During the White House briefing on Tuesday, Yahoo News Senior White House Correspondent Alex Nazaryan asked press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre about local efforts to pay reparations to African Americans for slavery and segregation. Jean-Pierre touted the Biden administration’s focus on racial equity across the federal government, but wouldn’t comment specifically about reparations legislation.
ALEX NAZARYAN: [? Three, ?] San Francisco just held a hearing on reparations for decades of institutional racism, and other cities and states are considering empanelling similar commissions. D.C. is one of them. Where does this administration stand on reparations for slavery and segregation and similar historic wrongs, specifically pertaining to Black Americans?
KARINE JEAN-PIERRE: So look, we understand that there’s a legislation on the Hill currently on the study of repara– reparations, pardon me, and we think Congress is the appropriate venue for consideration on such action. And so we’re going to leave it there for Congress, to decide to let them go through their process that they’re taking at this moment. But I would lay out and speak to what the President has done over the last two years.
When he came into office, he talked about the different crises that this country is dealing with, and one of them was racial equity and racial equality and fighting for that for communities like the Black community. And one of the things that he did right away, straight away in the beginning of his administration, is he signed an executive order that made sure that across the government that we had an approach that dealt with inequality, that we had– that made sure that political appointees in those agencies put that equality lens as they were moving forward with dealing with policy.
And so that’s important in really getting to the root of that issue. Clearly, that’s on the federal level, and just last month he issued a second order reaffirming the administration’s commitment to deliver on that equity. So the President has shown his commitment. He’s spoken to this issue that, in particular, this Black community– the Black community has to deal with for generations upon generations. So he is going to continue to lift that up, but as it relates to the legislation, we want to leave that in the hands of Congress.