In yet another delay for black farmers waiting for $1.25 billion in settlement money to be awarded from the federal government, it appears the farmers have to wait a least a little longer.
The Senate tabled a jobs measure because Democrats underestimated how much the package would cost; the error led to the delay of the settlement vote, The Hill said.
A federal court found in favor of the farmers in the lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Agriculture more than 10 years ago and more than $1 billion in debt relief and payments were awarded. The new settlement — known as Pigford II — will compensate thousands of farmers who missed the filing deadline.
John Boyd, a Virginia farmer and founder of the National Black Farmers Association, was not immediately available for comment late Monday.
But in an interview with Politic365 before the scheduled vote, he expressed frustration about how the process to get the funds appropriated has taken.
“This is not a verdict of whether we’re right or wrong,” Boyd said.”We’ve proven our case in court. There have been over 100 studies proving the black farmer has been discriminated against. We’re calling on Congress to do the right thing and pay the black farmer.”
To add insult to injury, Boyd said, the Obama administration recently authorized $1.5 billion in farm aid for Sen. Blanche Lincoln, (D-Ark.), which Boyd says is disaster relief for white farmers.
“That’s pretty much guaranteeing them an administrative fix,” Boyd said. “I think that hurts, especially when I’ve been asking the President, going into two years now, for an administrative fix to pay the black farmers through the judgment fund, but instead we’ve had to find our way through Congress and it’s been a long, drawn-out battle.”
Deadlines to appropriate the money have been extended several times. Now lawmakers have until Aug.13 to get the measure funded.
“We have a judgment against the federal government,” Boyd said. “And we’ve jumped through one hurdle after another.”
Photo: Courtesy CNN.com