UPDATED: 1:08 p.m.
The Agriculture Department is announcing a $12 billion “short-term” plan to help U.S. farmers hurt by retaliatory tariffs.
Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue says the plan will help a broad number of farmers deal with the cost of “disruptive markets” as U.S. trading partners have retaliated for President Donald Trump’s tariffs on imported goods.
Agriculture officials say the plan will not require congressional approval. It involves direct payments to farmers, the purchase of excess food and trade promotion programs to help create new export markets.
Trump said separately during a speech in Kansas City that “farmers will be the biggest beneficiary” of his trade agenda as he seeks better trade agreements.
The Trump administration is preparing a plan to provide billions of dollars in emergency aid to farmers who have been hurt by tariffs. That’s according to two people who have been briefed on the plan who spoke on condition of anonymity ahead of a formal announcement.
The Agriculture Department was expected to announce the plan later Tuesday.
This comes as President Donald Trump appears at the Veterans of Foreign Wars national convention in Kansas City in the heart of the nation’s farm country. The plan aims to provide temporary relief to farmers who have faced retaliation from U.S. trade partners during Trump’s escalating trade dispute with China.
The administration has slapped tariffs on $34 billion in Chinese goods and China retaliated with duties on soybeans and pork.
House Speaker Paul Ryan says lawmakers are making the case to President Donald Trump that tariffs are “not the way to go.”
The Republican leader told reporters Tuesday, “I’ve made it pretty clear I don’t think tariffs are the right answer.”
Ryan said he understood Trump’s goal – of trying to get a “better deal for Americans” – but he disagreed with the president’s strategy. Ryan said he doesn’t support tariffs. He added that, “Tariffs are taxes.”
Ryan’s remarks came a couple hours after Trump tweeted that “Tariffs are the greatest!” and threatened to impose additional penalties on U.S. trading partners.
The president is meeting with European officials on Wednesday at the White House. The U.S. and European allies have been at odds over Trump’s tariffs on steel imports and are meeting as the trade dispute threatens to spread to automobile production.