The chairs of four House Agriculture Subcommittees issued a joint statement today in response to USDA’s announcement of details on aid for farmers hurt by the Administration’s trade war. Livestock and Foreign Agriculture Chairman Jim Costa of California; Nutrition, Oversight, and Department Operations Chair Marcia L. Fudge of Ohio; General Farm Commodities and Risk Management Chair Filemon Vela of Texas; and Biotechnology, Horticulture, and Research Chair Stacey Plaskett of the Virgin Islands, raised concerns about the long-term impacts of the trade war, as well as unintended consequences of payments by USDA to farmers.
“Trade wars are not good, nor are they easy to win. While these second Market Facilitation Program payments will undoubtedly help farmers in tough economic conditions, they continue to tell us loudly and clearly they want fair access to global markets, not one-off handouts from the Federal government.
“We’re concerned about fairness and the equity of payments across crops and commodities, including specialty crops, dairy, and livestock products. We question how this program will affect our World Trade Organization commitments, especially given concerns raised by our trading partners after the first round of trade aid.
“We are alarmed that this bailout will take valuable resources away from USDA’s implementation of programs in the 2018 Farm Bill and the recently passed Disaster Supplemental that help farmers in dire need. And we’re very troubled that this second bailout comes alongside drastic cuts to nutrition programs for our most vulnerable.
“The Administration needs to face the fact that its trade war isn’t accomplishing anything but added pain for our farmers.”