Obama Pledges to Push Congress to Fund Pigford


At today’s press conference, President Obama pledged to push Congress to fund the Pigford settlement involving the USDA and black farmers in the South.

April Ryan, the White House correspondent who asked the question, has said that the funding of the Pigford settlement would be seen as a “litmus test” in relation to the President’s commitment to African-Americans.

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OBAMA: April Ryan.

APRIL RYAN: Thank you, Mr. President. I want to ask a couple questions. On the economy, could you discuss your efforts at reviewing history as it relates to the poverty agenda, meaning LBJ, and Dr. King? And also, since Senate Republicans are holding up the issue of Cobell and Pigford II, can you make any assurances before you leave office that you will make sure that those awards are funded?

OBAMA: Let me take the second question first. For those who aren’t familiar, Cobell and Pigford relate to settlements surrounding historic discrimination against minority farmers who weren’t oftentimes provided the same benefits as everybody else under the USDA. It is a fair settlement, it is a just settlement, we think it’s important for Congress to fund that settlement. We’re going to continue to make it a priority.

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