After more that a decade of litigation and hearings, African-American farmers and American Indian land owners have won a settlement that entitles them to more than 4 billion dollars in restitution from government discrimination and profits never received.
Under legislation passed by the Senate on Friday, black farmers who claim discrimination at the hands of the Agriculture Department would receive almost $1.2 billion. American Indians who say they were swindled out of royalties by the Interior Department would split $3.4 billion. Both cases have languished for more than a decade, and plaintiffs say beneficiaries are dying off.
“Make this money/Take this money/Ain’t no way you can take this from me…” *does this dance*
President Barack Obama praised the Senate for finally passing the bill and urged the House to move forward on it. He said his administration is also working to resolve separate lawsuits filed against the department by Hispanic and female farmers…Lawmakers from both parties have said they support resolving the claims of discrimination and mistreatment by federal agencies. But the money has been caught up in a fight over spending and deficits. Republicans repeatedly objected to the settlements when they were added on to larger pieces of legislation. But Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., satisfied conservative complaints by finding spending offsets to cover the cost.
*GASP* The Republicans were AGAINST this bill!?!? Surprise, surprise. Its good to see President Obama receiving credit for his good works since over the past few months people seem to want to tear him down.
The Obama administration has moved aggressively to resolve the discrimination cases after most of them spent a decade or longer in the courts. Last month, the Agriculture Department offered American Indian farmers who say they were denied farm loans a $680 million settlement.
Hopefully, some of this money that’s being dispensed will help these families and improve the local economies.