As a candidate, Biden said he supported a commission on reparations. But the administration has yet to endorse the actual bill. After his speech Tuesday, the president met with the members of the Congressional Black Caucus, who brought up the need for H.R. 40, which is named after the “40 acres and a mule” promise that now symbolizes the lack of support formerly enslaved people received from the federal government. According to those involved in the conversations, Biden let them down gently. “He didn't disagree with what we're doing,” said Rep. Brenda Lawrence (D-Mich.), the 2nd vice chair of the CBC. “He did talk about his plate [being] full with trying to get the infrastructure bill passed and that he really wanted to make sure that he could get that through before he took on anything else.” Biden’s biggest concern on H.R. 40, Lawrence said, is “getting it through the Senate.” The bill also hasn’t even been scheduled for a full floor vote in the House, where it has 188 co-sponsors. Tuesday in Tulsa illustrated the dichotomy that has come to define Biden’s approach to issues of race and race equity. No president has so forcefully called out the nation’s sordid history. At the same time, Biden has downplayed the likelihood of legislative action, sidestepping calls for him to embrace rules reform in the Senate to allow easier passage of relevant bills. In addition to expressing fear that H.R. 40 would die in the Senate behind the scenes, Biden also announced on Tuesday that he was handing off the voting rights portfolio to his Vice President Kamala Harris. For the nearly all-Black crowd inside the cultural center, which included the three remaining survivors of the massacre, descendants, local leaders and activists, the Tulsa speech was a milestone. They watched and clapped as Biden went into detail about the massacre and drew a throughline to issues Black people still face today. Representative Hank Johnson (D-Ga.), CBC whip, said Biden’s speech was “meaningful” for Tulsa and the country, adding “Most of America had absolutely zero knowledge of the greatest single atrocity to Black people in this country. For him to use his pulpit to publicize what happened to them has to have been cathartic for them.” In the lead-up to Biden’s Tulsa trip, the administration announced initiatives to narrow the racial wealth gap including inequities in home appraisals and increasing the goal of federal contacts for small disadvantaged businesses. And in a gaggle on Air Force One on the way to the event, principal deputy press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said that Biden “supports a study” of reparations “but believes that, first and foremost, the task in front of us ... is to root out systemic racism where it exists right now.” But for some in the audience, simply supporting a study wasn’t enough. “I personally would have liked to hear the word reparations. I think that he was very stra . . . read the full article here.