Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid plans to call for a unanimous consent vote on a stand-alone bill to authorize funds for the black farmers settlement Monday night. This latest effort follows weeks of trying to include the settlements in other pieces of legislation, such as a war supplemental bill and Small Business Lending Fund bill that continues to be stalled by Republican maneuvers. The farmers settlement would be paid for with biodiesel and food stamps recissions and by closing corporate tax loopholes, said a spokeswoman in Reid’s office.
Meanwhile, John Boyd, Jr., president of the National Black Farmers Association is boiling mad because of reports that within weeks Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D-Arkansas) has been able to work out a deal with the Obama administration for $1.5 billion dollars in aid to farmers in her state whose crops have been destroyed by natural disasters while black farmers have waited decades to be compensated for discriminatory acts.
“When white farmers are involved, everything is put on fast track. That’s a smack in the face to us,” Boyd said. “I’m asking farmers to take a strong look at elected officials in [farm states] and campaign to get rid of those who vote against us.”
A spokeswoman for Reid was unable to predict how successful the unanimous consent vote will be. “Hopefully the Republicans will allow us to move forward because it’s paid for,” she said.