A House congressional panel is holding a hearing on whether and how to provide compensation for America’s history of slavery and racial discrimination.
Watch in the video player above.
Democrats say “H.R. 40: Exploring the Path to Reparative Justice in America,” would create a commission to study the history of slavery in the United States and in the American colonies from 1619 to 1865. The commission would also make recommendations about its findings.
But newly elected Black Republican lawmaker, Rep. Burgess Owens, a former NFL player, said “it is impractical and a nonstarter for the United States government to pay reparations.”
“Forty years later, our nation has elected a Black American as president and Black female as vice president. It’s called progress,” Rep. Owens said referring to former president Barack Obama and Vice President Kamala Harris.
Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee acknowledged Owens personal success saying that he “eloquently” spoke of successful overcomers in the Black community, but said that his argument misses the point of HR 40, which she says is to address disparities.
“We’re hidden in the corners of this nation, of those of African-American heritage, the descendants of enslaved Africans who have felt the sting of disparities. They continue to feel that sting,” Rep. Jackson Lee said.