WASHINGTON — The Trump administration announced Tuesday it will provide $12 billion in emergency relief to ease the pain of American farmers slammed by President Donald Trump’s escalating trade disputes with China and other countries.

However, some farm-state Republicans quickly dismissed the plan, declaring that farmers want markets for their crops, not payoffs for lost sales and lower prices.

“America’s farmers don’t want to be paid to lose — they want to win by feeding the world. This administration’s tariffs and bailouts aren’t going to make America great again, they’re just going to make it 1929 again.” — Sen. Ben Sasse, R-Neb

The Agriculture Department said it would tap an existing program to provide billions in direct payments to farmers and ranchers hurt by foreign retaliation to Trump’s tariffs.

With congressional elections coming soon, the government action underscored administration concern about damage to U.S. farmers from Trump’s trade tariffs and the potential for losing House and Senate seats in the Midwest and elsewhere.

The administration said the program was just temporary.

Opening Pandora’s Box

“This is a short-term solution that will give President Trump and his administration the time to work on long-term trade deals,” said Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue as administration officials argued that the plan was not a “bailout” of the nation’s farmers.

But that provided little solace to rank-and-file Republicans, who said the tariffs are simply taxes and warned the action would open a Pandora’s box for other sectors of the economy.

“I want to know what we’re going to say to the automobile manufacturers and the petrochemical manufacturers and all the other people who are being hurt by tariffs,” said Sen. John Kennedy, R-La. “You’ve got to treat everybody the same.”

Congressman David G. Valadao (R-Hanford) said farmers need access to foreign markets. Those markets have been closing because of Trump’s tariffs.

“There is no doubt farmers are struggling as a result of recently implemented tariffs,” Valadao said in a statement released by aides. “And while emergency aid is needed to help farmers withstand the downturn, what the agriculture industry really needs is access to foreign markets so our farmers can continue to feed the world while creating more jobs here at home.”

Trump’s Trade War With China

Trump declared earlier Tuesday that “Tariffs are the greatest!” and threatened to impose additional penalties on U.S. trading partners as he prepared for negotiations with European officials at the White House.The Trump administration has slapped tariffs on $34 billion in Chinese goods in a dispute over Beijing’s high-tech industrial policies. China has retaliated with duties on soybeans and pork, affecting Midwest farmers in a region of the country that supported the president in his 2016 campaign.

Trump has threatened to place tariffs on up to $500 billion in products imported from China, a move that would dramatically ratchet up the stakes in the trade dispute involving the globe’s biggest economies.Rep

Republicans Rip Trump Farm Aid Plan

The plan magnified objections among many Republicans that the tariffs amount to taxes on American consumers.

House Speaker Paul Ryan of Wisconsin said lawmakers are making the case to Trump that tariffs are “not the way to go.”

Sen. Ben Sasse, R-Neb., said the plan would spend billions on “gold crutches.”

“America’s farmers don’t want to be paid to lose — they want to win by feeding the world,” he said. “This administration’s tariffs and bailouts aren’t going to make America great again, they’re just going to make it 1929 again.”

Congressman David G. Valadao (R-Hanford) echoed Sasse’s comments.

“There is no doubt farmers are struggling as a result of recently implemented tariffs,” Valadao said in a statement released by aides. “And while emergency aid is needed to help farmers withstand the downturn, what the agriculture industry really needs is access to foreign markets so our farmers can continue to feed the world while creating more jobs here at home.”

Trump: Fair Deals or Else

Before departing for Kansas City, Trump tweeted that U.S. trade partners need to either negotiate a “fair deal, or it gets hit with Tariffs. It’s as simple as that.”

The president has engaged in hard-line trading negotiations with China, Canada, and European nations, seeking to renegotiate trade agreements he says have undermined the nation’s manufacturing base and led to a wave of job losses in recent decades.

The imposition of punishing tariffs on imported goods has been a favored tactic by Trump, but it has prompted U.S. trading partners to retaliate, creating risks for the economy.

Trump has placed tariffs on imported steel and aluminum, saying they pose a threat to U.S. national security, an argument that allies such as the European Union and Canada reject. He has also threatened to slap tariffs on imported cars, trucks and auto parts, potentially targeting imports that last year totaled $335 billion.

In this July 18, 2018 photo, soybean farmer Michael Petefish walks through his soybeans at his farm near Claremont in southern Minnesota. American farmers have put the brakes on unnecessary spending as the U.S.-China trade war escalates, hoping the two countries work out their differences before the full impact of China’s retaliatory tariffs hits American soybean and pork producers. (AP Photo/Jim Mone)

Trump: ‘Make Our Farmers Great Again’

During a Monday event at the White House featuring American-made goods, Trump displayed a green hat that read, “Make Our Farmers Great Again.”

“We’re stopping the barriers to other countries. They send them in and take advantage of us,” Trump said. “This is the way it’s going to go — make our farmers great again.”

The president is meeting with European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker on Wednesday. The U.S. and European allies have been at odds over the president’s tariffs on steel imports and are meeting as the trade dispute threatens to spread to automobile production.

Related

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

We've got issues, and we're willing to share
(but only if you want them in your inbox).