Trump Administration to Give $12 Billion to Farmers Caught in Trade War

Farm near Amana, Iowa / Getty Images
July 24, 2018

The Trump administration will provide financial assistance to farmers caught in a trade war initiated by the implementation of tariffs.

The administration's $12 billion plan will use two commodity support programs in the farm bill and USDA regulatory authority meant to stabilize the agricultural economy in periods of economic instability, according to two sources who spoke to Politico.

Farmers have suffered from retaliatory tariffs on farm goods such as pork, beef, and soybeans following Trump's imposition of tariffs. The administration imposed steel and aluminum tariffs on some of the United States' biggest trading partners and also added 25 percent duties on $34 billion of imports from China earlier this month. The president has signaled he would consider additional rounds of tariffs against China, which could affect over $5o0 billion of Chinese goods.

Though tariffs are hurting farmers' incomes, and are already causing price hikes on consumer goods such as washing machines, President Donald Trump declared Tuesday that "tariffs are the greatest."

It is unclear whether the administration's solution, which has been in the works for months, will satisfy Republicans in Congress.

Sen. Joni Ernst (R., Iowa), who serves a state heavily bruised in the trade war, has said farmers want "trade, not aid."

House Speaker Paul Ryan (R., Wis.) told reporters Tuesday that while he supports Trump's goal of trying to get a "better deal for Americans," tariffs are "not the right answer."

"Tariffs are taxes," he said.