Republicans denounce Trump plan for 'welfare' for farmers hit by tariffs

In attempting to patch things up with farmers hurt by the trade war he initiated, President Trump managed to anger both farm-state Republicans who say their constituents would rather sell their crops than collect a government subsidy — and representatives of non-farm states saying, “How about us?”

Trump on Tuesday announced a $12 billion bailout for American farmers whose export markets have been hit by retaliatory tariffs from China.

“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,” Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., told reporters in Washington Tuesday. “It’s hard to believe there isn’t an outright revolt right now in Congress.”

Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski also bristled about singling out farmers who are already feeling the negative effects of Trump’s escalating trade war with China and the European Union.

“What about the manufacturing sector? What about the energy sector? The oil and gas industries?” Murkowski said Tuesday. “Where do you draw the line? I’ve got some real concerns.”

18 PHOTOS
A look at Duncan Farms in Polo, Illinois as a trade war looms
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A look at Duncan Farms in Polo, Illinois as a trade war looms
A pig, nearing market weight, stands in a pen at Duncan Farms in Polo, Illinois, U.S. April 9, 2018. Picture taken April 9, 2018. REUTERS/Daniel Acker TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Farmer Brian Duncan stands for a portrait in a building of pigs nearing market weight on his farm in Polo, Illinois, U.S. April 9, 2018. Picture taken April 9, 2018. REUTERS/Daniel Acker
Hog buildings stand at Duncan Farms in Polo, Illinois, U.S. April 9, 2018. Picture taken April 9, 2018. REUTERS/Daniel Acker
Pigs nearing market weight stand in pens at Duncan Farms in Polo, Illinois, U.S. April 9, 2018. Picture taken April 9, 2018. REUTERS/Daniel Acker
One-month old pigs stand in a pen at Duncan Farms in Polo, Illinois, U.S. April 9, 2018. Picture taken April 9, 2018. REUTERS/Daniel Acker
One-month old pigs stand at an automated feeder, where a soybean and corn based feed meal is distributed, at Duncan Farms in Polo, Illinois, U.S. April 9, 2018. Picture taken April 9, 2018. REUTERS/Daniel Acker
Farmer Brian Duncan tends to an automated feeder machine in a barn containing one-month old pigs, on his farm in Polo, Illinois, U.S. April 9, 2018. Picture taken April 9, 2018. REUTERS/Daniel Acker
Several hobby cows stand outside a barn at Duncan Farms in Polo, Illinois, U.S. April 9, 2018. Picture taken April 9, 2018. REUTERS/Daniel Acker
Farmer Brian Duncan exits a room of one-month old pigs on his farm in Polo, Illinois, U.S. April 9, 2018. Picture taken April 9, 2018. REUTERS/Daniel Acker
A building containing hogs stands near a field which will soon be planted with soybeans at Duncan Farms in Polo, Illinois, U.S. April 9, 2018. Picture taken April 9, 2018. REUTERS/Daniel Acker
Farmer Brian Duncan adjusts a temperature control panel outside a room of one-month old pigs on his farm in Polo, Illinois, U.S. April 9, 2018. Picture taken April 9, 2018. REUTERS/Daniel Acker
A hog building stands beyond a grain bin at Duncan Farms in Polo, Illinois, U.S. April 9, 2018. Picture taken April 9, 2018. REUTERS/Daniel Acker
Pigs nearing market weight stand in a pen at Duncan Farms in Polo, Illinois, U.S. April 9, 2018. Picture taken April 9, 2018. REUTERS/Daniel Acker TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Feed hoppers stand outside a hog building at Duncan Farms in Polo, Illinois, U.S. April 9, 2018. Picture taken April 9, 2018. REUTERS/Daniel Acker
A chute used to direct pigs to/from transport trucks stands outside a hog building at Duncan Farms in Polo, Illinois, U.S. April 9, 2018. Picture taken April 9, 2018. REUTERS/Daniel Acker
Pigs nearing market weight stand in a pen at Duncan Farms in Polo, Illinois, U.S. April 9, 2018. Picture taken April 9, 2018. REUTERS/Daniel Acker
One-month old pigs stand in pens at Duncan Farms in Polo, Illinois, U.S. April 9, 2018. Picture taken April 9, 2018. REUTERS/Daniel Acker
Farmer Brian Duncan greets a pig as he enters a building containing hogs nearing market weight on his farm in Polo, Illinois, U.S. April 9, 2018. Picture taken April 9, 2018. REUTERS/Daniel Acker
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Already miffed by the president’s actions on trade, adding subsidies for farmers is seen by many Republicans in Congress as making an unfortunate situation worse.

“This trade war is cutting the legs out from under farmers and White House’s ‘plan’ is to spend $12 billion on gold crutches,” Sen. Ben Sasse, R-Neb., told the New York Times. “This administration’s tariffs and bailouts aren’t going to make America great again, they’re just going to make it 1929 again.”

Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., also broke with the president over the targeted assistance to farmers. 

The president, meanwhile, pushed his $12 billion plan at a speech in Kansas City, Mo., before the Veterans of Foreign Wars, just hours after he assured Americans that his own Republican colleagues were mistaken about tariffs.

Trump warned his audience “what you’re seeing and what you’re reading is not what’s happening,” and that “farmers will be the biggest beneficiary” of his implementation of tariffs. 

“Watch,” Trump said. “We’re opening up markets. You watch what’s going to happen. Just be a little patient.”

So far, the Trump administration has imposed tariffs on $34 billion in Chinese goods, inviting retaliatory tariffs from Beijing on imports, including U.S. soybeans and pork. Trump has also threatened to levy duties on another $500 billion on Chinese products, a move that would likely result in stronger actions by China.

19 PHOTOS
Impact of trade tensions between US and China
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Impact of trade tensions between US and China

Head chef Liang Xin poses with a piece of beef imported from the U.S. in the kitchen at Wolfgang's, a high-end steak house in East Beijing's Sanlitun district, China, April 6, 2018. Liang said U.S. beef has always been limited in China, so he doesn't know how customers would react if the restaurant has to raise prices.

(REUTERS/Thomas Peter)

Liu Anqi rolls dough in flour made from imported grain at the baking studio she runs with friends, in Beijing, China, April 12, 2018. Liu has just opened a bakery in Beijing with her friend. She also teaches customers how to make cakes with a brand of flour that uses only wheat from the United States and Canada. "Flour is one of the most important ingredients in baking and its quality varies with different brands," Liu said, adding that finding a new brand would be time-consuming and higher taxes on this wheat would force her to raise cake prices and tuition fees, which could turn customers away. 

(REUTERS/Thomas Peter)

A detail of the Harley-Davidson brand name is photographed on the motorcycle of Guo Qingshan in his village outside Beijing, China, April 7, 2018. "I love the sound of the engine and the muscle of the motor. When I ride it, I feel free and proud," Guo said. However, Guo has his limits. If prices rise, Guo said he wouldn't contemplate buying another Harley. 

(REUTERS/Thomas Peter)

Fried vegetables are seen in the kitchen of the restaurant where chef Liu Ming works, in Beijing, China, April 11, 2018. Liu said the oil that his restaurant uses is produced with soybeans imported from the United States, and the business won't change the brand even if prices rise. "We use this oil because it gives the food a bright colour and does not leave a strange smell or taste," he said. "We don't know what will happen to our dishes if we change the oil."

(REUTERS/Thomas Peter)

Xie Guoqiang, who runs the Vin Place wine and liquors store, poses for a photograph inside the shop in Beijing, China, April 10, 2018. Xie said in an interview that the tariffs would have little impact on his business, as the shop mostly imports wine and liquors from France, Chile, Austria and Argentina.

(REUTERS/Damir Sagolj)

A bottle of Jack Daniel's Tennessee whiskey is seen on a shelf at the Vin Place wine and liquors store in Beijing, China April 10, 2018. Xie Guoqiang, who runs Vin Place, said in an interview that the tariffs would have little impact on his business, as the shop mostly imports wine and liquors from France, Chile, Austria and Argentina.

(REUTERS/Damir Sagolj)

Liu Ming, a chef at a Sichuan restaurant in Beijing, poses for a picture at the back door of the kitchen where he works in Beijing, China, April 11, 2018. Liu said the oil that his restaurant uses is produced with soybeans imported from the United States, and the business won't change the brand even if prices rise. "We use this oil because it gives the food a bright colour and does not leave a strange smell or taste," he said. "We don't know what will happen to our dishes if we change the oil." 

(REUTERS/Thomas Peter)

Liu Anqi uses flour made from imported grain at the baking studio she runs with friends, in Beijing, China, April 12, 2018. Liu has just opened a bakery in Beijing with her friend. She also teaches customers how to make cakes with a brand of flour that uses only wheat from the United States and Canada. "Flour is one of the most important ingredients in baking and its quality varies with different brands," Liu said, adding that finding a new brand would be time-consuming and higher taxes on this wheat would force her to raise cake prices and tuition fees, which could turn customers away. 

(REUTERS/Thomas Peter)

A bottle of oil is seen in the kitchen of the restaurant where chef Liu Ming works, in Beijing, China, April 11, 2018. Liu said the oil that his restaurant uses is produced with soybeans imported from the United States, and the business won't change the brand even if prices rise. "We use this oil because it gives the food a bright colour and does not leave a strange smell or taste," he said. "We don't know what will happen to our dishes if we change the oil." 

(REUTERS/Thomas Peter)

Zang Yi poses for a picture as her Tesla car is charging at a charging point in Beijing, China, April 13, 2018. Zang said if the trade tensions resulted in pricier U.S. imports, she wouldn't consider American brands when the time comes to buy a new car. "With the tariff, I would have to pay tax of 100,000 yuan to 200,000 yuan if I were to buy a new Tesla," she said. 

(REUTERS/Thomas Peter)

Zang Yi charges her Tesla car at a charging point in Beijing, China, April 13, 2018. Zang said if the trade tensions resulted in pricier U.S. imports, she wouldn't consider American brands when the time comes to buy a new car. "With the tariff, I would have to pay tax of 100,000 yuan to 200,000 yuan if I were to buy a new Tesla," she said. 

(REUTERS/Thomas Peter)

A Chinese woman tastes wine during a wine seminar in Beijing, China, April 14, 2018.

(REUTERS/Thomas Peter)

Shan Yuliang, salesperson at a cigarette and wine shop, poses with a carton of Marlboro cigarettes in Beijing, China, April 8, 2018. "The moment I saw the news about the trade war on the internet, I felt something big was coming. Previously I would not think about what brand to buy. Now I will give it a second thought and avoid buying American products to defend my country," Shan said. 

(REUTERS/Thomas Peter)

Wine tasting teacher Li Yangang poses for a picture during a wine seminar in Beijing, China, April 14, 2018. Li said in an interview that reduced sales of American wine in China would not hurt the local market because of its relatively small market share. "Australian wine and French wine would have a bigger impact," he said. 

(REUTERS/Thomas Peter)

Cartons of Marlboro cigarettes are seen stacked up on a shelf between Chinese cigarettes at a cigarette and wine shop in Beijing, China, April 8, 2018. 

(REUTERS/Thomas Peter)

Student He Bingzhang lights a Marlboro cigarette in Beijing, China, April 8, 2018. "I don't think the trade war would change my behaviour. I don't smoke a lot, probably one pack a month. Even if it costs 100 yuan, I would still buy Marlboro because it is affordable," He said. 

(REUTERS/Thomas Peter)

Student He Bingzhang poses for a picture as he smokes a Marlboro cigarette in Beijing, China, April 8, 2018. "I don't think the trade war would change my behaviour. I don't smoke a lot, probably one pack a month. Even if it costs 100 yuan, I would still buy Marlboro because it is affordable," He said. 

(REUTERS/Thomas Peter)

Guo Qingshan poses on his Harley-Davidson motorcycle in his village outside Beijing, China, April 7, 2018. "I love the sound of the engine and the muscle of the motor. When I ride it, I feel free and proud," Guo said. However, Guo has his limits. If prices rise, Guo said he wouldn't contemplate buying another Harley. 

(REUTERS/Thomas Peter)

Beef imported from the U.S. is seen at Wolfgang's, a high-end steak house in East Beijing's Sanlitun district, China, April 6, 2018. A 15-kg whole cut of beef from the United States is around 20 percent more expensive than its Australian counterpart, said Daniel Sui, deputy general manager at Wolfgang's. "Customers like U.S. beef because it tastes juicy and tender, but Wolfgang's only sells around seven to eight pieces of U.S. imported beef steak each day," Sui said. "The limited supply is because the Chinese government bans feed additives and only 5 percent of U.S. beef is qualified for export." 

(REUTERS/Thomas Peter)

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To drive his point home that his critics were wrong and that “trade wars are good and easy to win,” Trump also pinned blame on a familiar target.

“Don’t believe the crap you see from these people, the fake news,” he said, spurring boos from the crowd aimed at reporters in attendance.

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