Mar 10, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Clyburn condemns Graham for calling COVID aid to Black farmers "reparations"

House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn (D-S.C.) said Wednesday that Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) "ought to be ashamed of himself" for claiming that aid for disadvantaged farmers in President Biden's COVID relief package amounts to "reparations."

Context: The $1.9 trillion bill set to be passed by the House on Wednesday includes a $5 billion fund for disadvantaged farmers, about a quarter of whom are Black.

  • The fund is intended to help disadvantaged farmers with their debt repayments, as well as provide support for "grants, training, education and other forms of assistance aimed at acquiring land," according to the Washington Post.
  • Experts told the Post that the relief bill could be the most significant piece of legislation for Black land ownership since the Civil Rights Act of 1964, thereby attempting to right historical inequities.

Driving the news: Graham called the COVID relief package a Democratic "wish list" on Sunday and specifically called out the provisions for disadvantaged farmers, telling Fox News, "[I]f you're a white person, if you are a white woman, no forgiveness. That's reparations."

What they're saying: "Lindsey Graham is from South Carolina. He knows South Carolina's history," Clyburn shot back on CNN Wednesday.

  • "He knows what the state of South Carolina and this country has done to Black farmers in South Carolina. They didn't do it to white farmers. We're trying to rescue the lives and livelihoods of people."
  • "I think he ought to go back and maybe go to church. Get in touch with his Christianity," Clyburn added.
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