White House senior advisor Cedric Richmond told Axios that President Joe Biden is prepared to act without Congress and begin working on proposals for direct payments to African Americans, referred to as reparations.
Legislation regarding reparations was first introduced in 1989 by Representative John Conyers, and has since been repeatedly introduced by Representative Sheila Jackson Lee.
Last month, White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters that Biden planned on creating a commission to study the proposal for reparations. However, Richmond said on Sunday, “We don’t want to wait on a study. We’re going to start acting now.”
“If you start talking about free college tuition to [historically black colleges and universities] and you start talking about free community college in Title I and all of those things, I think that you are well on your way.”
The idea of reparations and deciding who would be eligible for such payments has been a problematic and controversial topic because family trees have become extensive and diverse since the abolition of slavery 150 years ago.
House Majority Whip Jim Clayburn said in 2019 that these obstacles would make “pure reparations” nearly “impossible to implement.”