Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said Tuesday he will support the bill to study reparations for slavery and discrimination, BuzzFeed News reports.
"I will support the legislation by Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., and Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Texas, to establish a commission to study the issue of reparations for slavery and discrimination," Schumer announced to a room of reporters.
The legislation, which would create a commission to study reparations and make proposals, had its first hearing in the House last month, and has the support of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and multiple Democratic candidates for president.
"I've always believed racism is the poison of America," Schumer added, admitting he was referencing French historian Alexis de Tocqueville. "Racism is the poison of America and the disparities in race affect everything."
"I don't think people understand that slavery is not far away," the senator continued. "I think that's the biggest problem. People say, 'Oh, it happened way back then — what do we have to pay attention now?' The legacy of slavery and Jim Crow — which is a type of semi-quasi slavery — is still with us and so we need to do a lot more."
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., told reporters last month, one day before a congressional hearing on reparations, he did not think they were "a good idea," and said the country has elected an African-American president.
"The legacy of slavery and Jim Crow is still with us," Schumer said Tuesday. "What McConnell said was just preposterous and that's why I'm supporting this legislation."
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