Republican senators from agricultural states were quick to condemn President Donald Trump’s plan to offer farmers $12 billion in emergency aid to offset the impact of the administration’s escalating trade war with China.
A number of top lawmakers said the plan does little to solve the overall problem — the Trump administration’s own trade policies — and goes against free-market principles.
“You have a terrible policy that sends farmers to the poorhouse, and then you put them on welfare, and we borrow the money from other countries. It’s hard to believe there isn’t an outright revolt right now in Congress over what is happening.”
In a statement, Tennessee Republican Sen. Bob Corker called Trump’s trade policy “incoherent” and that the administration was “offering welfare to farmers to solve a problem they themselves created.”
Corker later told Bloomberg News that it was “a terrible policy” that should have Congress revolting.
Sen. Ben Sasse, R-Neb., said in a statement: “This trade war is cutting the legs out from under farmers and the 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.”
Responding to a speech Trump made Tuesday in Kansas City, Mo., in which he claimed farmers would benefit from his tariffs, Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, said: “The president’s going to have to say more than ‘I like the farmers and I support the farmers,’” Bloomberg News reported.
Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wisc., said Trump’s bailout plan was downright un-American.
“This is becoming more and more like a Soviet type of economy here. Commissars deciding who should be granted waivers. Commissars in the administration trying to figure out how they’re going to sprinkle around benefits,” he said, according to Politico.
Trump appeared undeterred, tweeting Tuesday that “Tariffs are the greatest!”