Folks know that I've had some 'issues' with The President's decision last week to disrespect and dishonor the Black Farmers, by trying to go cheap on their settlement. What they were asking for, and were told ' it wasn't within the budget' is the equivalent of what we give the 51 State - EVERY DAMN YEAR WITHOUT ANY QUESTIONS.
But, I digress.
U.S. Sens. Grassley, Hagan: Work to ensure black farmers receive funds for Pigford settlement claims
May 5, 2009
Senators Chuck Grassley and Kay Hagan today introduced legislation to ensure that African American farmers, who successfully filed claims as a result of the 2008 farm bill, will receive the money they are entitled to.
“The Department of Justice decided to cap the $100 million in the farm bill, so anybody who was successful in their petition after the money was gone was out of luck. It was clear from the start that $100 million wasn’t going to be enough money. So, we’re making reasonable fixes to ensure that those who have been successful in their cases are awarded what they rightly are entitled to,” Grassley said. “We’ve been working too hard on this for too many years to let bureaucratic procedure and mumbo-jumbo discriminate against African American farmers and ranchers again.”
“Years ago, thousands of African American farmers were found to have been unfairly discriminated against when applying for loans, credit, and other forms of financial help to ensure their farm’s success,” said Hagan. “The 2008 Farm Bill passed without adequately addressing the costs required to settle the claims in the Pigford case, and ultimately, help right the injustices these farmers faced so many years ago. This legislation seeks to correct that problem, and ensures the farmers who were discriminated against receive what is fairly due to them.”
The Department of Agriculture settled a landmark class action lawsuit with African American farmers in 1999. The Department and the county commissioners discriminated against African American farmers when they denied, delayed, or otherwise frustrated the applications of those farmers and those attempting to farm for farm loans and other credit and benefit programs. This settlement permitted over 22,000 black farmers to have their claims evaluated on the merits, and almost 15,000 had their claims vindicated.
For a variety of reasons, nearly 75,000 additional black farmers filed their claims of discrimination through the Pigford consent decree process past the deadline for their claims to be evaluated on the merits. As a result, thousands of victims of discrimination continue to be denied an opportunity even to have their claims heard.
The case of the Black Farmers is about JUSTICE. Plain and simple. The Department of Agriculture is notorious in its racist practices against Black Farmers, and it's time a wrong be righted. I would have hoped that The President, who exploited this issue during the campaign, would take the lead on it, but since he won't, I'm fine with anyone else who wants to step up to the plate and DO THE RIGHT THING.