Conaway Condemns Democrats Who Threaten to Defund Farm Subsidies to Strangle Trump's Trade War With China
WASHINGTON, DC—House Agriculture Committee Ranking Member K. Michael Conaway (TX-11) made the following statement concerning House Democrats’ attempts to deny USDA the funds necessary to make Market Facilitation Program (MFP) and Farm Bill payments to farmers and ranchers via the CCC:
“House Democratic leaders are not listening to their own rank and file members and continue to hold vital aid for our farmers and ranchers hostage by blocking replenishment of the CCC. I had not waded into this issue publicly because I had hoped that cooler heads would prevail. They have not.
"I call on Speaker Pelosi and Chairwoman Lowey to stop using our nation’s farmers and ranchers and rural communities as pawns in your fight with the president. Fully fund USDA so it can do its job. It is no surprise that China would try to hold our farmers and ranchers hostage so it could continue to cheat on its trade commitments, but we should not expect the leaders of the United States House of Representatives to use rural America as a bargaining chip,” Conaway said.
Friday, The Washington Post reported that House Democrats were proposing to strip USDA of funding needed to pay trade aid to U.S. farmers and ranchers hit by unjustified retaliatory tariffs by China. The Continuing Resolution to keep the government open is delayed right now because House Democrats have been playing games with USDA’s ability to make trade aid and Farm Bill payments.
As The Washington Post article reports, House Democrats planned to deny any new funding for USDA to do its work, which would not only prevent USDA from paying trade aid but also Farm Bill support. After House and Senate Republicans strongly objected to this tactic, House Democrats shifted gears to try and sharply cut funding for USDA and attach so many strings that USDA could not do its job.
Yesterday, Republican Members of the Senate Appropriations Committee, including the Senate Majority Leader, wrote to Speaker Pelosi and House Appropriations Chairwoman Nita Lowey calling on them to fully fund USDA as Congress has always done. House Republicans fully agree with their Senate colleagues. House Democratic leadership should abandon their efforts to inflict undue harm on America’s farmers and ranchers.
According to the Washington Post, The Trump administration has relied on billions in direct payments from the USDA to farmers "to help them survive the trade war with China, as China has responded to U.S. tariffs with retaliatory actions that have devastated American agriculture."
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