Senate Democrats Report Says Trump Trade Policies Pick Winners and Losers

Senate Ag Committee Ranking Member Debbie Stabenow and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer led a group of fellow Democrats in releasing a report on the Trump Administration’s trade policies. The report says the administration’s agricultural trade aid program “is picking winners and losers in their attempt to aid farmers affected by President Trump’s turbulent trade agenda.” The Democrats say the data shows that in the wake of trade uncertainty created by the president’s actions, the $25 billion in mitigation payments to help farmers has been distributed “unevenly” across the country, benefiting some regions of the country more than others. The senators wrote a letter to Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue, saying “instead of taking a careful approach as Congress did in the recent bipartisan 2018 Farm Bill, the USDA has replaced markets with short-term inequitable payouts that lack transparency.” The report goes on to say that “the administration’s Market Facilitation Program has treated farmers “unfairly” by sending 95 percent of the top payment rates to farmers in the south, who they say have been hurt less by the trade disputes than farmers in other regions of the country. They also say the administration’s policies have helped farms owned by billionaires and foreign-owned companies. As an example, the Democrats point out that $90 million in purchase contracts went to a Brazilian company.