UNITED STATES – JANUARY 16: Senate Budget Committee ranking member Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt. holds a news conference on the budget on Friday, Jan. 16, 2015. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) is apparently choosing his words more carefully when it comes to reparations to black American citizens, at least as he was speaking to the National Action Network.
According to The Hill, speaking to the National Action Network alongside other 2020 Democratic candidates who have backed the idea of a commission to research reparations, said he would sign a bill if it reached his desk should he be made the president.
Sanders, speaking at the National Action Network convention, was asked if he would support the bill introduced by Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas) if it reached his desk as president.
“If the House and Senate pass that bill, of course I would sign it,” he responded. “There needs to be a study.”/blockquote>
The National Action Network is a civil rights organization founded by the Reverend Al Sharpton.
Jackson Lee’s bill has picked up steam among Democrats, and has found supporters even among its leadership, such as Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.).
Sanders also added that 10 percent of all federal funds should go to distressed communities, perhaps refining his willingness to engage in reparations according to The Hill:
“But let me also say this: I think that what we need to do … is to pay real attention to the most distressed communities in America,” Sanders said. “We have got to use 10 percent of all federal funds to make sure that kids who need it get the education, get the jobs, get the environmental protection that they need and that would be a major focus of my efforts.
This is a turn for Sanders, however, who back in March told Charlamagne Tha God on his radio show that when it came to giving out flat-checks to African-Americans, the answer was a flat “no,” however he did speak about the distressed communities angle, but didn’t just focus on black communities.
“You mean just a check to every African-American?” he said. “Well, then there’s a check to every Native American … I think the way we go forward is we build America. There are distressed communities — white communities — distressed Latino communities.”
Sanders was immediately lambasted on Twitter by Twitter users for focusing on all communities.