A few days ago we told you about some of the things that Rep. Steve King (R-IA) had said on the House floor in opposition to a settlement that will benefit black farmers discriminated against by the USDA. Those things included that the claims amount to “slavery reparations” orchestrated by a “very, very urban president.”
Well, we missed something, which MSNBC’s Ed Schultz played last night:
“The fraudulent claims might be, well Johnny, yeah he was raised on a farm but he wouldn’t help his dad. He went to the city, became a drug addict, and when Daddy needed the help, Johnny wouldn’t come and help his daddy,” King said in a floor speech Monday night. “But now his daddy’s died and Johnny wants the $50,000 that comes from the USDA under this claim.”
King’s longtime opposition to the settlement, dubbed Pigford II, has been based on the allegations that most of the claims are fraudulent.
The settlement funding passed the House Tuesday and is awaiting President Obama’s signature.
King’s speech prompted a direct response from Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, who said in a statement, “I am disappointed that Congressman King did not acknowledge the bi-partisan effort led by Senator Grassley to include in the legislation rigorous proof requirements for the claims process and numerous anti-fraud provisions.”
Or, as John Boyd, president of the National Black Farmers Association, put it to TPM, King “appears to be very racist.”
King and Boyd appeared opposite each other last night on Anderson Cooper, during which King defended his statements.