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John Shedd, 85, loads a container with Bt-corn harvested from his son's farm. Photo: Scott Olson/Getty

Republicans are fuming at the Trump administration's plans to offer $12 billion in emergency aid to farmers hurt by retaliatory tariffs — with several lawmakers calling the funds "gold crutches," and comparing the proposal to something out of Soviet Russia.

Why it matters: This mass dissension from the right calls into question the overall effect of Trump's trade war. Agricultural groups and Democrats have also been critical of package.

What they're saying
  • Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.): The situation is "more and more like a Soviet-type of economy here. Commissars in the administration trying to figure out how they’re going to  sprinkle around benefits ... Farmers actually want the free market system to work as best as possible and they want access to these overseas markets."
  • Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.): "The administration finally seems to understand that the Trump-Pence tariffs are hurting the American people ... Instead of offering welfare to farmers to solve a problem they themselves created, the administration should reverse course and end this incoherent policy."
  • Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ken.): "Tariffs are taxes that punish American consumers and producers ... the answer is remove the tariffs."
  • Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.): “This trade war is cutting the legs out from under farmers and White House’s ‘plan’ is to spend $12 billion on gold crutches. America’s farmers don’t want to be paid to lose they want to win by feeding the world."
  • Brian Kuehl, Director of Farmers for Free Trade: “Farmers need contracts, not compensation, so they can create stability and plan for the future. This proposed action would only be a short-term attempt at masking the long-term damage caused by tariffs."
  • Republican senators Jeff Flake (Ariz.), Mike Rounds (S.D.), Lisa Murkowski, (Alas.) John Thune (S.D.), Joni Ernst (Iowa) and Chuck Grassley (Iowa) have also come out hard against the plan.

Meanwhile, the president seems eager to stick to his guns, tweeting this morning that "Tariffs are the greatest!" and "All will be Great!"

Go deeper

Updated 7 hours ago - Energy & Environment

Bomb cyclone prompts blizzard warnings from Virginia to Maine

Computer model projection showing the intense storm off of Cape Cod on Jan 29, 2022, with heavy snow and strong winds lashing the coastline. (Weatherbell.com)

Blizzard warnings are in effect for 11 million people from coastal Virginia to eastern Maine as a historic winter storm is set to slam the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast beginning Friday.

Why it matters: The storm will bring hazards ranging from zero visibility amid hurricane force wind gusts and heavy snow, to coastal flooding that will erode vulnerable beaches and threaten property from the Jersey shore to coastal Massachusetts.

Updated 7 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

  1. Health: Contact tracing fizzles across America — New clues emerge on long COVID — Omicron is finally burning out — It's very difficult to get access to antiviral COVID treatments — Axios-Ipsos poll: Omicron's big numbersAnother wave of death — FDA limits use of Regeneron and Lilly antibody treatments.
  2. Vaccines: Pfizer begins clinical trial for Omicron-specific vaccine — The shifting definition of fully vaccinated.
  3. Politics: Virginia AG says public colleges can't mandate COVID vaccines —Alaska governor joins Texas lawsuit over National Guard vaccine mandate — Navy discharges 45 sailors for refusing vaccine — Spotify to remove Neil Young's music after his Joe Rogan ultimatum — White House: 60M households have ordered free COVID-19 rapid tests.
  4. World: U.K. to lift travel testing requirement for fully vaccinated — Beijing Olympic Committee lowers testing threshold ahead of Games.
  5. Variant tracker
10 hours ago - World

Biden will move U.S. troops to Eastern Europe "in the near term"

President Biden boards Air Force One at Joint Base Andrews on Jan. 28. Photo: SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images

President Biden said on Friday he plans to move U.S. troops to Eastern European and NATO countries “in the near term.”

Driving the news: “Not too many” U.S. troops, Biden added in remarks to reporters at Joint Base Andrew upon returning from a trip to Pennsylvania.