Missouri Democratic Representative Cori Bush has proposed a new law that seeks to provide $14 trillion in reparations to Black Americans. The aim is for the federal government to acknowledge and make amends for the historical enslavement of Africans and the long-lasting effects of racist policies that followed.
The Reparations Now Resolution seeks to advance federal reparations, support existing reparatory justice efforts such as H.R. 40 and H. Con. Res. 44, and provide further momentum to reparations efforts at the state and local levels.
“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,” Bush said at a news conference on Wednesday.
This resolution is part of ongoing efforts by Democrats in Congress to compensate Black Americans for the racial inequalities that have persisted for centuries. Similar discussions about reparations have been raised in every legislative session since 1989.
Bush highlighted the enduring impact of slavery, such as its connection to the Jim Crow era and its influence on current issues. She specifically mentioned the racial wealth gap, voter suppression, high infant mortality rates, and other negative health outcomes faced by Black people as evidence of the ongoing consequences of slavery.
“It’s unjust and it wouldn’t happen in a just and fair and equitable society,” she said. “Those are not the natural consequences of human society.” “They are directly caused by our federal government’s role in the enslavement and exploitation of Africans and Black people throughout our history.”
Although discussions about reparations have gained more attention in recent years, with several cities and the state of California considering reparation programs, the idea remains widely unpopular among Americans. The majority of white adults, as well as a significant number of Latinos and Asian Americans, oppose reparations.
In contrast, there is strong support for reparations among Black Americans, with a majority favoring the proposal. Additionally, younger people are more likely than older generations to support direct monetary payments to the descendants of enslaved individuals.
However, the opposition to reparations is significant within the Republican party, with over 90 percent expressing their opposition. Among Democrats, opinions are more evenly divided, with about half in favor of compensating the descendants of enslaved people and the other half against it.