When you know black liberals will vote for you come hell or high water, why should you ever be motivated to ever help them out?
African-American lawmakers are irate that the Obama administration has promised Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark.) $1.5 billion in farm aid while claiming it can’t pay a landmark legal settlement with black farmers.
Six members of the Congressional Black Caucus wrote to President Obama on Thursday calling on him to find a way to compensate black farmers who suffered discrimination in government loan programs during the 1980s and 1990s.
The letter was spurred by behind-the-scenes deal-making in the Senate as part of an effort to pass small-business legislation.
White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel promised Lincoln, who sponsored the provision, that the administration would find a way to pay out $1.5 million in disaster assistance to farmers while they wait for programs in the 2008 farm bill to be implemented.
At the same time, the administration has told black farmers it lacks the funds to pay a $1.2 billion agreement they reached with the Department of Agriculture in 1999 to settle the Pigford class-action lawsuit.
The agriculture disaster relief had been included in the small-business bill until Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) pulled it at the last minute in a bid for GOP support.
Members of the black caucus say that if the administration can find $1.5 billion within its administrative funds to pay mostly white farmers in Arkansas and other states, it should be able to pay black farmers who suffered discrimination.
“The current hardships experienced by other farmers should not trump hardships placed on African Americans and Native Americans by the U.S. Department of Agriculture in the past,” they wrote.