Trump raises possibility of election year farm bailout payments

Trump raises possibility of election year farm bailout payments
Trump raises possibility of election year farm bailout payments

President Donald Trump on Friday hinted that his administration may move to add even more to the $28 billion in bailout money paid to farmers over the past two years, as ongoing trade disputes continue to exact an economic drag on U.S. agriculture.

In a post on Twitter, the President said if extra aid is needed, it will be paid for by increased tariffs levied by the Trump Administration.

"THAT AID WILL BE PROVIDED BY THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT," Mr. Trump wrote, in part.

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The most recent figures show the federal government is now collecting just under $7 billion a month in tariffs from U.S. import companies - up from about $3 billion a month when the President took office in 2017.

An average of $7 billion a month would equal close to $100 billion in tariffs, which the President says will offset the cost of bailout payments to U.S. farmers hurt by ongoing trade disputes.

Earlier this week in a stop in California, the President reminded farmers of his administration's bailout work.

"We got you $16 billion and we got you $12 billion from the year before. We took it out of the tariffs that we imposed," the President said. "People don’t say it. They never like to say it, the fake news."

"I will always keep fighting for the American farmer and rancher," Mr. Trump added.

The President's promise to funnel billions in additional aid to farmers came amid reports that China may not be buying the up to $40 billion in American farm products which had been promised as part of a 'phase one' trade deal with the U.S.

"Not good. Also not surprising," said the group Farmers for Free Trade, which has been a loud voice in the agricultural community raising concern about the impact of the President's tariffs.

While the President and top administration officials predict new trade deals with China, Japan, Canada, and Mexico will open up new markets for America's farmers - Mr. Trump's use of tariffs have caused trouble for U.S. agriculture, often resulting in retaliatory tariffs by other nations.

Democrats mocked the President's latest talk of extra farm bailouts.

"I SEE THAT YOU ARE, AGAIN, EMBRACING SOCIALISM," tweeted Rep. Ted Lieu (D-CA).