Bachmann, King again characterize settlement for black farmers as a fraud
While on tour of flooded areas near the Missouri River in Iowa Monday, U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann characterized a government settlement with black farmers who were discriminated against in the 1980s and 1990s as fraud, eliciting outrage from the farmers’ advocates.
Bachmann and U.S. Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) said the $1.2 billion extension, which was signed last year, could be put to better use helping flood victims in Iowa, according to the Associated Press.
John Boyd, president of the Black Farmers Union, told the told the AP that flood victims deserve “redress,” but that taking resources from people who had been historically denied them was a bad idea.
It isn’t the first time that King and Bachmann have beat on this particular drum. Bachmann sent out a press release last November alleging that the numbers of farmers involved in the settlement didn’t add up, because there were many more claims than black farmers.
In December 2010, the Star Tribune ran the numbers by U.S. Rep. Collin Peterson of Minnesota, who said there were more claims because many of the farmers had been forced out of business by being denied loans and other resources.
“The reason they’re not farming is they couldn’t get financing,” he said. “That’s part of their argument.”
King previously described the settlement, which is known as Pigford, as “modern-day reparations.” In November, he had this to say:
“Figure this out, Madame Speaker,” King said on the House floor on Monday. “We have a very, very urban senator, Barack Obama, who has decided he’s going to run for president, and what does he do?” King said. “He introduces legislation to create a whole new Pigford claim.”