Congressman Steve King (R-IA) released the following statement after filing an amendment today to H.R 2112, the Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration and Related Agencies Appropriations Act of 2012, that prevents any funds appropriated under the act from being used to settle claims associated with the controversial and fraud-plagued Pigford II program.
“In the 2008 Farm Bill, Congress limited taxpayers’ exposure to the Pigford II settlement program at $100 million, a figure that was deemed sufficient to resolve the racial discrimination claims leveled against the United States Department of Agriculture by black farmers,” said King. “Since that time, a lame-duck Democratic Congress agreed to President Obama’s request to pump an additional $1.15 billion into the Pigford II settlement program, doing so even though the program is rife with credible allegations of massive fraud that have not been fully investigated. This was an irresponsible act, and it violated Congress’s responsibility to be good stewards of taxpayers’ money.”
“The new majority in the House of Representatives should not ratify the lame-duck Congress’s decision to increase American taxpayers’ exposure to Pigford II fraud. I believe that an investigation into the program will reveal that the majority of the claims that have been filed are fraudulent, and Congress should not turn a blind eye to the real possibility that the money is being used primarily to build political goodwill for the President instead of being used to properly redress the much smaller universe of people who have actually suffered harm. If passed, my amendment would put the brakes on Pigford II funding, and it would prevent the Secretary of Agriculture from paying fraudulent claims one $50,000 check at a time.”