Kaine joins push in Senate backing racial justice, education, healthcare reforms
U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine announced a package of bills he’s supporting in Congress to address racial inequality and injustice, including legislation to reform the criminal justice system, reduce disparities in healthcare and education, and help close the systemic economic gaps that have only been exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic.
“For centuries, our nation has preached equality as our cardinal virtue while burdening African Americans with systemic inequality. The horrific murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery, together with the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on both the health and economic conditions of African Americans, have laid bare the continuing challenges of racism in America,” Kaine said. “Local, state, and federal government policy—enforced by our courts—formed the architecture of inequality in this country and though, in very recent history, some racist practices have ended, our government has never been made accountable for these longstanding practices or been forced to uproot that which it so carefully built over multiple generations. As a civil rights lawyer and elected official in a very diverse city, I have tried my best to battle against such injustice, but see clearly that those efforts have been insufficient. So I need to do more by not just introducing or supporting bills that don’t pass, but demanding that Congress pass comprehensive legislation to address longstanding inequalities. All Americans will benefit if this country gets serious about truly dismantling the painful architecture of discrimination against African Americans that began on Virginia soil more than 400 years ago.”
- Kaine is an original cosponsor of the Justice in Policing Act of 2020, legislation introduced this week to improve transparency in policing by collecting better and more accurate data of police misconduct and use-of-force, improve police training and practices, hold police accountable in our courts, and make lynching a federal crime.
- Kaine has cosponsored the Police Training and Independent Review Act to help prevent deaths related to misuse of force and encourage independent, impartial investigations into law enforcement officials’ use of deadly force.
- Kaine has cosponsored the End Racial and Religious Profiling Act to prohibit discriminatory profiling by law enforcement officers.
- Kaine will act this week in the Armed Services Committee to block the use of U.S. military resources or personnel against protesters.
- Kaine has introduced theRelaunching America’s Workforce Act with Rep. Bobby Scott to help workers sharpen their skills and quickly re-enter the workforce as the economy emerges from the deepest decline since the Great Depression, which has disproportionately harmed Black Americans.
- Kaine will sign on as a co-sponsor to the Commission to Study and Develop Reparation Proposals for African-Americans Act to study reparations to African Americans for the continuing legacy of slavery. The commission would examine slavery and discrimination in the colonies and the United States from 1619 to the present and recommend appropriate remedies. Among other requirements, the commission would examine (1) the role of federal and state governments in supporting the institution of slavery, (2) forms of discrimination in the public and private sectors against freed slaves and their descendants, and (3) lingering negative effects of slavery on living African Americans and society. The Commission will recommend appropriate remedies in consideration of the findings and submit a written report to Congress no later than one year after the first meeting of the Commission.
- Kaine has introduced the bipartisan Assisting Community Colleges in Educating Skilled Students (ACCESS) to Careers Act,which would partner community colleges and businesses to prepare students and displaced workers for in-demand jobs. The legislation would help address disparities in job training by encouraging community colleges to build career pathways and provide support services for communities of color and promote diversity in various careers.
- Kaine will sign on as a co-sponsor to the Protecting the Right to Organize Act, which recently passed the House of Representatives, so that workers‘ statutory rights to organize for better working conditions cannot be undermined.
- Kaine has introduced the bipartisan Preparing and Retaining Education Professionals (PREP) Act to increase support for teacher preparation programs at Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs) and Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) to support a diverse and well-prepared educator workforce. The majority of students in our nation’s public schools are students of color, but only 20 percent of the teaching workforce are teachers of color.
- Kaine has cosponsored the HBCU Partners Act to require federal agencies with relevant grants and programs to undertake annual planning and coordinate their efforts to support and expand HBCU participation in those programs.
- Kaine has cosponsored the Maternal Care Access and Reducing Emergencies (CARE) Act to create two new grant programs focused on reducing racial disparities in maternal health.
- In the coming weeks, Kaine will introduce legislation to address the egregious racial disparities in maternal care and better support pregnant women and their newborns.