In an attempt to correct the underinvestment that has been happening for decades to minorities, the Senate Democrats have announced that a fund of $350 billion would be provided for reparation measures. This money would be used to correct the continuous racism and underinvestment that the minorities have been experiencing for a long time, according to the Senate Democrats.
Just a couple of days ago, the Democrats announced the Economic Justice Act, through which they proposed this reparation measure. They also announced how the fund would be divided to be utilized in a series of measures for the overall upliftment of the minorities.
While speaking to the media, Chuck Schumer, the leader of the Senate Democrats, stated that there had been quite a lot of disparities in the healthcare, education, and overall economic development of the minorities even before the onset of the pandemic and the recent protests in the USA over the killing of George Floyd.
However, Schumer insisted that the COVID-19 pandemic has only highlighted the injustice in the system for the minorities, which is why his team has proposed the reparation measure to correct the underinvestment, and to make the lives of the minorities better than before. According to Schumer, the journey to brighten the lives of the minorities will be quite long, and the Economic Justice Act was only the first step in the process.
Out of the proposed fund of $350 billion, the Senate Democrats agreed that $135 billion would be invested in helping the minorities with their education, employment, child care, primary care, and mental healthcare. The remaining $215 billion would be invested to take care of the long term needs of the minorities such as infrastructure development, assistance for tax credit for homeowner down payment, Medicaid expenses, and much more.
Apart from these, the Committee also listed out ten important initiatives that the reparation fund would take care of to reverse the injustice that has been done to the minorities for so long. These included providing $15,000 per family to help them get access to their own homes, and reducing the rent and other utility expenses by 30% for minority families with low annual income. The Committee also aims to construct low-income rental properties for the minorities, with the help of this fund.
However, the Committee also agreed that most of the minorities have very low income and have been living in abject poverty. For these people of color to get hiring opportunities in projects backed by federally-funded investments was a huge challenge. It required more federal funds and economic development than the Committee was currently planning for, admitted Schumer.
The Senate Democrats are quite sure that their proposal was a commitment to the minorities to get them the investments they deserve in critical sectors such as child care, infrastructure, public health, and job opportunities. In the next five years, this Committee aims to make the lives of minorities better with the help of 10 well-thought-out initiatives — the cost of which would be covered by the fund.
Yes, it was going to cost a whopping $350 billion to honor their commitments; however, the Senate Democrats were confident that it wouldn’t impact the economy much. This was because they could deploy the remaining $200 billion of the $2.2 trillion CARES Act Fund for the upliftment of the minorities. This act and the initiatives had the backing of fifteen senators from different states.
While the minorities have welcomed this proposal, not many have expressed the same sentiment. The Executive Director at Heritage Action for America, Jessica Anderson, believes that the Congress should focus on helping Americans get back to schools and offices safely, instead of bringing about measures that could trigger racial tensions and add to the already increasing debt of the country.
Despite some criticism for the proposal, many authorities at the local level have welcomed the Economic Justice Act. For example, in the Asheville City Council of North Carolina, a Community Reparations Commission has been established, encouraged by the proposal created by the Senate Democrats. This commission will ensure that the community’s funds would take care of the growth and development of the local minorities, in the hopes that it would reverse the damage that they were dealt due to systematic racism done by both private and public organizations.