Congressman Robert Aderholt (R-Haleyville) welcomed the announcement by U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue’s that the U.S. may create a $12 billion program to make payments to farmers who have been negatively impacted from foreign governments retaliating against American farm products in response to Trump’s decision to impose tariffs on foreign manufactured goods where he believes the trading is not fair.
“President Trump and Secretary Perdue took action to stand by farmers who are suffering from illegal trade retaliation,” Congressman Aderholt said. “Secretary Perdue called me earlier Tuesday to discuss these measures. The actions and funding announced demonstrate that the President has not forgotten the American farmer and that agricultural producers will not bear the brunt of unjustified retaliation by foreign governments.”
“As Chairman of the Agriculture Subcommittee of the House Appropriations Committee, I have worked to ensure that protective measures and funding would be available should our nation’s agriculture producers be confronted with such abusive policies enacted by foreign leaders,” Rep. Aderholt continued. “Any funds spent will be temporary. This will ensure that our farmers are able to make ends meet while the Trump Administration works out more fair deals for farmers, ranchers, and producers who want to sell their products overseas.”
“I applaud President Trump for standing-up to China and other foreign government’s unfair trade practices,” Aderholt said. “If our markets here are open to their goods then their markets should be open for American agriculture and manufacturing.”
Aderholt’s Fourth Congressional District opponent. Lee Auman (D) disagreed and blamed President Donald J. Trump’s policies for the farmers’ problems.
“You can’t start a trade war and act surprised when you see casualties,” Auman said. “Robert Aderholt’s statements on the $12 billion federal bailout for agriculture miss the mark completely. If my opponent cared about farmers, he should have voted on the Farm Bill this year. If he was actually in tune with industry in this district, he would have joined with Governor Ivey and our senators to speak out against the bad trade policy that caused this problem. Instead, he decided that pandering to the president was more important than the needs of his constituents.”
“This is a $12 billion expense we shouldn’t have to pay,” Auman continued. “The president should never have imposed tariffs that hindered our farmers’ ability to sell in foreign markets. Are we going to bail out every industry impacted by dangerous trade policy? Will our representative sign off on every multi-billion dollar check we shouldn’t have to write? When I am in office, I will stand strong against any policy that hurts industry in our district. I will protect jobs, no matter who is in the White House.”
The Alabama Farmers Federation welcomed the announcement from Sec. Perdue of the $12 billion aid package.
The Federation’s Mitt Walker said that the aid will serve as a temporary bridge to better trade deals for U.S. farmers and the nation.
“We appreciate President Trump’s administration recognizing the impact intense trade negotiations are having on U.S. farmers and providing assistance to weather tough economic times,” said Mitt Walker, the Federation’s director of national programs. “Alabama farmers remain hopeful the ultimate solution will be a healthy trade environment where U.S. agriculture can compete on a level playing field with the rest of the world.”
American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall praised the aid package but encouraged continued work toward improved trade.
“This should help many of our farmers and ranchers weather the rough road ahead and assist in their dealings with their financial institutions,” Duvall said. “We are grateful for the administration’s recognition that farmers and ranchers needed positive news now, and this will buy us some time.”
“This announcement is substantial, but we cannot overstate the dire consequences that farmers and ranchers are facing in relation to lost export markets,” Duvall continued. “Our emphasis continues to be on trade and restoring markets, and we will continue to push for a swift and sure end to the trade war and the tariffs impacting American agriculture.”
“Robert Aderholt and his DC buddies created this mess, and we in Alabama are paying the price,” Auman insisted.
The general election between Aderholt and Auman will be November 6.
(Original reporting by ALFA’s Jeff Helms contributed to this report.)