Black Farmers Call For Congress to Separate Black Farmers Case Funding From Cobell, Pass Stand-Alone Bill This Week

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Countdown: 2 Days Until Farmers Hold Press Conference at U.S. Senate John Boyd and Tractor "Justice" to Arrive on Capitol Hill at Noon Today at Constitution and First Street, NW and then at the White House at Lafayette Park at 2:00 PM

separate the Black farmers funding from the unrelated Cobell case and move to pass the Black farmers funding as a stand-alone bill or on any legislation leaving the Senate this week.

Washington, DC Black farmer John W. Boyd, Jr. continues his daily rides on his tractor "Justice" from Virginia to Capitol Hill on Tuesday, September 20. Boyd, president and founder of the National Black Farmers Association, plans to make the ride through Washington, DC each day the Senate is in session, until Senators recess in October. View the Associated Press photo from Monday's ride.

Boyd issued a clear statement this morning calling on Congress to "separate the Black farmers funding from the unrelated Cobell case and move to pass the Black farmers funding as a stand-alone bill or on any legislation leaving the Senate this week."

AVAILABILITY TODAY ON THE HILL & AT WHITE HOUSE
Boyd will continue his tractor ride today and will arrive on Capitol Hill at Noon and will later ride to the White House in the afternoon.

FOR PLANNING PURPOSES - THURSDAY PRESS CONFERENCE
This Thursday, September 23, Boyd will arrive at the USDA around 10:00 AM on his tractor "Justice" and join with other Black farmers for a symbolic march up Capitol Hill to a press conference at 11:00 AM at or near the Senate Swamp.

"This press conference is important to keep the pressure on Congress," said Boyd. "A group of farmers will join together and stand in Washington representing the thousands and thousands of Black farmers who have joined with us at events last month with Senators Kay Hagan in North Carolina and Mary Landrieu in Louisiana, and earlier this year in Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee, Arkansas and Washington, DC."

SENATE UPDATES
Boyd, who has attracted national attention for his effort to highlight the "ridiculous" delays in funding the Black farmers discrimination case settlement, met with senior Administration officials at the White House on Friday and previously was greeted on the Hill by Senators Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Kay Hagan (D-NC) as well as Congressman Tom Perriellio (D-VA). Boyd met with Senator Mark Warner (D-VA) in his Senate office on Monday.

He is expected to meet with Members of Congress each day this week.

BOYD CALLS FOR STAND-ALONE CLOTURE VOTE
"I am calling for a cloture vote on a stand alone Black farmers bill," said Boyd late Sunday evening before starting his second week of the tractor ride. "While there are lots of very important causes, the Black farmers know that unless this bill is considered on its own merits other bills that have nothing to do with this issue -- including the Cobell Native American trust fund case -- may keep it from passing. Black farmers are dying, in fact another farmer active in the movement died this past week, and I can't let politicians use other issues as excuses not to vote on justice for Black farmers."

IMPORTANT NOTES

  • The Black farmers settlement was reached by the Obama Administration (USDA and USDOJ) and the Black farmers
  • As CNN noted on Saturday, the $1.15 billion settlement has been approved in federal court but has yet to be paid
  • The House previously passed the settlement funding, but the Senate has failed to pass the funding no fewer than 8 times this session
  • Leaders in both parties say the funding is paid for, meaning offsets have been located and the funding will not add to the deficit
  • A separate issue now before the Senate called "Cobell" deals with mismanagement of Native American trust accounts by the United States Department of the Interior, while the Black farmers’ settlement seeks to give Black farmers and Blacks who attempted to farm the opportunity to have their claims of discrimination by the USDA determined on their merits.

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