- The Washington Times - Wednesday, April 11, 2018

A Republican farm-state senator Wednesday criticized President Trump’s plans to create a multibillion-dollar relief package for farmers who would be hurt by a trade feud with China.

Sen. Ben Sasse, Nebraska Republican and a frequent critic of the president, said the tentative subsidy plan is not an effective strategy to counter unfair Chinese trade practices.

“This administration proposal is Saturday-morning-cartoon central planning,” Mr. Sasse said in a statement. “We want more trade, not less. Farmers want to feed the world and win with trade. Now, some in Washington instead want to pay them to lose. That’s a bad idea and not a real strategy to fight Chinese cheating.”

China is threatening to impose tariffs on U.S. agricultural products including pork, soybeans and apples, in retaliation for the Trump administration’s tariffs on steel, aluminum and high-tech products. During a Cabinet meeting this week, the president said U.S. farmers are likely to take the brunt of any trade war, and he promised “we’ll make it up to them.”

The Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday that the administration is developing an aid package for farmers that could climb into the billions of dollars. The report said Agriculture Department and congressional officials are examining programs such as the Commodity Credit Corp., created in 1933 to stabilize farm incomes, which allows borrowing of as much as $30 billion from the Treasury for its programs.

The White House said this week the plan from the Agriculture Department will be announced soon.

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