American Rescue Plan

by | Apr 28, 2022 | English

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TOPIC PROPOSAL:
I work for the US Department of Agriculture as an intern over the summer and winter breaks from school. A current event that has been of the utmost importance at the USDA is one that I believe that I can give more insight on. The issue at hand is that after the recent turn of presidency there has been a new act that has been put into place. The Biden administration started the “American Rescue Plan” where socially disadvantaged farmers would be forgiven of their loans. This means that African-American, Native American, Hispanic, Asian American, and Pacific Islander farmers would be provided with loan forgiveness of 120% of their federal Farm Service Agency loan balance as of 1/1/21. This had become a problem because the basis of which the USDA would declare the ethnicity of the farmers would be based on a form that the farmer personally filled out before the American Rescue Plan was public information. The form in question also roughly states “Stating race or ethnicity is optional and in no way will affect the loan making process.” (This print was put there due to a different act that sought to end the denying of loans due to racial discrimination in the past). This means that farmers may have skipped the optional question on the form and are not having their loan forgiven even though they are minorities. Another problem with this act is that non-minorities saw it as racist and discriminatory that other farmers were having their loans forgiven just because of their skin color. This led to an uproar in the agriculture industry which led to angry farmers coming into our offices with questions about their financial status everyday.
I believe this would be a great topic for my research because I work for the USDA and we have had to try to fix this problem locally since the start of 2021. Also, primarily Caucasian farmers who are technically Native American felt that they were cheated out of loan forgiveness. I am technically Native American as well and I feel for the farmers that could not get the loan forgiveness due to a technicality.
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