Why Cori Bush won’t give up on her push for federal reparations
The Missouri congresswoman explains how she’ll turn her resolution on the issue into law. Plus: The top House Dem slams fiscal conservatives and junk fee prevention takes center stage at the WH.
FIRST THINGS FIRST
Ahead of Juneteenth, the federal holiday on Monday that commemorates the emancipation of enslaved people in the US, Rep. Cori Bush (D-Mo.) on Thursday hosted a group of Black journalists in her Rayburn office at the US Capitol to discuss her resolution to provide comprehensive reparations to Black people.
The wide-ranging conversation comes as far-right conservatives like Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) claim that twice-impeached and -indicted former President Donald Trump and the insurrectionists convicted for their role in the January 6 Capitol attack are victims of political persecution — while also dismissing the idea that America should repair the harms to Black people caused by chattel slavery, Jim Crow, the so-called war on drugs, and mass incarceration.
Bush told Supercreator about an encounter she had while presiding over the House last Congress when Greene argued Bush should care about the January 6 prisoners since advocacy for public prison reform is a focus of her work.
“My thing was you didn’t care about this issue before. I’ve been working on this issue for years. We’ve been fighting this for a long time,” Bush said to Supercreator. “You only care about this little small group. Our work starts with the Black community and the brown community, but it also is for everybody. Your work is just for this little small group of people.”
Bush added that Greene’s comments show that Georgia lightning rod knows there are problems.
“But you also show your white supremacy and your hatred and your bigotry by not speaking out about what’s happening to other community members.”
The resolution, which has been endorsed by 300 organizations to date, outlines the various forms reparations should take and is Bush’s attempt to turbocharge the state and local efforts to advance reparatory justice.
Bush told Supercreator, the resolution, which she announced last month, is the result of two years of intense labor from her and her staff. It’s also the culmination of the work she led before she was elected to Congress in 2020.
“One of the things that I spoke with my team about before we were ever sworn in, and we were working on what's going to be our priority, was reparations,” Bush said. “We knew walking in it was going to be tough, though, because as an activist, I had been having those conversations. I had been in those rooms. I had been in those meetings at those conferences and so I knew what I was walking into.”
Eventually, Bush and her staff reached out to a cross-section of groups who were for and against the idea of federal reparations to build consensus for the resolution that she ultimately introduced.
But polling shows a wide gap between Black and white Americans in their views of reparations for slavery. Just three-in-ten US adults say descendants of people enslaved in the US should be repaid in some way, such as with land or money, according to 2021 survey data from the Pew Research Center. (Almost seven in ten US adults say these descendants should not be repaid at all.)
And while Bush said she’s received broad public and private support from her Democratic colleagues, including members of the Congressional Black Caucus, she understands the long road ahead.
It’s her experience protesting during the Black Lives Matter movement in Ferguson, Missouri after the killing of Michael Brown and how the phrase is still in the public consciousness nine years later though that gives her confidence that the politics of reparations can shift in favor over time.
“Why? Because we kept the conversation going, because we made sure that we kept our narrative, because we pushed what we needed. We couldn't worry about who didn't believe in us,” Bush said. “We led on that. And so the same thing is going to happen with this. It’s going to be how we lead this, how we push this out. And it's going to be us keeping our narrative.”
👋🏾 Hi, hey, hello! It’s Friday, June 16, 2023. You’re reading Supercreator Daily, your morning guide to the politicians, power brokers, and policies shaping the American creator experience.
Programming note: Supercreator Daily will not publish on Monday, June 19 in observance of Juneteenth. See y’all on Tuesday!
Jeffries on House conservatives: “Shutting down the government is in their DNA”
The Senate Appropriations Committee next Thursday will mark up the first two of 12 funding bills as lawmakers attempt to pass them all on time for the first time since the 1997 fiscal year.
It’s a process that’s already underway on the House’s appropriations panel and, as Supercreator reported earlier this week, one that immediately became contentious after Chairman Kay Granger (R-Texas) announced hours before the committee’s first markup that Republicans would write them at fiscal year 2022 levels.
But this would require billions of dollars in cuts to social programs President Joe Biden protected in the agreement he reached with Speaker Kevin McCarthy last month to avoid a default on the nation’s debt and set funding priorities ahead of the formal appropriations process.
House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) declined to comment on Thursday when Supercreator asked if the about-face has created a trust deficit between him and Speaker McCarthy. But he said that any funding bills House Democrats support have to align with the terms of the Biden-McCarthy deal.
“Otherwise, what was it all for? Why did we tie avoiding a default to make sure that America pays its bills with a top-line spending agreement? What was it all for?” Jeffries said. “Because now all we’re engaging in is right-wing theater designed to jam extreme painful cuts down the throats of the American people.”
Several House conservatives have openly expressed a willingness to shut down the government unless the cuts McCarthy was unable to secure in negotiations with the president are included in the appropriations bills.
“They shut down the government under President [Bill] Clinton. They shut down the government under President [Barack] Obama. They even shut down the government under President Trump as part of some effort to try to extort the American people for billions of dollars to pay for Trump’s medieval border wall,” Jeffries said. “Shutting down the government is in their DNA because they are irresponsible individuals. They don’t care about government. And that’s a shame.”
Congressional Progressive Caucus Chair Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.), along with several members of the left-leaning group who voted against the budget bill in protest of the cuts to social programs like SNAP and TANF, told Supercreator that McCarthy has proven himself to be trustworthy after failing to deliver the votes to pass a procedural measure to advance the final bill to the floor before ultimately reneging on the agreement.
“I think what we need to think about as Democrats is that the best governing majority is all Democrats and those five to six Republicans that are in the toughest districts and should do the right thing,” Jayapal said. “And in order to get there, we need to push and push and refuse to negotiate with somebody who A) has a gun to our head, and B) puts in things that are against our values, and C) can’t deliver.”
Congress has until September 30 to pass a funding bill and avoid a government shutdown.
Biden touts private sector commitments to end junks fees
President Biden on Thursday hosted a roundtable with business executives of companies that have committed to ending junk fees — the hidden and unexpected charges that aren’t included in the initial price of a transaction — in response to his call to provide consumers with transparent pricing.
“This is a win for consumers, in my view, and proof that our crackdown on junk fees has real momentum,” Biden said. “But there’s more to do to address the problems in the online ticketing industry and to get [rid of] junk fees across all industries.”
Aaron Stephens, senior legislative strategist for P Street, the government affairs sister organization of the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, said in a statement to Supercreator that the White House’s focus on the issue is a smart demonstration to the public of who is fighting for the economic interests of everyday people.
“The rampant use of predatory junk fees — in banking, hotels, airlines, tickets, housing applications, and more — is yet another way consumers get ripped off by unchecked corporate greed,” Stephens said. “Consumers should have full transparency in what they are paying for, right from the start.”
The roundtable follows a bipartisan discussion the White House hosted on junk fees in March, an issue President Biden devoted almost 300 words of a State of the Union address to the month before.
The president was joined by representatives from small and large companies that currently provide all-in pricing or are announcing a new commitment to do so in the coming months, including Live Nation, SeatGeek, xBk, Airbnb, the Pablo Center at the Confluence, TickPick, DICE, and the Newport Festivals Foundation.
LiveNation announced it would introduce a pricing experience in September that shows one total price through its Ticketmaster platform for the more than 200 venues and festivals it owns across the country.
In response to the president’s first call for a junk-fee crackdown last September, Airbnb said more than eight million visitors have used its new total price display tool that allows US consumers to see all fees before taxes.
Last December, Airbnb introduced a new full-price display tool that allows US consumers to see all fees before taxes. Since then, more than 8 million visitors have used the tool to view fee-inclusive pricing.
And American, Alaska, and Frontier Airlines changed their policies from charging extra for family seating on their airlines to guaranteeing fee-free family seating.
The US Chamber of Commerce, the largest lobbying group in the country, described the White House’s efforts as price controls that lead to less competition and innovation, fewer choices, and higher prices.
“If the administration wants to support American families facing higher prices, it should work with the business community to address the conditions that are keeping inflation high,” Neil Bradley, executive vice president and chief policy officer, said in a statement. “More talent, more competition, and less government red tape will grow the economy and provide the conditions necessary for economic success.” (The White House pointed to research that has shown junk fees make it harder to comparison shop, impede competition, and less to consumers paying more.)
The president has also called on Congress to take action to protect consumers from junk fees.
The Senate Commerce consumer protection subcommittee held a hearing to explore the adverse impact of junk fees and prevent a transparent market. The hearing also examined potential legislative solutions.
Sens. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) this spring introduced a bill that would require the full price of a service to be displayed upfront, prevent excessive fees, and ensure transparency, and empower the Federal Trade Commission to issue new rules and enforce against violations. Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-Ariz.) is the lead sponsor of the House version of the bill.
“[T]oday’s announcement that major companies are stepping up to increase price transparency is a big win for consumers. Lowering costs for working families is one of my top priorities,” Gallego said in a statement. “That’s why we’re pushing Congress to pass my Junk Fee Prevention Act so all companies provide consumers upfront pricing and Arizonans know exactly how much their concert tickets, flights, and hotel reservations cost — no surprises.”
TODAY IN POLITICS
All times Eastern
9:30 a.m. Vice President Kamala Harris and Second Gentleman Doug Emhoff will leave DC to travel to Denver, where they will arrive at 2 p.m.
11:30 a.m. President Biden will arrive at Joint Base Andrews from the White House to travel to Windsor Locks, Connecticut, where he will arrive at 12:40 p.m.
2:05 p.m. The president will speak at the National Safer Communities Summit at the University of Hartford in Connecticut.
3:25 p.m. President Biden will leave Windsor Locks to travel to Greenwich, Connecticut, where he will arrive at 4:05 p.m.
3:40 p.m. The vice president will speak about the climate crisis. Emhoff will attend.
5:20 p.m. Harris and Emhoff will speak at a campaign reception.
5:25 p.m. The president will speak at a campaign reception.
6:30 p.m. President Biden will leave Greenwich and return to Joint Base Andrews at 7:35 p.m. He will get back to the White House at 7:55 p.m.
6:50 p.m. Harris and Emhoff will travel from Denver to Los Angeles, where they will arrive at 9:05 p.m.
The House and Senate are out.
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THEY DID THAT
The Supreme Court in a 7-2 decision rejected a challenge to a law that ended the practice of taking Native American children from their tribes and placing them with white families and schools to assimilate them into American culture. The ruling preserves the 1978 Indian Child Welfare Act, which requires adoptees to first be placed with extended family, members of the same tribe, or another Native family, and delivered American tribes a landmark victory.
Reps. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.) and Glenn Ivey (D-Md.) along with Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), and Blumenthal introduced a bill to restore a section of the Civil Rights Act of 1866 that protects Black citizens from economic racial discrimination.
Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.), the ranking member on the House Financial Services Committee, sent a letter to Chairman Patrick McHenry (R-N.C.) to call for an immediate hearing to examine the impact of artificial intelligence on housing and financial services.
The Senate confirmed Nusrat Choudhury as the first woman Muslim federal judge. Choudhury will serve as a US District Judge for the Eastern District of New York. ICYMI: Last week, the Senate confirmed Dilawar Syed to be the Deputy Administrator of the Small Business Administration and the highest-ranking Muslim official in the Biden administration.
Sens. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Jack Reed (D-R.I.), Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) sent a letter to PayPal President and CEO Dan Schulman to request data on steps Venmo, a peer-to-peer, PayPal-owned instant payment app, is taking to protect its customers from fraud in light of reports of widespread fraud and scams.
The Transportation Department announced a $3-million down payment to offset costs to repair the section I-95 in Philadelphia that collapsed last week. Gov. Josh Shapiro’s (D-Pa.) office launched a 24/7 livestream for the public to view the rebuild.
Education Secretary Miguel Cardona and Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra sent a joint letter to governors to promote federal government resources to help young people grapple with increased social isolation and trauma from gun violence.
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