Rep. Cori Bush (D-MO), a member of the far-left “Squad” in Congress, introduced legislation on Wednesday that would provide a federal reparations program for black Americans.
The draft of the resolution claims the United States “has a moral and legal obligation to provide reparations for the enslavement of Africans and its lasting harm on the lives of millions of Black people” in the country. The resolution further calls for $14 trillion to be distributed to American blacks in an effort to close the racial wealth gap.
“The only way we get closer to [reparations] is if we start putting forward those bills that speak to it and are very clear about what reparations could look like,” Bush said in an interview.
Reparations packages have been introduced in Congress since Rep. John Conyers Jr. (D-MI) in 1989 and later by Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX), neither of which passed. Bush’s resolution would likely face the same fate, per the Washington Post:
The political path forward for Bush’s resolution also remains murky. During the 2020 Democratic primary election, The Post asked candidates if they thought the federal government should pay reparations to the descendants of enslaved people. Nearly all of the leading contenders, including Joe Biden, said that they supported a comprehensive study of the issue.
While public opinion polls have shown that the number of Americans who support reparations for Black Americans has grown significantly over the last 20 years, the idea remains broadly unpopular.
A 2021 Post poll found just 28 percent of Americans supported reparations, while 65 percent opposed paying cash reparations to the descendants of enslaved Black people. While 46 percent of Democrats favored the idea, 92 percent of Republicans opposed it. Two-thirds of Black respondents supported the idea, but only 18 percent of White respondents did.
Reparations advocate Dreisen Heath said the window of opportunity passed for such radical legislation in 2020 during the George Floyd murder crisis.