House will vote on bill to study reparations for descendants of slaves, CBC chair predicts

Rep. Bass says reparations study bill would get a vote before end of this session and isn't sure if it will be included in comprehensive police brutality legislation

Updated: July 1, 2020 - 2:57pm

Rep. Karen Bass (D-Calif.), chairwoman of the Congressional Black Caucus, predicted Wednesday that the Democratic-led House will vote on legislation to study reparations for descendants of slaves before the current session of Congress is over.

"I think that it will be voted on out of committee and on the floor before this session is over," Bass said during a conference call with other lawmakers about the protests in response to the death of George Floyd after his arrest by Minneapolis police.

"I've not had a specific conversation with Speaker Pelosi, but I've certainly talked to other members of leadership and being on Judiciary [Committee] where that bill is, I believe that it will move," she also said.

Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas) has introduced the Commission to Study and Develop Reparation Proposals for African-Americans Act, which would establish a committee to "examine slavery and discrimination in the colonies and the United States from 1619 to the present and recommend appropriate remedies."

The bill currently has 127 Democratic co-sponsors including Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, New York; Ilhan Omar, Minnesota, and House Judiciary Committee Chairman Rep. Jerry Nadler, New York.

Bass said she is not sure, at this time, whether the reparations bill will be included in the final comprehensive legislation that Democratic leaders are working on related to the issue of police brutality. 

"I know the broad strokes and we are looking at that but I do believe that it [reparations bill] will be voted on out of committee and hopefully out of the House before the session concludes," she said.

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