Democratic lawmakers announced a resolution Wednesday asking the federal government to pay potentially trillions of dollars in reparations to descendants of slaves and people of African descent, but not all members of Congress are on board.
“I think that is just the woke ideology peeking and rearing its ugly head,” Rep. Kat Cammack, a Republican, said of the push for federal reparations. “In this country, you can do anything, be anything, and this culture of victimhood, it has absolutely gotten out of control.”
CALIFORNIA REPARATIONS PANEL APPROVES PAYMENTS OF UP TO $1.2 MILLION TO EVERY BLACK RESIDENT
The resolution, which Rep. Cori Bush said she would introduce Wednesday, calls for $14 trillion to close the “Black and white wealth gap” that she argues stems from racist governmental policies.
“Black people in our country cannot wait any longer for our government to begin addressing each and every one of the extraordinary bits of harm — all of the harm — it has caused since the founding, that it continues to perpetuate each and every day all across our communities all across this country,” Bush said at a press conference Wednesday alongside fellow Democratic Reps. Barbara Lee, Jamaal Bowman and Rashida Tlaib.
But Bush wouldn’t say where funding for reparations would come from.
“We’re still having those kinds of conversations,” the Missouri congresswoman told Fox News after the press conference.
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Republican Rep. Chip Roy of Texas said “the notion of reparations are so absurd, they don’t even merit a response.” Rep. Gary Palmer worried about the financial impacts.
“We’re at a situation right now where the country is dealing with a serious debt issue and to add to that would be problematic for the whole country, for our economy,” the Alabama Republican said. “It just doesn’t make sense.”
Opinion polling suggests reparations are unpopular with Americans. Only three in 10 U.S. adults said descendants of slaves should be repaid, according to a 2021 Pew Research Center survey. However, 77% of Black Americans supported reparations in the same survey.
“The federal government backed slavery, right?” Bowman, who represents New York’s 16th district, said. “So the federal government needs to hold itself accountable for that. And then policies that have continued throughout American history have continued to inflict harm on Black Americans.”
Bowman praised California for being “the real leader” in the reparations debate after the state’s Reparations Task Force recommended cash payments, which could reach as high as $1.2 million per recipient.
“Even their own governor — Governor Newsom — has said that he doesn’t support this because he recognizes that it will break the bank,” Cammack said, adding that slavery was never legal in California.
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