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Biden Would Support a Study of Reparations, Press Sec Says, Dodging Question of If He'd Vote for Bill

Newsweek logo Newsweek 2/17/2021 Meghan Roos
Jen Psaki et al. looking at the camera: President Joe Biden supports a study of reparations, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki told reporters Wednesday. In the photo above, Psaki speaks during the daily press briefing at the White House on February 17, 2021 in Washington, D.C. © Drew Angerer/Getty President Joe Biden supports a study of reparations, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki told reporters Wednesday. In the photo above, Psaki speaks during the daily press briefing at the White House on February 17, 2021 in Washington, D.C.

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said Wednesday that President Joe Biden supports a study of reparations, but did not say whether Biden supports outright a reparations bill that members of Congress are debating this week.

A reporter asked Psaki about H.R. 40 specifically, a bill that Representative Sheila Jackson Lee of Texas reintroduced in the House earlier this year. The bill proposes creating "a commission to study and consider a national apology and proposal for reparations for the institution of slavery," as well as for the ongoing impact the nation's history with slavery and discrimination has on Black Americans.

Biden "certainly would support a study of reparations," Psaki said in response to the reporter's question. "We understand that we don't need a study to take action right now on systemic racism. So he wants to take actions within his own government in the meantime."

Jackson Lee called on the president to support the bill and sign it into law in a Wednesday afternoon tweet.

"We want to isolate white supremacy. White racism, domestic terrorism, we want to look at each other as our fellow bros/sisters, and as have been said to the ages, our fellow Americans, I want H.R. 40 to be in the minds and hearts about fellow Americans, pass it and signed," the congresswoman tweeted.

Newsweek reached out to Jackson Lee's office for further comment and will update this article with any response.

This is a developing story and will be updated as more information becomes available.

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