The Claims Settlement Act will allow those that have been waiting to get the relief they deserve and have long been promised. USDA has worked with Congress to include strong protections against waste, fraud, and abuse and ensure that only deserving applicants are reimbursed under this settlement.
On Monday, I joined a conference call (audio) with representatives from the Department of the Interior and Justice to applaud the Senate’s choice to approve the fully paid-for $1.15 billion settlement and to urge the House to finalize this long-awaited resolution. I applaud the House for acting so quickly, as we can focus our attention on resolving other cases and claims.
I’m proud of the many critical steps we’ve taken in the past months to right the wrongs of the past, but more work remains to be done. I have put into action an all-encompassing program to correct our past errors, learn from those mistakes, and outline definitive action to ensure there will be no missteps in the future. The process has been long and often difficult, but we can’t wait any longer to close this sad chapter in USDA’s history.
Tom Vilsack is Secretary of Agriculture