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Senate Strips Funding For Legal Settlement To Black Farmers From War Bill


Conservative opposition to the settlement came to light last week in the aftermath of the Shirley Sherrod scandal. A farm collective founded by Sherrod and her husband that was forced out of business by the discriminatory practices received a $13 million settlement as part of Pigford last year, just before she was hired by the USDA. Some, including Rep. Steve King (R-IA), have called the settlement a fraud.

Majority Leader Harry Reid blamed Republicans for the failure to pass Pigford.

"I hoped that tonight the Senate could finally right a wrong that has been left unresolved for far too long. But Republicans stood in the way," he said in a statement. "As recent events have reminded us, the fact that justice and fairness were denied to black farmers for so many years continues to have ramifications today. ... Republicans should be held accountable for standing in the way of justice for those affected."

But several Democrats -- including Sens. Evan Bayh (IN) and Tom Carper (DE) -- also voted to block the bill.