Reparations to black Americans for slavery gain new attention

In Washington, House leaders say they expect to pass this year for the first time a three-decade-old proposal creating a federal commission to craft an official government apology and remedy plan. Former Vice President Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, has endorsed the bill, the first major party leader to do so since Congress initially took it up in 1989.

The legislation faces opposition from Republicans who control the Senate. President Trump last year told a reporter “I don’t see it happening.” So the measure is unlikely to become law this year. A Democratic sweep in November elections, however, could pave the way for enactment.

A formal commission would only study the issue. Adopting a concrete national compensation plan faces long odds, with polls showing white voters still strongly opposed. Supporters remain divided over whom to compensate, how to do it and what is being compensated for.