Bachmann attacks $1.2B payout for black farmers
WASHINGTON - Congress gave the final go-ahead Tuesday to a landmark $1.2 billion settlement compensating black farmers for decades of discrimination, even as Minnesota Republican Michele Bachmann and other conservatives charged that the deal is riddled with fraudulent claims.
The long-delayed package, negotiated by the Obama administration, could award some $50,000 each to thousands of African-Americans who claimed they were unjustly denied loans and assistance from the federal Agriculture Department in the 1980s and ’90s. Right up until the final 256-152 vote in the House, Bachmann — along with Iowa Republican Steve King and others — called for an investigation of the settlement, known as Pigford II.
“This looks like one of the most outrageously fraudulent claims of scamming the federal taxpayers that anyone has ever seen,” Bachmann said in one of her first major forays since she tried to win a post in the new House Republican leadership. “It’s indefensible.”
Bachmann’s outspoken criticism sparked a war of words with John Boyd, president of the National Black Farmers Association, as well as with Minneapolis Democrat Keith Ellison, the state’s first and only black representative in Congress.
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