Washington Report: Funding for Black Farmers Stalled Again

Senate fails to finalize bill to pay for settlement

The Senate failed to pass legislation that would finalize settlements with black farmers. (Source: NBFA)

It’s National Farmers Week, but the nation’s black farmers have little to celebrate because Majority Leader Harry Reid has failed yet again to get a unanimous consent vote on funding for the Pigford II discrimination suit. He had hoped to do so before the Senate departed for its August recess, but during his Thursday morning pen and pad with reporters, Reid pretty much conceded that it wouldn’t happen and said he hoped the matter would be settled by the end of the year.

This is a really shameful situation here. We had meetings this week with Senators Dick Durbin and Harry Reid about this bill and we just can’t seem to get to the middle of the road,” said a deeply disappointed John Boyd, Jr., president of the National Black Farmers Association. “We’re caught up in … mid-term election politics and that is not good for the black farmers who’ve been waiting patiently, hoping something good would happen.”

Boyd believes that the matter would have been settled long ago if the White House demonstrated its commitment to the deal by applying the same level of influence that it reportedly did for Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D-Arkansas) to provide $1.5 billion dollars in aid to famers in her state whose crops have been destroyed by natural disasters.

“We need an administrative fix like the one they’re going to give to the white farmers,” Boyd said. “It’s time for the president to show up for black farmers.”

ACROSS THE WEB