The Obama administration dropped the ball on a $1.25 billion deal to settle decades-old discrimination lawsuits with black farmers, an advocate for the group said on Friday after the government failed to meet a key deadline.
The deal, one of the largest civil rights settlements in history, was to compensate black farmers left out of federal farm loan and assistance programs due to racism.
GALLERY: President Obama
But it was contingent on Congress approving $1.15 billion in funding by March 31. Lawmakers left for a two-week break on Friday without approving the deal, leaving it in limbo.
“The president made a strong commitment to show leadership to get this done, and basically we haven’t seen him show that leadership,” said John Boyd Jr., head of the National Black Farmers Association.
“The president didn’t help us finish the job,” Boyd said.
The deal reached last month was hailed by President Barack Obama, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, and Attorney General Eric Holder as a milestone in righting historic wrongs.