Cory Booker reintroduces Senate bill to create Black reparations commission

Washington DC - New Jersey Senator Cory Booker announced on Tuesday that he has reintroduced a bill in the 118th Congress to create a federal reparations commission for Black Americans.

New Jersey Senator Cory Booker speaks during a Juneteenth reparations rally at Newark City Hall on June 17, 2022.
New Jersey Senator Cory Booker speaks during a Juneteenth reparations rally at Newark City Hall on June 17, 2022.  © MICHAEL M. SANTIAGO / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / GETTY IMAGES VIA AFP

Booker reintroduced S 40, the Commission to Study and Develop Reparation Proposals for African Americans Act, with 21 original co-sponsors.

The legislation is the Senate companion bill to HR 40, which Texas Representative Sheila Jackson Lee reintroduced in the House earlier this month.

"Our nation must reckon with its dark past of slavery and its continued oppression of African Americans, fueled by white supremacy and racism," Booker said in a press release.

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"Many of our bedrock domestic policies that have ushered millions of Americans into the middle class have systematically excluded Black individuals," he continued.

"I urge my colleagues to support this bill that will address the institutional racism that has suppressed African Americans' prosperity throughout our history and bring our country one step closer to our founding principles of liberty and justice for all."

The bill was reintroduced in the Senate with endorsements from more than 190 civil rights organizations around the US.

Reparations activists demand action by the end of Black History Month

Demonstrators march for reparations during a Juneteenth rally in Newark, New Jersey, on June 17, 2022.
Demonstrators march for reparations during a Juneteenth rally in Newark, New Jersey, on June 17, 2022.  © MICHAEL M. SANTIAGO / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / GETTY IMAGES VIA AFP

The reintroduction of S 40 comes as reparations activists have amped up calls for action ahead of Black History Month.

A group of more than 200 organizations last week sent a letter to the Congressional Black Caucus urging members to prioritize HR 40's passage within the first 100 days of the new session.

The letter also demanded lawmakers call on President Joe Biden to use his executive authority to enact a federal reparations commission.

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Though S 40 is unlikely to get the votes needed to pass in the evenly divided Senate, securing more support for the measure in that chamber could be used as leverage when pushing for an executive order.

Booker previously led a group of US senators in demanding executive action on reparations in June 2022. Though Biden expressed support for a reparations study commission in his 2020 campaign plan, he has yet to follow through for Black Americans.

Cover photo: MICHAEL M. SANTIAGO / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / GETTY IMAGES VIA AFP

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