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!"