Ways and Means Committee Launches Racial Equity Initiative Co-Chaired by Rep. Gomez

WASHINGTON, DC — Today, House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard E. Neal (D-MA) announced the creation of the Committee’s Racial Equity Initiative (REI) and appointed, Rep. Jimmy Gomez (CA-34), Rep. Terri Sewell (AL-07), and Rep. Steven Horsford (NV-04) to lead the working group. The REI represents the next phase of the Committee’s work to address the role of racism and other forms of discrimination in perpetuating health and economic inequalities in the United States. The creation of the REI follows a report,Something Must Change: Inequities in U.S. Policy and Society,and framework, “A Bold Vision for a Legislative Pathway Toward Health and Economic Equity,” that the Committee put out earlier this year highlighting the policy proposals and the pillars the Committee will focus on as it works to advance equity in this Congress and beyond.

“As the oldest committee in Congress, it is our responsibility to work tirelessly toward achieving a more perfect Union for all Americans, including those often overlooked and left out,” said Chairman Neal. “The Committee has been engaged in identifying the barriers to equity, and today, we take the next step in our work by acting. With Reps. Sewell, Gomez, and Horsford at the helm, the REI Working Group will amplify opportunities and make recommendations to ensure the Committee is leading with justice-forward legislation. I am thrilled they have stepped up to chair this momentous work and look forward to joining them to advance meaningful, transformative policies that make the American Dream more achievable for all.”

“From addressing health disparities and income inequality for people of color in marginalized communities to reforming our country’s tax code to better support struggling working families, the concept of equity – prioritizing the needs of the most vulnerable and underserved – has played a critical role in guiding our legislative efforts on the House Ways and Means Committee,” said Congressman Jimmy Gomez. “I’d like to thank Chairman Neal for establishing the Racial Equity Initiative, for appointing me to serve as a Co-Chair, and for strengthening our Committee’s shared commitment to securing healthy and prosperous outcomes for all Americans, regardless of background, zip code, or disability.”

“As Representative of America’s Civil Rights District, I know firsthand how generations of systemic underinvestment and discrimination are directly tied to economic disparities and poor health outcomes. I applaud Chairman Neal for the formation of the Racial Equity Initiative and I thank him for the opportunity to lead this important effort as we work to improve the lives of all Americans,” said Congresswoman Terri Sewell. “As the House Ways and Means Committee seeks to address the persistent economic and health disparities across our country, it is critical that we do so through the lens of equity and justice. Today’s challenges are a result of deeply-rooted discrimination and inequality, and we must be clear-eyed about addressing these injustices to move forward.”

“I am honored to be chosen alongside Reps. Sewell and Gomez to lead the House Ways and Means Committee’s Racial Equity Initiative. This working group will ensure that policy proposals—including health care, family and worker support, taxes, and many more—considered by the committee address economic and social inequities and advance racial justice,” said Congressman Steven Horsford. “I thank Chairman Neal for his leadership of the Ways and Means Committee and continued efforts to make our laws fairer and more equitable for all, and I look forward to working with him towards this shared goal.”

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