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BIG SENATE VOTE

 

ATLANTA - After several attempts in Congress to provide funding for the Pigford settlement, today Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid will offer Pigford, along with the Native American Cobell Land Trust case, as a stand alone bill. Reid will ask the Senate for “unanimous consent” in which there can be no opposition.

The Black farmer lawsuit against the USDA, known as Pigford v Vilsack, has been attached to any number of bills working their way through Congress. In the divisive US Senate, these efforts have repeatedly resulted in the stripping away of numerous domestic spending items including the Pigford and Cobell settlements. As the Senate is about begin it’s August recess, one more effort will be attempted.

Many in the Senate have asked that the Pigford and Cobell settlements be offered as a stand-alone bill and that they be paid for by offsets. Both these requirements will be met as Senator Reid offers the bill.

It has been more than 10 years that thousands of farmers filed petitions in the Pigford lawsuit. Some of these farmers have now died, some are retired or disabled, some have lost their land and some are still farming. The fact is that justice delayed is justice denied. Congress has delayed this justice for too long!

“The Network of Black Farm Groups and Advocates” demands justice for Black farmers and that the Senate finally offer a remedy to farmers by providing the necessary funding of $1.15 billion so that the case can proceed without further delay.

 

 

 

In Response, John W. Boyd, Jr., president and founder of the National Black Farmers Association released the following statement in advance of the anticipated vote tonight:


WASHINGTON -  "We are calling on each and every U.S. Senator to support the unanimous consent measure. This is a historic opportunity to support justice in the Black farmers case.

"It is unusual but welcome that such a historic measure would come for consideration as a unanimous consent - that would resolve two of the largest civil rights class action cases in American history - and we are hopeful that each and every Senator will approve this bipartisan amendment.

"This bill has the support of President Obama, Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, Senators and House members of both parties and the Congressional Black Caucus. The bill also has the support of NAACP, RainbowPUSH Coalition, Inc., the National Action Network and National Urban League.

"But let's be clear, for this amendment to pass by unanimous consent we need the support of Senator Mitch McConnell and each of his Republican colleagues. Senator McConnell told me personally that he supports congressional action on justice for the Black farmers."



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