Members of South Dakota’s congressional delegation are grudgingly going along with President Trump’s proposed bailout.
President Trump says farmers will be the biggest winners once new trade deals are reached with countries like China. But the emergency aid is proving to be a tough-sell among lawmakers in farm country.
U.S. Senator John Thune thinks the emergency aid is a recognition by the Trump administration that tariffs are hurting the agriculture economy.
“These proposals are designed to lessen the financial impact on farmers and ranchers across the country. Frankly, I think a better solution is to open trade markets and tariff policy runs counter to that,” Thune said.
Thune says he doesn’t know how the money will be distributed, but expects the payouts to be related to the amount of bushels farmers produce.
“It’s still an inadequate and short-term solution to what we need in the longer term,” Thune said.
U.S. Senator Mike Rounds agrees, saying the emergency aid is only a quick fix, at best.
“Most people in South Dakota don’t disagree with the president in trying to fix it. What they’re concerned with is whether the strategies he’s employing are working,” Rounds said.
But Rounds says farmers need financial help to get them through hardships created by higher tariffs. But he says the bailout still might not be enough.
“Right now, just the loss in soybeans alone is over $9 billion in the United States. The total package that’s being proposed is $12 billion, so it’s probably not enough to take care of all the losses for all the different crops.”
President Trump announced Wednesday that the United States and European Union have agreed to work toward zero tariffs and that the EU will buy more U.S. soybeans.