The Trump administration can pay billions of dollars in trade aid to farmers and ranchers this year, and in 2020, too, if it wishes, because Congress quietly and reliably replenishes funding for the Commodity Credit Corp., sometimes referred to as the “USDA’s bank.” (No paywall) (No paywall)
The U.S. House opened debate on a mammoth federal spending bill, including money for the USDA, on Tuesday under the threat of a presidential veto of the $322 billion bill. The White House said it opposed half a dozen USDA provisions in the bill, including language that would preclude relocating two research agencies to Kansas City and implementing a new inspection system for hog-slaughter plants.
President Trump says his administration will "make it up" if farmers and ranchers are hurt by Chinese trade retaliation. Two agricultural leaders in Congress were skeptical of possible politically driven bail-outs on Tuesday, with Senate Agriculture chairman Pat Roberts saying, "We don't want another subsidy program. We need to sell our product."