Senate Democrats release report critical of Trump administration trade aid | TheFencePost.com

Senate Democrats release report critical of Trump administration trade aid

A group of Senate Democrats, led by Senate Agriculture Committee ranking member Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., today released a report on the Trump administration’s agricultural trade aid program charging that it “is picking winners and losers in their attempt to aid farmers affected by President Trump’s turbulent trade agenda.”

The report says “The data shows that in the wake of the trade uncertainty created by the president’s actions, the $25 billion in mitigation payments to help farmers has been distributed unevenly across the country, benefitting some regions more than others.”

In a letter to Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue delivering the report, the senators wrote, “Instead of taking a careful approach like Congress did in the recent bipartisan 2018 farm bill, the USDA has replaced markets with short-term, inequitable payouts that lack transparency.”

The report says that “the administration’s Market Facilitation Program (MFP) has treated farmers unfairly by, among other things, sending 95% of the top payment rates to southern farmers, who have been harmed less than other regions, and helping farms owned by billionaires as well as foreign-owned companies, including awarding $90 million in purchase contracts to a Brazilian company.”

The senators urged Perdue “to improve its trade assistance program to better support small farmers and pursue a focused trade policy to rebuild the markets American farmers have lost.”