With congressional elections coming soon, the government action underscored administration concern about damage to USA farmers from Trump's trade policies and the potential for losing House and Senate seats in the Midwest and elsewhere in November.
All programs are supported under the Commodity Credit Corporation, and the package does not require Congressional approval. It's as simple as that - and everybody's talking!
"We want to diffuse the situation as soon as possible, to de-escalate this before it blows up in our faces, doing harm to the transatlantic relationship, our economies, and the global order", Malmstrom said last week. "The move is an indication that Mr. Trump - ignoring the concerns of farmers, their representatives in Congress, and even some of his own aides about the adverse consequences of a trade war he says he relishes - plans to plow forward in escalating his tariff tit-for-tat around the world", The New York Times's Julie Hirschfeld Davis and Ana Swanson say.
Those affected economies have in turn targeted United States agricultural products, including soybeans, dairy, meat, produce and liquor.
Trump and Juncker were expected to make statements at a joint event following their meeting at the White House on trade, USA officials said.
After Beijing retaliated in kind, Washington announced levies on an additional $200 billion worth of products and threatened more, targeting potentially all of China's exports to the USA - including Trump's $1 apiece re-election flags. "I applaud the Administration for taking this needed action, and I am confident that President Trump, Secretary Perdue, and Ambassador Branstad are all working diligently to open China's markets to greater trade in Iowa's agricultural products". Those states are full of farmers who could seek relief from the federal aid package. Rand Paul (R-KY) tweeted.
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Some Republicans several months ago had warned against using the CCC as part of a trade-war related bailout, saying it could distort market forces and pay farmers for products they don't produce.
A group representing soybean farmers also opposes the administration's plan, and called instead for the elimination of tariffs.
"Warming up for the meeting, President Trump tweeted yesterday that "Tariffs are the greatest!". I don't fault the President for trying to get a better deal for Americans, but it's not fair to expect farmers to bear the brunt of retaliation for the entire country in the meantime. "This bailout compounds bad policy with more bad policy". Two wrongs don't make a right.
"The $12 billion in farm aid announced today will provide a short-term fix, but it's not a long-term solution".
But intra-party condemnation of Trump's trade policy was swift, particularly from Republicans from Midwest and Southern states where the farming industry will be hit hardest.
"Tariffs are not the answer".