Steny Hoyer prods Joe Biden on reparations for Blacks


House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer on Thursday urged President Biden to create a commission to study paying reparations to Black Americans, which would keep the issue alive because a House bill to do it is likely doomed in the Senate.

The House Judiciary Committee passed a Democratic bill to create the commission to explore reparations to Black Americans for slavery.

“The chances of this bill in the Senate are pretty dim,” Mr. Hoyer told reporters. “The president ought to have a commission do that. He can do it on his own.”

“I’m going to urge him to do it,” said the Maryland Democrat.

Republicans oppose sending tax dollars to some based on their race. They argue the idea would exacerbate racial tensions in the U.S.

Paying cash reparations garnered support from just 29% of Americans in an Associated Press/NORC Center for Public Affairs Research poll taken in the fall of 2019. Black Americans overwhelmingly favored reparations with 74% supporting the idea, compared to 15% of White Americans.

Mr. Biden supports the idea of a commission, said a White House aide.

However, the aide also said the administration doesn’t need a study to act on racial justice, pointing to the president’s executive order directing agencies to address systemic racism.

The bill’s author, Democratic Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee of Texas, did not immediately respond to Mr. Hoyer’s remarks.

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