WASHINGTON (AP) — A $1.25 billion settlement between black farmers and the Agriculture Department is at risk of unraveling after Congress adjourned for a two-week break without approving the spending.
The settlement, to which the Obama administration agreed last month, has been hailed as the final chapter in a decades-long struggle by African-Americans who say they faced discrimination from local USDA offices in trying to get loans or other aid.
But it included a clause allowing plaintiffs to back out if money wasn’t appropriated by March 31 — a timeline that Congress missed when it left Friday.
While plaintiffs aren’t saying they will break from the deal, a lead advocate says it’s unclear whether the dozens of lawyers involved can stick together.
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