WASHINGTON (AP)--African-American farmers with pending discrimination claims against the U.S. Department of Agriculture could collect higher settlements if a new bill becomes law.
Iowa Sen. Charles Grassley, a Republican, and North Carolina Sen. Kay Hagan, a Democrat, introduced legislation May 5 that would allow access to an unlimited judgment fund at the Department of Treasury to pay successful claims. Law enacted last year would provide only $100 million for the farmers, though the claims could cost up to $3 billion.
The government settled a class action lawsuit filed by black farmers in 1999 and has paid out nearly $1 billion in damages. Thousands of farmers from around the country said they were denied government loans and other assistance that went to white farmers.
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