Lindsey Graham criticizes ‘reparations’ for black farmers

South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham said a debt repayment fund in the stimulus bill was a

South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham said a debt repayment fund in the stimulus bill was a “fix” because it targets disadvantaged and black farmers.

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Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina has challenged a proposed $5 billion debt repayment fund that would benefit historically disenfranchised black farmers under the $1.9 trillion coronavirus stimulus package , calling it “reparations”.

Graham, a Republican, criticized what he called the Democratic “wish list” in the stimulus deal in an interview with Fox News on Tuesday.

“Let me give you an example of something that really bothers me. In this bill, if you’re a farmer, your loan will be forgiven up to 120% of your loan…if you’re socially disadvantaged, if you’re African American, another minority. But if you are [a] white person, if you are a white woman, no forgiveness. It’s repairs. What does this have to do with COVID? asks Graham.

The US bailout allocated $10.4 billion to agriculture and about half would go to disadvantaged farmers, the Washington Post reported, citing Farm Bureau estimates. About a quarter of disadvantaged farmers are black, and the funds would go to grants, debt relief, education, training and other aid, according to the Post.

Black farmers have lost more than 12 million acres of land in the United States over the past century due to “systemic racism, biased government policy, and social and business practices that have denied African Americans access fair to the markets,” reported the Washington Post.

Under the stimulus package, payments of up to 120% would go to ‘socially disadvantaged’ farmers, who a House code defines as those who have been ‘subjected to racial or ethnic bias because of their identity as members of a group without regard to their individual qualities.

On Wednesday, House Majority Whip James Clyburn, a Democrat from South Carolina, criticized Graham for his comments.

“Lindsey Graham is from South Carolina. He knows the history of South Carolina. He knows what the state of South Carolina and this country has done to black farmers in South Carolina. They haven’t done to white farmers. We’re trying to save people’s lives and livelihoods. He should be ashamed of himself,” Clyburn said in an interview with CNN. “I think you should go back and maybe going to church Get in touch with his Christianity.

The issue of racial inequality extends far beyond agriculture. In 2016, the average net worth of a white family in the United States was $171,000, ten times more than the average net worth of a black family, according to the Brookings Institution, which cited centuries of discriminatory policies against the black community as a reason. for the disparity.

Democrats are expected to pass the relief package on Wednesday as part of the reconciliation process, which allows for “fast-track review” of spending, tax and debt legislation and allows lawmakers to bypass the 60-vote requirement to make advancing legislation in the Senate.

The bill, which passed the Senate 50-49, will head to President Joe Biden’s desk for his signature once the House approves changes to his version – putting Congress on track to implement the legislation before millions of Americans lose their unemployment benefits on March 14. .

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Summer Lin is McClatchy’s real-time reporter. She is a graduate of the Columbia University School of Journalism and was previously a news and policy writer for Bustle News.

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