Congress Misses Deadline On Payments To Black Farmers

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Black Farmers ProtestFrom the Washington Post:

The federal government promised last month to pay more than $1 billion by the end of March to tens of thousands of black farmers who had filed decades-old discrimination complaints against the U.S. Agriculture Department.

GALLERY: Black Super Models

But Congress headed home for a two-week recess without appropriating the money, and the farmers are frustrated that the agreement’s March 31 deadline was not met. The White House and congressional leaders say they want to pay the restitution, but farmers in the case say the government has been slow to deliver.

“The administration announced this settlement like this was all over, but we haven’t gotten a dime,” said John Boyd, president of the National Black Farmers Association. “Right now, it’s planting time, and we thought we would have the funds in time for this season.”

Boyd said he is sure the government and the farmers will be able to agree on an extension to the settlement, which compensates black farmers who were unfairly denied farm operating loans. But he is worried that with a tight budget and busy schedule, the farmers’ case — known as Pigford — will continue to be overlooked when Congress returns.

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