The House Judiciary Committee voted Wednesday in favor of a bill that would establish a commission reviewing racial disparities and helping mend the lingering effects of slavery.
If approved, the bill would require allocation of $20 million to create a 13-person body that would study the adverse effects of slavery and recommend “appropriate remedies” to Congress. The commission would also determine the form of a “national apology” needed to mend the harm caused by slavery, according to Fox News.
1/3 This is a historic, monumental, and unprecedented day! For the first time in the history of the United States, the horrible negative impact of slavery will be front and center in the United States Congress during the House Judiciary Full Committee Markup of my bill, H.R. 40 pic.twitter.com/WQy4ptuXia
— Sheila Jackson Lee (@JacksonLeeTX18) April 14, 2021
“Do not cancel us tonight, do not ignore the pain, the history and the reasonableness of this commission,” Democratic Texas Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, the sponsor of the reintroduced bill, reportedly pleaded with her Republican counterparts in the House Judiciary Committee Wednesday.
Republican Utah Rep. Burgess Owens has pushed against the initiative, saying that while “slavery was and still is an evil,” the topic of reparations is divisive, according to NPR. (RELATED: Atlanta Fed President: ‘There Are Definitely Merits To’ Reparations)
“It speaks to the fact that we are a hapless, hopeless race that never did anything but wait for white people to show up and help us, and it’s a falsehood,” Owens said Wednesday.