Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes ofwebsite accessibilityLawmakers push for $14 trillion in reparations | WRSP
Close Alert

Lawmakers push for $14 trillion in reparations

FILE - A crowd listens to speakers at a reparations rally outside of City Hall in San Francisco on March 14, 2023. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu, File)
FILE - A crowd listens to speakers at a reparations rally outside of City Hall in San Francisco on March 14, 2023. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu, File)
Facebook Share IconTwitter Share IconEmail Share Icon
Comment bubble

There’s a renewed and controversial effort in Washington right now to provide reparations for Black Americans and it would come with a hefty price tag.

The authors of a new bill say it should give at least $14 trillion to the descendants of slaves.

Can the country afford it?

Talked about for decades but now getting new life a bill to give federal reparations for Black Americans to help compensate for an oppressive past with a more liberating tomorrow.

“A future of healing. A future of repair. A future of accountability," Rep. Cori Bush, D-Mo., said while announcing the bill, which was accompanied by shouts of "yes" from other lawmaker and advocates in attendance.

“We’re not here to request that future we’re here to demand it. We need that future now. Reparations now! Reparations now!” she followed up.

The bill calls for at least $14 trillion for Black Americans to help close the racial wealth gap with white citizens and make transformative changes in housing, healthcare and education.

“We’ve got to make this country live up to its creed of liberty and justice for all. For all!” Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Calif., said.

How to pay for it all was unclear when the supporters faced reporter questions, but they suggested America already pays for "forever wars," sending huge sums of money overseas. The proposed $14 trillion is equal to almost half of America’s entire national debt.

"If Washington wants to spend more, it will have to come together and find savings elsewhere, just like every single household in America,” House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., said when the budget battle and debt ceiling fight converged in April.

The most heated debate in Washington currently is over how to avoid default as the country struggles to pay its bills.

President Joe Biden recently urged confidence, saying, "We're going to come together because there is no alternative than to do the right thing for the country."

Meanwhile, a reparations task force in California has recommended possibly billions of dollars in payments for a state already facing a $32 billion budget shortfall.

Other states, from New York to Illinois to Rhode Island are considering similar paths. Some Black scholars say affirmative action, scholarship programs and expanded welfare benefits already served as a form of reparations.

“Those were great attempts. The Great Society, although it was focused nominally on poverty but in terms of how it was concentrated on Black communities, all of that was reparations for what had happened before. Some of those things work like affirmative action some of them didn't like the community reinvestment act but that was reparations," said John McWhorter of Columbia University.

Comment bubble

It’s uncertain what kind of chances this bill would have or if it would have any real White House support, though many Republicans are already lining up against it. Even in California, Gov. Gavin Newsom has yet to publicly support the idea of payments there.

Loading ...