Overnight Finance

On The Money: Democrats make historic push for aid, equity for Black farmers | Key players to watch in minimum wage fight

Sen. Raphael Warnock (D-Ga.)
Greg Nash

Happy Monday and welcome back to On The Money, where we’re officially challenging President Biden to a game of Mario Kart at Camp David. I’m Sylvan Lane, and here’s your nightly guide to everything affecting your bills, bank account and bottom line.

See something I missed? Let me know at slane@thehill.com or tweet me @SylvanLane. And if you like your newsletter, you can subscribe to it here: http://bit.ly/1NxxW2N.

Write us with tips, suggestions and news: slane@thehill.com, njagoda@thehill.com and nelis@thehill.com. Follow us on Twitter: @SylvanLane, @NJagoda and @NivElis.

THE BIG DEAL—Democrats make historic push for aid, equity for Black farmers: Democratic senators introduced a pair of bills this week aiming to help Black farmers survive the coronavirus pandemic and reconcile a long history of mistreatment and discrimination.

  • Sens. Raphael Warnock (Ga.), Cory Booker (N.J.), Ben Ray Luján (N.M.) and Debbie Stabenow (Mich.) announced the Emergency Relief for Farmers of Color Act on Monday. 
  • Booker, Warnock and a gaggle of other senators also introduced the Justice for Black Farmers Act, which had initially been pitched in November during the previous session of Congress.

The emergency relief bill would provide $4 billion in direct payments to farmers of color and another $1 billion toward rooting out systemic racism within the Department of Agriculture that Booker and the other sponsors say has robbed Black families of the ability to build and pass on generational wealth. 

“When it comes to farming and agriculture, we know that there is a direct connection between discriminatory policies within the USDA and the enormous land loss we have seen among Black farmers over the past century,” Booker said in a statement about the Justice for Black Farmers Act. The Hill’s Marty Johnson explains here.

The history: Years of discrimination left Black farmers with more debt than their counterparts, and less land and access to credit, contributing to a decline in the number of farmers who are not white. While changes in the agriculture industry over a number of decades have also cost white families their farms, Black farmers have taken a disproportionate hit.

  • In 1920 there were more than 900,000 Black farmers in the U.S., about 14 percent of the country’s farmers at the time, per the USDA. Agency census data from 2017, however, revealed that only about 35,000 Black-owned farms remain.
  • As a whole, Black farms today make up just 1.7 percent of the nation’s 2 million farms, despite the fact that the number of Black farms has increased since the 1990s.
  • Moreover, the 2017 data showed that Black farms were grossly below the average in most revenue-related categories, only receiving about half of the government payments that an average U.S. farm receives.



Key players to watch in minimum wage fight: The battle over whether to keep a minimum wage hike in President Biden’s COVID-19 relief package is heating up, with key players on both sides of the issue digging in for the fight.

  • The debate is threatening to create deep divisions among Democrats as they move forward with an economic rescue package without GOP support.
  • Outside groups are also exerting pressure on progressive and moderate Democrats to boost the rate from $7.25, where it’s stood since 2009, to $15 an hour.

The battle over raising the minimum wage could be the most contentious intraparty debate for the Democrats since taking control of the government. Here are the main players to watch on the minimum wage fight, from The Hill’s Alex Gangitano.

    • Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.): The Chairman—Sanders, chairman of the Senate Budget Committee, is vowing that the final version of the coronavirus relief package will include language raising the rate to $15. The reconciliation process gives Sanders a great deal of power from his perch.
    • Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.V.) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.): The Moderates—Manchin, a pivotal centrist swing vote, has said he opposes a nationwide wage hike to $15 an hour. And Sinema recently said the wage increase should not be included in the coronavirus relief package.
    • Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.): The ShepherdSchumer, a co-sponsor of the Raise the Wage Act, has said he is working to see if it’s possible to pass Sanders’s bill in the COVID-19 relief plan.
    • Elizabeth MacDonough: The Senate parliamentarian—MacDonough will be forced to decide whether the minimum wage increase complies with the Byrd Rule, which determines what legislation can be passed through the reconciliation process.

ON TAP TOMORROW: Federal Reserve Governor Michelle Bowman gives a speech on community bank supervision and regulation at 11 a.m.


  • The CEO of stock trading platform Robinhood said Friday that the company could have “communicated” better to investors on its decision to restrict the buying of stocks like GameStop after they were targeted by users on a Reddit subforum. 
  • American Express disclosed on Friday that several federal agencies are probing its sales practices for its small business credit cards and consumer cards.


  • A news company in Australia has reached a deal with Google for the company to be paid to have its content displayed in Google’s News Showcase. 
Tags Bernie Sanders Charles Schumer Cory Booker Debbie Stabenow Joe Biden Joe Manchin Raphael Warnock

The Hill has removed its comment section, as there are many other forums for readers to participate in the conversation. We invite you to join the discussion on Facebook and Twitter.

Most Popular

Load more


See all Video