they, “systematically excluded blacks.”
The bill, H.R. 40, seeks to “examine slavery and discrimination in the colonies and the United States from 1619 to the present and recommend appropriate remedies.” It was first introduced by Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.) in 1989, and is currently sponsored in the House by Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas).
“This bill is a way of addressing head-on the persistence of racism, white supremacy and implicit racial bias in our country,” the New Jersey Senator said. “It will bring together the best minds to study the issue and propose solutions that will finally begin to right the economic scales of past harms and make sure we are a country where all dignity and humanity is affirmed.”
During a CNN town hall in Orangeburg, South Carolina, Booker told Don Lemon he was frustrated with the reparations question. He expressed that he felt the topic had been “reduced to a box to check on a presidential list” as opposed to a wider and more serious discussion.
He said not only supports race-conscious legislation but also that he is the only member of Congress with a policy help to balance racial wealth disparities in America.