Are Reparations Part of the American Rescue Plan? Cities Say Yes and Plan to Use Federal Funds to Support Reparations Efforts

There is an interesting fight brewing in Congress after various cities indicated that they may not only pay reparations but use federal pandemic funds for such payments. There has been a long call for federal reparations with various Democratic bills introduced in Congress. BET founder Robert Johnson has called for $14 trillion in federal reparations. However, cities like Providence, Rhode Island are not waiting. They insist that federal reparations funds are already effectively approved as part of their pandemic relief.

We have been discussing how California’s Reparations Task Force has presented a bill for $569 billion for reparations while cities like San Francisco have a reparation board demanding $5 million per eligible black resident.

Other cities are saying that the federal government can foot the bill. They are relying on massive payments of federal money under the American Rescue Plan (ARP). They insist that Congress put so few conditions on the money that they can use it for reparations.

The $1.9 billion dollars in the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 was passed on a loose mandate to encourage economic stimulus and deal with the economic and health effects of the pandemic and ongoing recession. Advocates are arguing that the pandemic exacerbated the lingering effects of slavery for the Black community. Every Republican (and one Democrat, Jared Golden of Maine) voted against the Act.

FOX Business reported that Providence, Rhode Island has already dedicated $10 million in pandemic relief toward creating the Providence Municipal Reparations Commission to address “racial equity.” Likewise, officials in Shelby County, Tennessee (where Memphis is located) voted to spend $5 million to study the possibility of a long-term reparations program. The county said it may use pandemic funds for the effort.

Other cities are moving forward with reparation task forces, including most recently Boston. As in cities like San Francisco, the Boston reparations will cover not just slavery but more “recent” housing and economic inequities. Mayor Michelle Wu declared “For four hundred years, the brutal practice of enslavement and recent policies like redlining, the busing crisis, and exclusion from City contracting have denied Black Americans pathways to build generational wealth, secure stable housing, and live freely.”

Likewise, this week, Washtenaw County in Ann Arbor, Michigan approved its own commission based on reparations approved by cities like Evanston, Illinois. It was described as “An evolution of an exploratory committee led by the Racial Equity Office, the Advisory Council on Reparations will be a perpetual body of Commissioner appointed subject matter experts representing relevant sectors.”

Sen. Cory Booker (D., N.J.) introduced a new federal reparations bill that would create a new federal commission similar to those of states like California. It is supported by Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL), Ed Markey (D-MA), Bob Casey (D-PA), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Alex Padilla (D-CA), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Tina Smith (D-MN), Chris Coons (D-DE), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), and Patty Murray (D-WA).

Some 190 organizations now support federal reparations including the ACLU and Amnesty International.


210 thoughts on “Are Reparations Part of the American Rescue Plan? Cities Say Yes and Plan to Use Federal Funds to Support Reparations Efforts”

  1. Jonathan – I can’t tell you just how much I enjoy your writing, and not only the legal aspects of things, but from an intellectual viewpoint as well. Intelligence, knowing the law, and common sense. What a combination. I wish I could participate in one of your classes. Thank you.

  2. Reparations for the descendants of slaves might be just if paid by the descendants of slave owners. Provided it is recognized that because such respective descendants do not all start from the same place that adjustments to imbalances must be made.
    To get the most bang for a buck do not stop at targeting only descendants of slave owners. There are descendants of African slave captors who engaged in selling other Africans into slavery at West Africa coastal ports to be mined as well.

    1. Cubans, Haitians, Nicaraguans, Venezuelans, Central & South Americans, and Others [Today”s Immigrants]

      They are coming to America illegally through Our Boarders. Modern “Slave Captors” known as ‘Coyotes’ are selling People into U.S. Servitude by running these Slave Trade routes (The Southern U.S. Boarder for example).

      My point is that almost all are ‘Willing-Participants’ in this Migration, and as such in the time of the African Slave trade, many if not most African Immigrants were Willing-Participants.

      Select images of Slave Boats, Shackled and Manacled (Human Sardines), and Capture by Nets rounding up ‘Unwilling Participants” is a syllogism to project Injustice (Advocacy). That’s not to say there wasn’t any Injustice, but is it to say that most were Willing-Participants, working the Maritime Boats of Trade and choose to come to America.

      the Promise of; Abundance, Freedom, Jobs, and Economic Prosperity are the same Today as they were then. And as it was for the; Irish, German, Italians … later on. Conversely, the East-Indians known as Coolies (Kuli) were also some of the ‘Slaves’ sold to Black Africans and through out the World. But here again, it was the ‘willingness’ of the Participant that propelled the majority of Migration.

      For the Immigrant(s), Its out of the Frying Pan, and into another.
      The more things change, the more they stay the same. History repeats itself.

      1. A society of laws.

        The Naturalization Act of 1802 was in full force and effect on January 1, 1863.

        You are so right; African tribal leaders abducted and sold Africans commencing the “slave trade” through Arab slave traders.

        Let’s talk “necessary and proper” reparations.

    2. Reparations aren’t remotely ‘just.’ Taxpayers have already spent trillions over the decades to help these people, all for naught. Food, education, job training, housing, medical expenses, community programs, child care, sports – you name it, we’ve paid for it. This doesn’t even include the losses the taxpayers have incurred due to the crime and destruction. Police forces could easily be halved but for all the crime; social services wouldn’t need as much funding, and hospitals would not bear such a burden. Not to mention that they will never, ever stop demanding more, more, more. Several hundred years of slavery for a relatively tiny population is nothing compared to worldwide slavery, child labor, genocides and so on.

      The taxpayer should be paid back for all the wasted $$$$$ over decades.

      It’s absurd to even contemplate ‘reparations.’

  3. I wish I could contact Turley. The whole talk about reparations ignore the Quakers, abolitionists, and Republicans in the 19th century. If anyone who should pay reparations, it is Democrats.

  4. Reparations is just a guise for a much bigger goal. What’s really driving these outrageous policies is racial resentment and burning desire for revenge. Quite a few far left black leaders fantasize about making whites slaves for 400 years. The only equity they are looking for is looting the equity in your home and other assets. To be redistributed to “marginalized groups” regardless of their income. Remember what happened to the kulaks? And whether it was USSR, Communist China, Khmer Rouge, you and your family were branded permanently as traitors to the proletariat and were second class citizens. That is, if you survived the murders and gulags. Now, they’re not yet openly advocating for murder but the current rhetoric is leading up to that. Remember what happened during Covid, the unvaxxed were vilified and many were advocating for their quarantine, that they shouldn’t get treatment, and wishing them to die. These vicious urges fully reside in the left and they will have no qualms fully using it if they can get away with it. Already, racial resentment whipped up by the Democrats has resulted in an increase of black on white violent crimes. Just look at the FBI stats.

    The dysfunction in a substantial part of the black community that prevents them from getting ahead will not be solved by giving them reparations. They will run out of the money and have their hands out for more. A better way, of course, is to change the culture to one that values education, personal responsibility, a work ethic, and marriage. Unfortunately, these are considered “white” values. One cannot have a sustainable successful country when only 8% of black 12th graders are proficient in math compared to 50% of asians. These are data from the NAEP. The “equity” the left is pushing will only promote fully unqualified people into key roles and important institutions and infrastructure will become 3rd world. We’re already seeing this part with the water supply issues in Jackson, MS. Corruption, mismanagement by incompetents. An Amazon cargo plane crashed (Atlas air flight 3591) due to “equity”. A black pilot who repeatedly failed his training was still allowed to pilot a plane. He took 2 others with him. This is the future we’re looking at.

  5. “Reparations” is another money-laundering scam. This money will have the same fate as the money Biden is sending to Ukraine — no conditions, no accountability and no monitoring. In five years, the same black leaders will be demanding more, just like the little Nazi beggar in Ukraine. Liberals are using ideology to push their social scams — there is absolutely no scientific data that says throwing money at minorities will bring long-term benefits. That money will pass through them and go right into the pockets of the corporations. Another wealth transfer from American workers to corporate America.


      “the little Nazi beggar in Ukraine” is a reference to President Zelensky, who is actually Jewish. But most of the readers here are idiots so this stupidity hardly matters..

  6. In college, when I read about how the Maoists and Khmer Rouge executed some intellectuals and academics and forced others into slave labor camps, I did not understand it. It made no sense. I chalked it up as uneducated peasant revolts harboring idealistic fantasies about communist Utopias. Madness.

    40 years out of college, it’s our academics and intellectuals with fantasies about Utopianism – not the peasants.

    It’s no longer incomprehensible to me that a society’s intellectual class can come to be thoroughly despised by those they lord over.

  7. I seem to recall when Trump handed out the ‘Stimulus Checks’, most People received them directly from the Treasury and if not they received the amount when they files their taxes as a Tax Deduction.

    As the Stimulus Check Cash hit the streets, the mayhem rose up. Disrupting Public Assemblies (Rallies) became Riots that led to Looting(s) [the image of Footlocker(s) being looted comes to mind]. Maybe it was the effect of Drug son the Streets fueled by the Stimulus Cash(?) But there it was some ‘Cause and Effect’ in that time period, whereas it made me question, Why when after receiving ‘Stimulus Money’ would there be an upsurge in this behavior. One would think that there would have been a drop in crime during this period.

    I don’t think reparation is a good idea, because They will just want more. Give it to Me for Free.
    It only serves a single-period of persons Living at this time. 20 years or sooner from now, They are going to say Hey! We want Reparations – Give it to Me for Free.

    There will be no end to it.

  8. Well, I know my genetic history states that my ancestors were, at one time, slaves held by the Romans so I am demanding $1,000,000 from Italy as reparations. Does everyone see how silly that sounds? In fact, most humans could trace their ancestry back to some sort of slavery but, unfortunately, we do not have a prog/left ideology that is making “hay” from that situation so I am not waiting for a check any time soon. This nonsense within our blue cities, though, is beginning to remind me of the Gordon Riots of 1780 in Britain only on a much larger and malevolent scale. Gordon died, ostracized, in Newgate prison. We still have Guantanamo open, don’t we?

    1. This is the most profound and truest statement I have ever read, although white “conservative” women in many cases are just as bad. They are so easily taken in by con artists, like those pushing for reparations for bringing black Africans, captured by other black Africans, to America to work in the fields rather than their captors slaughtering them as they had been doing. Instead of hollering for “reparations”, black Americans should do like the late Cassius Clay who said after spending time in the Congo, “I’m glad my great-grandaddy got on that boat.”

    2. Don’t compliment them by calling the liberals- I was a young liberal in the 70’s until I grew a brain. These are leftist, totalitarian fascists. And the leftie men are just as much to blame. I have 2 leftie siblings , one man, one woman. The brother is a hater, the sister is a Dalai Llama type who is on one of those “paths to good intentions” Both just as dangerous.

  9. “Here’s a proposal with an easy prediction: Pick the best contiguous 50% of land in America, take all the resources required and setup a USA 2.0 inhabited and governed by the Browning of America, and please build a wall to protect the wealth. Within one generation people will be begging to leave, much like they’ve been crawling over any border that leads to Western Civilization.”

  10. It’s a scam…and a trap. Reparations are another desperate attempt by Democrats to keep their black base from shifting to the Republican party. The fact that they want to raid Covid funds proves they know damn well the money for this ridiculous plan isn’t there. But even if the Republicans manage to kill the plan, the diabolical seeds of destruction have already been planted. The black population (never use the fake word “community”) now has its expectations raised. Blacks, ever the recipients of Democratic largesse, now believe they have more free money coming. If Republicans oppose this plan, they might win the battle but lose the gains they have made among black voters.

  11. For those African-Americans who are planning to line up and get your “reparations” cut, just remember that the ones handing you the money firmly believe that you are and always have been too dumb and shiftless to take advantage of the many privileges (such as affirmative action) provided to you in the past 60 years. In their minds, they can never do enough for you because, they believe, it is unfair and unrealistic to expect people with black skins to do for themselves. For those millions upon millions of blacks who have pride in themselves and what they, on their own merit, have accomplished, turning down a bag of cash will be difficult. But for those who do not, accept their racism and wallow in it. After all, there’s money to be had.

  12. This formerly great nation is on a sure path to economic, cultural, and political suicide. Unless there is a true “awakening” by the “unwashed masses” and a forceful counter revolution I don’t see a way out.

  13. since 1965 over $25 Trillion has been spent on the black community, and what has it accomplished. The total desctruction of the black family and community. A community that relies on handouts from the government. a government run by Democrats and liberals

    1. Angela Davis, Marxist black activist, was a guest on Finding Your Roots recently and found out one of her ancestors came over on the Mayflower. So, she should be paying Reparations…right?? This whole thing is a joke. Blacks in America are the luckiest blacks on the planet.

  14. It is said somewhat less than half are the descendants of slaves, of which very few, perhaps less than five percent, can actually prove or document their ancestry. Racial equity, as we all know, is unconstitutional and just another form of welfare. While any such commission or administrative agency would likely amount to little more than sinecures to their friends and be rife with corruption. Meanwhile, between financial support, decriminalization, ever more lethal drugs, we continue to not only rob the black man of dignity and purpose but also aid and abet what amounts to little more than an apoptosis. Note that the black population, projected in the 1970s to eventually surpass the white due to much higher birth rates, has hardly grown more than a single percentage point or two over the last half century, despite even increased immigration. Because, assistance begets crime, crime begets poverty, destruction, untimely death, a viscous cycle that Democrats must acknowledge and own. Instead they’ve opted to completely displace black with illegal brown right? Who truly profits? Well the bankers of course. Who devalue currency while growing the money supply as secured on the backs of those who work, and who works in America? Well, we all do, there are no nobles, there is no landed aristocracy, in America. Those who can, do. And it not we are “losers.”

  15. They Said to Me:

    1. Don’t live beyond Your means. So I took lesser Jobs to make-ends-meet. Paid the Bills (Rent, Utilities, Taxes) on time.

    2. They said: You’ll have to ‘Pull yourself up by the Boot-Straps’ (Ronald Regan), so I finished High School and finished College, working hard to stay debt free.
    (since age 14 with a ‘Working-Permit’ from the Principle)

    3. I played by the rules They decreed, kept my nose clean, as Others tried to ensnare or derail my effort as I tired hard to pursue a Career (20s, 30s, 40s, 50s).

    4. They offered me Debt(s)and I threw them off, I have no Debts.

    5. I endured: Racism, Bigotry, Sexism, and the Economic ‘Conditions’.

    This Country is F_*cked. It only offers Servitude. The rewards advertised are few and far between. And of these they are only available to a chosen Few.

    If you are a: Normal, Average, Obedient, Model Citizen – You are dead-in-the-water, a pebble on the Beach of Life.
    I don’t expect any Reparations. WHY?

    THEY LIED for the Ones that Lied.

    Because for the ones that Lie:

    1. There are no Consequences, for Those whom live in the shadows, the Grey-Area(s) of Civil impropriety.

    2. The Smoke & Mirrors of Deception are used to capture the fruit of Your Labors by People that are In-debt(ed),
    by Those that choose not to Work and Play fairly, and stay in line.

    3. The Lies have no ‘Sound Money’ behind them, only ‘mindless rhetorical’ (Bill Clinton), fiat-debt and War(s).

    4. There are no more Morals, because They Lied there cannot be had morally-correct-decisions, hence THEY CAN NOT BE TRUSTED.

    “It is what it Is” BECAUSE “They are what They are” LAIRS.
    The United States is no longer the “Promised Land”, it’s the Land of Lairs[.]

    I don’t expect any Reparations. There is nothing left to ‘Bail-Out’ here, Nothing to See here, No ‘Debts’ to forgive, Nothing, Nothing at all.
    ‘No Soup for You” & Me (Seinfeld).

    1. No One,
      Do everything right, get punished for it.
      It is almost like they want you to be dependent on the government, to keep you on the “plantation,” to keep you . . . oh, wait, I see.

  16. The reparation push by Democrats dovetails perfectly with their open border Democratic voter drive which they, of course, will get the rest of us to pay for. No problem getting taxpayers to cover the cost. It’s long past time to turn the Nimitz into the wind. Thank you, Jonathan, for an excellent article.

  17. If I am forced to pay reparations via my tax dollars it is my plan to withhold my tax dollars allocated for reparations from my annual tax payment and sue the government entities that are unjustly forcing this punishment upon me. I have an individual right, a human right, not to be punished for the crimes, whether perceived or real, committed by someone else.

        1. In case you are not being facetious…go Galt – To reduce, restrict, or cease one’s work or productivity as a means of social protest against increased marginal tax rates, limits on tax deductions, or the use of tax income for purposes one finds morally objectionable. Source: The Free Dictionary. John Galt, character from Any Rand’s Atlas Shrugged (1957). Source: Wikipedia. No I don’t agree with the premise.

            1. You should read Atlas Shrugged – it is an excellent book.
              There was also a very good 3 part movie done based on it in the past decade.

          1. It does not matter whether you agree with “going Galt”.

            It happens automatically – though not necescarily exactly as Rand described,
            When governement does not allow the productive to gain sufficient benefits from their efforts.

            Who is going to work hard – if all they get is sweat for their work ?

            20% of people are responsible for 80% of what is produced.

            Without them – the rest of us starve, and you can not force them to work.

  18. I’m glad I’m old! I knew the country was going down the tubes, but it is happening way faster than I thought it would happen. Joe Biden and the left are killing the golden goose and the country will end up like Baltimore, New Orleans, Chicago and every other large liberal city. Schools not teaching, colleges teaching garbage and hatred, law schools, med schools and journalism schools continuing a downward slide that encourages hatred of your own society and a censorious attack on anything and anyone that disagrees with them will continue unabated until it is to late.

    Take up Chinese, you will need it.

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