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Rep. McKinney: Black Farmers Have Few Friends at the White House

June 1, 1998

"Sadly, This Administration is Kicking Black Farmers to the Curb."

(Washington) -- Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney (D-GA) today openly challenged the latest development in the negotiations between the Clinton Administration and the Congressional Black Caucus in resolving the discrimination cases filed by black farmers. ³Although the Administration¹s proposed legislation seems to contain acceptable language, it certainly comes later than expected. The understanding was that it would be a part of the Disaster Relief supplemental appropriation. This is certainly a disaster for Black Farmers,² exclaimed McKinney.

The Clinton Administration has proposed legislation at this time that the Congressional Black Caucus committee on the black farmers has found acceptable. Since the legislation was not introduced as a rider on the Supplemental Appropriations bill that was passed last week the expected process is to introduce a bipartisan piece of standalone legislation. ³Obviously, we should have done this a long time ago. But we trusted the Administration, perhaps, too much. After all, they have allowed this issue to fester for this long after having admitted to discriminating because of race. This is the same Administration that has allowed the fate of these farmers to bounce back and forth between the Judicial Branch and the Executive Branch and now wants to throw it over to the Legislative Branch. I welcome that because we are legislators and can work this issue on Capitol Hill,² said McKinney.

Today¹s protest in Michigan will attract the attention of the Clinton Administration that this issue is far from being resolved. ³This protest will demonstrate to the Administration that they are still responsible for the fate of America’s black farmers and that they have not done nearly enough to settle claims that remain outstanding for hundreds of our farmers. It is past time to act.² McKinney concluded.

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