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Photo Illustration: "Axios on HBO"

White House senior adviser Cedric Richmond told "Axios on HBO" that it's "doable" for President Biden to make first-term progress on breaking down barriers for people of color, while Congress studies reparations for slavery.

Why it matters: Biden said on the campaign trail that he supports the creation of a commission to study and develop proposals for reparations — direct payments for African Americans.

A House panel heard testimony on the legislation last week.

  • "I think that [creation of a commission] will pass," Richmond said.

What he's saying: Richmond said that while the timeline for the commission isn't knowable, "if you start talking about free college tuition to [historically Black colleges and universities] and you start talking about free community college in Title I and all of those things, I think that you are well on your way."

  • "We have to start breaking down systemic racism and barriers that have held people of color back and especially African Americans," he said. "[W]e have to do stuff now."

What's next: Richmond pointed to a Biden executive action "breaking down barriers in housing, making sure that African Americans can pass down wealth through homeownership, that their homes are not valued less than homes in different communities just because of the neighborhood it's in."

  • "We don't want to wait on a study," he said. "We're going to start acting now."

Watch a clip from the interview.

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Go deeper

Feb 28, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Cedric Richmond: We won't wait on GOP for "insufficient" stimulus

Top Biden adviser Cedric Richmond told "Axios on HBO" the White House believes it has bipartisan support for a stimulus bill outside the Beltway.

  • "If our choice is to wait and go bipartisan with an insufficient package, we are not going to do that."

The big picture: The bill will likely undergo an overhaul in the Senate after House Democrats narrowly passed a stimulus bill this weekend, reports Axios' Kadia Goba.

Feb 27, 2021 - Axios on HBO

Preview: "Axios on HBO" interviews White House Senior Advisor Cedric Richmond

On the next episode of "Axios on HBO," Axios co-founder Mike Allen interviews White House Senior Advisor Cedric Richmond.

  • Catch the full interview and much more on Sunday, February 28 at 6 pm. ET/PT on all HBO platforms.

Virginia lawmakers vote to legalize marijuana in 2024

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam. Photo: Alex Edelman/Getty Images

Lawmakers in Virginia on Saturday approved compromise legislation that would legalize marijuana in 2024, putting the state a step closer to becoming the first in the South to end prohibition on the drug, the Richmond Times-Dispatch reports.

Why it matters: The legislation will make Virginia the 16th state to legalize marijuana, per Politico. It would add to a slate of laws that have seen Virginia move in a more progressive direction during the tenure of Gov. Ralph Northam.