For the second time in 14 months, President Trump announced a multibillion-dollar government intervention to prop up the farm sector, a prominent casualty of the Sino-U.S. trade war. The first bailout, announced in April 2018, has sent around $8.3 billion in cash to growers so far; the new rescue will buy "agricultural products from our Great Farmers, in larger amounts than China ever did, and ship it to poor & starving countries in the form of humanitarian assistance," the president said on social media.
When Congress passes disaster bills, the government commonly compensates growers for loss of crops and livestock with the proviso they buy crop insurance in the future so they are protected against catastrophic damage. Companion bills filed by Democrats in the House and Senate would go a step farther by giving farmers the money to pay for the policies — a "terrible" expansion of the federally subsidized program, says a small-farm advocate.
Congress is expected to send President Trump a farm bill this week that makes nieces, nephews and first cousins of farmers eligible for crop subsidies, a setback in the decades-old drive to control farm spending. Farm groups learned of the decision ahead of the formal release of the final version of the bill. House and Senate negotiators signed the so-called conference report on Monday, the first step toward a final vote on the $87 billion-a-year bill.
With the farm bill potentially days away from congressional approval, House and Senate negotiators are ready to let distant relatives of farmers qualify for crop subsidies, said an ag lobbyist. Agricultural leaders in Congress hope to release details of the 2018 farm bill early this week, which would open the path to a final vote in each chamber in a matter of days.
Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley feigned shock on Thursday that House and Senate negotiators did not want his farm subsidy reform in the final version of the five-year farm bill. “Surprise, surprise, surprise,” he said scornfully.
With congressional leaders calling the shots on forestry language, and with an incendiary Republican proposal for strict SNAP work requirements apparently off the table, negotiators reached a tentative agreement Wednesday on a farm bill that is evolutionary rather than revolutionary.
House and Senate negotiators are considering whether to expand farm subsidies and make cousins, nieces and nephews of farmers eligible for up to $125,000 a year in crop supports, said a handful of budget hawks, environmentalists and small-farm advocates on Monday. House Agriculture chairman Michael Conaway "has made this is biggest goal to achieve in the farm bill," said Nan Swift of the National Taxpayers Union.
House Agriculture chairman Michael Conaway would move hundreds of millions of dollars in crop subsidies to cotton growers to the disadvantage of northern farmers, said Sen. Debbie Stabenow, one of the “big four” farm bill negotiators. “It’s not just about SNAP,” …
Two days after farm bill negotiators declared unity in working together on the 2018 farm bill, the House author of the most controversial proposal on the table — stricter work requirements for food stamp recipients — attacked Senate negotiators as weak-willed.
The USDA has a "glaring loophole" in its farm subsidy rules that allows people to collect up to $125,000 a year in subsidies for providing farm management, said Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley, who is trying to get a tougher set of rules into law.