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.

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.