Schumer blasts Trump's farm aid: It's like 'a soviet-style program'
© Greg Nash

Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerBarr to testify before House Judiciary panel Graham won't call Barr to testify over Roger Stone sentencing recommendation Roger Stone witness alleges Trump targeted prosecutors in 'vile smear job' MORE (D-N.Y.) blasted the administration's plan to offer financial aid to farmers impacted by President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump administration eyes proposal to block jet engine sales to China: report Trump takes track to open Daytona 500 Brazile 'extremely dismayed' by Bloomberg record MORE's protracted trade battle, calling it a "bailout" and comparing it to a "soviet-style program."

"The president's bailout is like a soviet-style program where the government props up an entire sector of the economy. And that characterization is one that I spoke of this morning to several colleagues, and I've now been told one of my Republican colleagues used the same characterization," Schumer said during a Senate floor speech, referring to comments from GOP Sen. Ron JohnsonRonald (Ron) Harold JohnsonFather of Parkland shooting victim calls on Congress to take action Senators to meet with Zelensky after impeachment trial Wyden, Mnuchin clash over Trump tax returns, Hunter Biden probe MORE (Wis.). 

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is offering $12 billion in aid to farmers hindered by retaliatory tariffs imposed on U.S. grain, produce and meat exports. The aid will be used to assist and buy crops from farmers, who say they've been hit hard by Trump's trade policies. 

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Senators, including GOP lawmakers, blasted the decision, arguing it didn't solve what they view as the real problem: Trump's tariff policies. The administration has slapped steep tariffs on steel and aluminum imports, sparking retaliatory penalties from key trading partners.

Several Republican senators characterized the financial aid as "welfare," with lawmakers repeatedly telling reporters after the decision that "farmers want trade, not aid."

Schumer added on Wednesday that Trump is "chasing his own tail" and "picking [economic] winners and losers." 

"The bailout is another example of President Trump lighting a fire and grabbing the nearest thing off the shelf to douse it and then patting himself on the back as to what a great guy he's been. It's not good policy. It's not good politics," he said. 

Though lawmakers have been vocally critical of Trump's trade decisions, they've been wary of directly confronting Trump.

The Senate took a symbolic shot at Trump's trade policy earlier this month. Senators are also mulling legislation that would narrow the national security provisions of the trade law, known as Section 232, but those talks have been simmering for weeks. 

Trump is meeting with a group of GOP lawmakers at the White House on Wednesday afternoon to discuss trade and the agricultural community.