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Cory Booker introduced a Senate bill to research reparations



Sen. Cory Booker on Tuesday introduced a bill in the Senate to research reparations for descendants of slaves, stepping forward and taking the lead on an issue that’s enveloped the 2020 Democratic field.

“Since slavery in this country, we have had overt policies fueled by white supremacy and racism that have oppressed African-Americans economically for generations,” Booker said in a statement. “This bill is a way of addressing head-on the persistence of racism, white supremacy, and implicit racial bias in our country.”

The New Jersey senator added that the bill aims to bring together the “best minds” to research the issue in order to “to right the economic scales of past harms and make sure we are a country where all dignity and humanity is affirmed.”

Read more: Cory Booker may have just given his most powerful 2020 speech yet after a sleepy start to his campaign

The bill mirrors legislation already introduced by Democratic Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee in the House.

As the 2020 presidential campaign season has picked up steam, the issue of reparations has emerged as a central topic of discussion and litmus test of sorts for candidates.

A recent INSIDER poll founds a majority of liberals support reparations for descendants of slaves, highlighting why a lane has opened for this conversation.

Booker is the only direct descendant of slaves running in a broad field of Democratic candidates in 2020. He’s made criminal justice reform and racial justice the primary causes of his political career, and the reparations bill falls in line with that trend.

Read more: Bernie Sanders said he’d sign a bill to research reparations for descendants of slaves if elected president

In an interview with The Root earlier this week, Booker said he supports reparations as well as “economically designed programs with race as a conscious part of them that balance the scales and address pass ails — not just slavery, but even things that were going on into the 50s, 60s, and 70s, that were specifically race-conscious programs that were designed to disadvantage African-Americans.”

Booker went on to cite his “baby bonds” program, which would grant every native-born child in the US a set amount of money per year, which he’s contended is a “form of reparations.”

Other 2020 candidates have expressed support for reparations in some form or another, and a number have said they’d sign a bill to form a commission to study the issue if elected president.

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