Jul 24, 2018

White House unveils $12 billion plan for U.S. farmers hit by trade war

President Trump. Photo: Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images

Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue on Tuesday unveiled details of an emergency plan to extend $12 billion in aid to farmers hit by retaliatory tariffs caused by President Trump’s escalating trade war.

Why it matters: The plan has received backlash from farm-state conservatives who advocate for free market economics. Earlier this year, Axios reported that Trump floated a similar idea of creating subsidy payments for farmers, but it was shot down by Republican lawmakers.

The details: Perdue argued this a "short term" plan that would give President Trump enough time to work on long-term trade deal. He singled out China for imposing what he called "illegal retaliatory tariffs."

  • Under the program, the government will make direct payments to farmers and ranchers who produce soybeans, corn and hogs, purchase various commodities from farmers and distribute them to food banks and other nutrition programs, and develop new export markets with the private sector.
  • Officials said the plan doesn't require congressional approval, but added that congress has been notified.

The backdrop: Canada, China, Mexico, and the European Union have responded to the administration's tariffs on steel and aluminum. Beijing recently retaliated with duties on soybeans and pork, affecting 10 states that primarily grow the crop — nine of which voted for Trump in 2016.

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Trump administration asks Congress for $2.5 billion to fight coronavirus

President Trump with Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar at the White House in September. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

The Trump administration sent a letter to Congress Monday requesting a funding commitment of at least $2.5 billion to help combat the spread of the novel coronavirus.

Details: The request for a lump sum account for the Department of Health and Human Services includes $1.25 billion in new funds to fight COVID-19 and $535 would come from untouched funds for the Ebola virus.

WHO won't call coronavirus a pandemic as cases spread

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's Health Ministry. Note: China numbers are for the mainland only and U.S. numbers include repatriated citizens.

The World Health Organization will not yet call the coronavirus a pandemic, claiming that needs across affected countries are too varied and the classification would increase fear, per a briefing Monday.

The big picture: As South Korea and Italy stepped up emergency measures in efforts to thwart the spread of the virus, WHO expressed concern about infections with no clear link to China. COVID-19 has killed at least 2,620 people and infected almost 80,000 others, with all but 27 deaths occurring in mainland China.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 4 hours ago - Health

The global scramble to contain the coronavirus

Taking precaution, in the Philippines. Photo: Ezra Acayan/Getty Images

The coronavirus is spreading quickly in cities nowhere near Wuhan, China, and the window to prevent a global pandemic is narrowing.

Zoom in: Here's a look at what comes with a coronavirus outbreak in communities outside China that have been hardest hit so far.

Go deeperArrow4 hours ago - World