“No, I don’t think reparations are a good idea,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Tuesday, calling slavery “something that happened 150 years ago for whom none of us currently living are responsible.” The senator from Kentucky went on to cite the Civil Rights Act and President Obama’s election as proof that such measures were unnecessary.

The House is currently considering H.R. 40, a bill introduced by Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee that would create a commission to study and develop proposals for slavery reparations. At a hearing for that resolution before the House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday, the writer Ta-Nehisi Coates, author of a 2014 piece in The Atlantic laying out the Case for Reparations, responded to McConnell’s comments.

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