Congress is taking another look at reparations after months of racial unrest across the nation.
Following the Civil War, families that had been enslaved were promised 40 acres and a mule. The offer was never fulfilled, but remains in Congress as H.R. 40, or the "Commission to Study and Develop Reparation Proposals for African Americans Act."
The bill and the idea of reparations are receiving a new recognition in Washington during a House Judiciary subcommittee hearing on Wednesday.
H.R. 40 is meant to establish a commission to study "and consider a national apology and proposal for reparations for the institution of slavery, its subsequent de jure and de facto racial and economic discrimination against African Americans, and the impact of these forces on living African Americans, to make recommendations to the Congress on appropriate remedies, and for other purposes," according to the text of the bill.
The global impact of reparations will also be a focal point of the hearing as one speaker will discuss reparations for Japanese Americans. H.R. 40 will have to pass through the House Judiciary Committee, and if it does, then the House can start the debate on the bill.
Some critics of the bill believe that the effort for reparations should wait since the COVID-19 relief package is still under debate.
Member of the House Budget Committee Sheila Jackson Lee said she will push for the $1.9 trillion relief bill and for $15 an hour minimum wage, while also fighting for H.R. 40.
"I think that in 2021. We want to isolate white supremacy. White racism, domestic terrorism, we want to look at each other as our fellow brothers and sisters, and as have been said to the ages, our fellow Americans, I want H.R. 40 to be in the minds and hearts about fellow Americans, pass it and quickly get it signed by the President of the United States," Lee said.