The Trump administration on Tuesday said it would provide up to $12 billion in aid for U.S. farmers to shield them from the repercussions felt by trade spats between the United States and China, the European Union and others.
On the same day that President Trump tweeted “tariffs are the greatest!”, his administration announced $12 billion dollars in aid for farmers and ranchers hit hardest by his trade tactics.
Agricultural states, many of whom backed Trump in his 2016 bid, have suffered from retaliatory measures from China, the European Union and others reacting to Trump’s trade war.
At a speech in Kansas City, Missouri, the president tried to quell concerns.
SOUDNBITE (English) US PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP SAYING:
“The farmers will be the biggest beneficiary…just be a little patient….”
But proposing federal subsidies for farmers is likely to place congressional Republicans, who typically resist government assistance programs, in a difficult position.
Some were quick to pounce.
Republican Senator Ben Sasse said “This trade war is cutting the legs out from under farmers and the White House’s ‘plan’ is to spend $12 billion on gold crutches”
Senator Rand Paul tweeted “If tariffs punish farmers, the answer is not welfare for farmers – the answer is remove the tariffs.”
Democratic Representative Jackie Speier of California, a major agricultural state, tweeted:
“OK @POTUS – you created this mess with your trade war and now you are going to spend $12 billion to placate the farmers that voted for you.”
The programs, which include direct payments to farmers, trade promotion and food purchases, do not need Congressional approval.
USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue said the programs were a short-term solution to give President Donald Trump time to negotiate trade deals