Ag Dept to Send $12B to Farmers Hurt by Tariffs

(CN) – The Agriculture Department is announcing a $12 billion “short-term” plan to help U.S. farmers hurt by retaliatory tariffs.

Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue says the plan will help a broad number of farmers deal with the cost of “disruptive markets” as U.S. trading partners have retaliated for President Donald Trump’s tariffs on imported goods.

But not everyone from America’s heartland was happy with the announcement.

Shortly after the funding was announced, Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., was heard outside a GOP lunch saying that with that $12 billion in trade assistance to farmers from Trump administration “this is becoming more and more like a Soviet-type of economy here” with “commissars” sprinkling around benefits.

Agriculture officials say the plan will not require congressional approval. It involves direct payments to farmers, the purchase of excess food and trade promotion programs to help create new export markets.

Trump said separately during a speech in Kansas City that “farmers will be the biggest beneficiary” of his trade agenda as he seeks better trade agreements.

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