Congress Reexamines Deal With Black Farmers
By Associated Press
Washington, DC – Democrats say a deal the government reached with black farmers over decades of discrimination is broken and needs another chance.
In a 1999 settlement, the Agriculture Department agreed to pay at least 50-thousand dollars to farmers who could show they faced discrimination based on their race.
About two-thirds of the 22-thousand-442 farmers who filed have won claims.
A vast majority -- more than 63-thousand claims -- have NOT been heard because farmers missed the filing deadline years ago. Many said they didn't know about it.
Alabama Democratic Representative Artur Davis is sponsoring a bill that would allow farmers who didn't receive notice of the deadline to refile their claims.
A competing measure -- sponsored by Representative Bobby Scott, a Democrat from Virginia, and Senator Charles Grassley, an Iowa Republican -- would allow the denied farmers to go back to court.
Similar bills were introduced in the last Congress but stalled. Now in control, Democrats vowed to make the issue a priority this year.
(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)