Sen. Cory Booker is introducing a Senate bill to study reparations for African Americans — a companion bill to Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee’s legislation on an issue that has become a litmus test for 2020 presidential hopefuls.
"I will be introducing a bill to study reparations proposals for African-Americans – the Senate companion to @JacksonLeeTX18’s HR40 bill," Booker tweeted on Monday. "Our hope is this will finally begin to right the economic wrongs of persistent racism, white supremacy & implicit racial bias in our nation."
The bill, H.R. 40, by Lee (D-Texas) would create a congressional panel to study the possibility of reparations for the descendants of slaves. Former Rep. John Conyers of Michigan first introduced the legislation in 1989.
Booker hinted at the legislation last month during a CNN town hall, where he criticized the dialogue around reparations, saying it’s "reduced to a box to check on a presidential list, when this is so much more of a serious conversation."
"Do I support legislation that is race-conscious about balancing the economic scales? Not only do I support it, but I have legislation that actually does it," Booker said.
A number of 2020 Democratic hopefuls have voiced their support for reparations, including Booker.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren and former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro previously said on the campaign trail that they support reparations.
In addition, Rev. Al Sharpton specifically asked presidential candidates at his National Action Network conference in New York last week whether they would support H.R. 40.
South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg, former Maryland Rep. John Delaney, New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar, former Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke, Ohio Rep. Tim Ryan, former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders all said they would support the bill.
Sen. Kamala Harris also supports the bill, expressing she would sign it during a radio interview prior to Sharpton’s event and during her speech at the NAN.
Prior to the event, O’Rourke and Sanders had been less enthusiastic about the idea of reparations.
While speaking in Iowa last month, O’Rourke said he wasn’t in support of traditional reparations for African Americans.
Sanders during an interview with the radio show "The Breakfast Club," said he doesn’t believe in the idea of "writing a check" to every African American, adding that the U.S. would have to do the same for Native Americans.
Article originally published on POLITICO Magazine