Tuesday, November 30, 2010

House Passes Claims Settleman Act of 2010

John Boyd
The House passed the Claims Settlement Act of 2010 today by a vote of 256-152. The legislation includes a $4.6 billion settlement in the Pigford-Cobell lawsuits. Companion legislation passed the Senate on November 19. President Obama will sign the bill into law. Black farmers will receive $1.15 billion to settle discrimination claims against the Agriculture Department. The bill also included $3.4 billion for American Indians who said the Interior Department had swindled them out of royalties since the 19th century. The bill now goes to the House.  John Boyd, president of the National Black Farmers Association, has been a tireless advocate for passage of the legislation.

Statement by President Obama on House Passage of the Claims Settlement Act of 2010
"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 over the management of Indian trust accounts and resources. I want to thank Attorney General Holder and Secretaries Salazar and Vilsack for all their work to reach this outcome, and I applaud Congress for acting in a bipartisan fashion to bring this painful chapter in our nation’s history to a close.

"This bill also provides funding for settlements reached in four separate water rights suits brought by Native American tribes, and it represents 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."

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