The House has passed HR 4213, The American Job and Closing the Tax Loophole Act, which includes funding for the Black Farmers settlement of 1.25 billion dollars. Now the Senate has to vote before the May 31st deadline. The irony, the Senate has finished work for the holiday and will not be back in session before Monday.
Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele says, ” the fact that they won their suit, the fact that congress has been instructed by the court to pay them, than that needs to be honored and the commitment needs to be kept.”
John Boyd, head of the National Black Farmers Association says, “The White House needs to extend the deadline, or come up with the money.”
The black farmers have been waiting for the settlement for 15 years. Steele contends, “It is a lot of money, and they should get the money. If it has been appropriately adjudicated 15 years ago, with the judgment in favor of the farmers, It is a shames the federal government has taken 15 years to make the payment. The deadline is on Monday, make the payment.“
President Obama proposed the Settlement funding in his 2011 budget to end the inaction on the issue. The Presidet is also looking to fund the Cobell Indian Land misuse Settlement at a cost of 1.4 billion dollars.
Boyd says, “even though Congress missed another deadline, he still wants to talk with the President. The White House has yet to grant Boyd’s continued request. Officials are firm that President Obama strongly supports the Black Farmer settlement funding.
80 to 90 thousand black farmers are awaiting financial restitution from discrimination in the Department of Agricultures Farm Loan Program 20 years ago.