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Obama Hails Passage of Settlement for Native Americans, Black Farmers

3 years ago
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As congressional leaders and the White House continue efforts to reach a compromise on issues ranging from the expiration of tax cuts to tweaks in the U.S.-Russia START arms treaty, the House approval of the Claims Settlement Act of 2010 brought praise from President Obama and the Departments of Justice, Interior and Agriculture.
In a statement Tuesday, the president said: "I am pleased that today, the House has joined the Senate in passing the Claims Settlement Act of 2010. This important legislation will fund the agreements reached in the Pigford II lawsuit, brought by African American farmers, and the Cobell lawsuit, brought by Native Americans . . . I applaud Congress for acting in a bipartisan fashion to bring this painful chapter in our nation's history to a close." The president said he will sign the bill.
In the Pigford II class-action lawsuit, black farmers will receive a $1.15 billion settlement, with the average payment of $50,000. The Department of Agriculture admitted to discriminating against the farmers in the awarding of loans and other benefits.
The Cobell lawsuit, resolved with a $3.4 billion agreement, has been in the courts for 14 years. It was brought by Native Americans contending mismanagement of Indian trust accounts and resources.
Obama called the legislation, which also settles four separate water-rights suits made by Native American tribes, "a significant step forward in addressing the water needs of Indian Country. Yet, while today's vote demonstrates important progress, we must remember that much work remains to be done. And my administration will continue our efforts to resolve claims of past discrimination made by women and Hispanic farmers and others in a fair and timely manner."
Calling the settlements "truly historic," Attorney General Eric Holder said they offer a new relationship "between many deserving Americans and the federal agencies that play an important role in their lives."
Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar said Congress' approval of the Cobell settlement and the four Indian water-rights settlements "responsibly address long-standing injustices and represent a major step forward in President Obama's agenda to empower tribal governments, fulfill our trust responsibilities to tribal members and help tribal leaders build safer, stronger, healthier and more prosperous communities."
Finally, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said the settlements helps "right the wrongs in USDA's past." He said that the bill that passed the Senate and House includes strong protections against waste, fraud, and abuse to ensure integrity of the claims process. "Today's vote will help the Department of Agriculture move beyond this sad chapter in history."

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donnal777

I'm all for righting wrongs but where is this money coming from? We who are stuck paying for this in a recession did not do the discrimniating acts that we are paying for. Where is our justice???

December 01 2010 at 1:36 PM Report abuse +6 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to donnal777's comment
djh6721

The people that got you into the recession got elected by a voting block that obvious has defective short term memory. That's the justice. Expect another collapse as soon as they dismantle every protection the Dems wrestled through Congress.

December 01 2010 at 3:45 PM Report abuse -2 rate up rate down Reply
mysticwolf011

No I am NOT a democrat, and yes I do have second job,but the first one is in realestate so need I say more....No money to be made there.I have never asked for any handout from the govt. The comment was mostly just venting my fustrations over the never ending spending policies of this administration.

December 01 2010 at 1:17 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
RSK1177

How many of the receipients were truly discrminated against? Why didn't they file their claims before the original deadline. There was supposed to have been 18,000 claimants included in the 2008 Farm Bill which included payment to those who filed. Now there are over 90,000 who claimed they were discriminated against. $50,000 per alleged injured person is very generous. Americans of Japanese ancestry received $20,000 for their unconstitutional imprisonment and seizure of property during WW II. Must be inflation !

December 01 2010 at 1:12 PM Report abuse +5 rate up rate down Reply
klkbk

I will say that I believe this country is in the crapper and there are much more important things to be spending this money on at this point in time. There are unemployed of ALL colors about to lose benefits, senior citizens of ALL colors not getting a cost of living increase for the 3rd year in a row and medicare (ie.disabled and elderly) recipients of ALL colors having prescription benefits cut. But, I'm sure it is MUCH more important to "move beyond this sad chapter." Grow the hell up. My violin is resonating sadly.

December 01 2010 at 1:09 PM Report abuse +5 rate up rate down Reply
CGALLAGHER

50,000.00 will by alot of maultliquor & newports

December 01 2010 at 12:50 PM Report abuse +4 rate up rate down Reply
djh6721

Heaven knows Native Americans got a fair shake in the old American dream. It's the funniest thing to watch those with the most advantage blow a gasket when those with the least get any kind of justice. Imagine if the farmers were white. Different story now aye? Last time I check it was impossible to pass a bill in the Senate without 60 votes. Who are those traitorous Republicans? That's what the loonies should be researching. Get out your pitch forks and go find them. There is a ratioonal republican left in the Senate go get em ....

December 01 2010 at 12:45 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Susan

It's interesting that a "decades old" lawsuit is being settled by this congress. The dems continue to shove this crap down the throats of the American people. January can't come soon enough.

December 01 2010 at 12:24 PM Report abuse +10 rate up rate down Reply
mysticwolf011

Would it be to much to ask that some money be used to keep are children in college.Mine are being thrown out because I cannot pay the high cost of tuition.I guess because we are white we don't matter.What happened to every child deserves an education.

December 01 2010 at 12:01 PM Report abuse +7 rate up rate down Reply
rharryjr

What a CROCK!!!!!

December 01 2010 at 11:58 AM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
djh6721

Another reason for the loonies to come out of the woodwork ranting about how they have been wronged and Obama is giving payemtns for slavery. Yawn.... Maybe the fact that this case goes back to 1999 and was decided years before Obama was even known polically. (he may still have been in Kenya) The Governement is simply closing the books. Don't let anything like reality stop a good rant...go for it.

December 01 2010 at 11:28 AM Report abuse -5 rate up rate down Reply

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