News

U.S.

Sanders Backs Committee to Study Slavery Reparations

Sen. Bernie Sanders in Washington, D.C., April 1, 2019 (Carlos Barria/ Reuters)

Senator Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.) said Friday that if he is elected president in 2020 he would sign legislation that would create a commission to explore the payment of reparations to African Americans.

Following his remarks at Al Sharpton’s National Action Network Conference, Sanders was asked whether he would support a bill, introduced by Representative Sheila Jackson Lee (D., Texas), that would form a commission to study the institution of American slavery and devise a plan to compensate living descendants of slaves.

“If the House and the Senate pass that bill, of course I would sign it. There needs to be a study. But I think what we need to do is to pay real attention to the most distressed communities in America,” Sanders said.

The bill, which was dubbed H.R. 40 in a nod to the government’s promised provision of “40 acres and a mule” to newly freed slaves after the Civil War, has already received the backing of a host of 2020 Democratic hopefuls, including Senators Cory Booker of New Jersey and Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, former representative Beto O’Rourke of Texas, and Representative Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii.

“In short, the Commission aims to study the impact of slavery and continuing discrimination against African-Americans, resulting directly and indirectly from slavery to segregation to the desegregation process and the present day,” Jackson Lee said in a statement announcing the bill’s introduction in January. “The commission would also make recommendations concerning any form of apology and compensation to begin the long delayed process of atonement for slavery.”

Sanders has proven more hesitant to embrace reparations than many of his primary opponents and recently said direct payments to the descendants of slaves would not be the best way to help “distressed communities.”

“I think what we have got to do is pay attention to distressed communities — black communities, Latino communities, and white communities. And as president, I pledge to do that,” Sanders said in interview on ABC’s The View.

Most Popular

Politics & Policy

Fox News Anchor Shepard Smith Resigns

Fox News Channel's chief anchor, Shepard Smith, announced on air Friday that he would be resigning from his post after 23 years with the network. “This is my last newscast here,” said Smith. “Recently, I asked the company to allow me to leave Fox News. After requesting that I stay, they obliged.” He ... Read More
NR Webathon

Don’t Let Michael Mann Succeed

I  enjoyed the running joke of Jarndyce v. Jarndyce in the great Dickens novel Bleak House, back when I first read it. Little did I know that one day I and the magazine that I love would effectively be caught up in a version of that interminable case, courtesy of a litigious climate scientist with zero regard ... Read More
White House

What Is Impeachment For?

W hat is impeachment for? Seems like a simple question. Constitutionally speaking, it also appears to have a simple answer: to cite and remove from power a president guilty of wrongdoing. Aye, there’s the rub. What sort of wrongdoing warrants removal from power? I’d wager that the flames of ... Read More
Elections

Beto Proposes to Oppress Church with State

Beto O’Rourke’s presidential campaign is within the margin of error of non-existence, but in his failure he has found a purpose: expressing the Democratic id. His latest bid for left-wing love came at a CNN forum on gay rights, where he said that churches that oppose same-sex marriage should have to pay ... Read More