There were many critics of President Joe Biden’s $1.9T pandemic relief package. Many said it was simply too expensive, and didn’t like how the money was being allocated.
On the surface, the plan was supposed to help business owners and other workers. Those Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans did seem to work — but for many, there were strings attached.
And now, a federal judge has halted a program designed to aid “socially disadvantaged” farmers.
Basically, there were provisions in the package that allowed forgiveness of PPP loans to farmers based on their race. This was due to “social inequities,” apparently.
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But it didn’t go over well.
In April, Republican Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller sued the Biden administration for this move, claiming it violated the U.S. Constitution and Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
He argued that you couldn’t give people financial breaks based entirely on the color of their skin. As Courthouse News reported:
The lawsuit says the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan passed by Congress last month includes provisions for the forgiveness of loans to ‘socially disadvantaged’ farmers or ranchers of up to 120% of the value of the loan.
It claims other federal laws limit help for white farmers and ranchers, including the Agriculture Department being required to give preference to grant applications filed by ‘socially disadvantaged’ farmers or ranchers.
Not long after, a dairy farmer in Wisconsin with two prosthetic legs sued the Biden administration for the same reason.
All told, a dozen farmers from nine states joined the lawsuit.
And it has had a big impact (via The Daily Wire):
NBC News reported on Friday that a federal judge in Wisconsin ordered a temporary halt to the $4 billion program, ruling that the white farmers who filed lawsuits ‘are likely to succeed on the merits of their claim.’
Judge William Griesbach dropped the gavel on the situation, saying the USDA’s “use of race-based criteria in the administration of the program violates their right to equal protection under the law.”
Many Republicans will call this a significant win for the farmers of America, and for equality.
Granting financial forgiveness or rewards based on the color of one’s skin certainly sounds like the textbook definition of racism. Hiding behind a general “inequities” argument doesn’t change that.
When the plan was revealed, it quickly garnered plenty of pushback and flak for this very reason.