Sen. Lindsey Graham generated controversy this week after he criticized portions of the upcoming, $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill, specifically the sections of the bill that heavily favor African-American farmers.
According to The Hill, during a recent Fox News interview, Graham explained why he believes doling out aid to Black farmers equates to the Democrats’ long-standing wish of shelling out reparations.
“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 percent of your loan … if you’re socially disadvantaged, if you’re African American, some other minority. But if you’re [a] white person, if you’re a white woman, no forgiveness. That’s reparations. What does that have to do with COVID?” Graham said.
Not surprisingly, a number of Democrats, including Rep. James Clyburn, immediately jumped on Graham for making the statements, essentially accusing Graham of overlooking race issues that Black farmers have dealt with for decades.
“We’re trying to rescue the lives and livelihoods of people. He ought to be ashamed of himself. He knows the history in this country, and he knows what happened to Black farmers. … Lindsey ought to be ashamed,” Clyburn said in response, during a recent CNN interview.
Clyburn then attacked Graham’s faith, accusing the South Carolina senator of not being in touch with God because he made an observation that the COVID-19 bill favors everyone other than white farmers, many of which are struggling just as bad as Black farmers during the course of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I think you ought to maybe go back and go to church. Get in touch with his Christianity,” Clyburn said of Graham.
According to the Progressive Farmer, the farm aid for “disadvantaged farmers” is as follows:
Among the pieces for agricultural aid, the bill would provide payments of up to 120% of farm-loan indebtedness for USDA direct or guaranteed loans for farmers considered socially disadvantaged — defined as Black or African American, American Indians or Native Alaskans, Hispanics, Asians and Native Hawaiians or Pacific Islanders. The bill would allow USDA “such sums as may be necessary” to pay off the loans. The extra 20% is built in to pay off expected tax debt from the loan.
The Congressional Budget Office projects the loan forgiveness for socially disadvantaged farmers to cost about $4 billion.
While Graham may have tip-toed into exaggeration with his “reparations” comment, given that it’s technically not the case, it’s at least a fair observation to determine why farmers who don’t fit into the aforementioned race brackets aren’t entitled to loan forgiveness programs, having suffered through the Democrat-led pandemic shutdowns and a multitude of problems that followed just like everyone else.
This shouldn’t be a political issue on either side. Farmers are the backbone of this country, which is something Democrats either can’t seem to grasp or aren’t willing to admit, and above EVERY other group and demographic, they should have absolute top-priority concerning extra aid and other beneficial programs to get them back on track, no matter if they’re Black, white, Asian or Hispanic.
ARTICLE SOURCE: thefederalistpapers.org