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

Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerGOP Green New Deal stunt is a great deal for Democrats National emergency declaration — a legal fight Trump is likely to win House Judiciary Dems seek answers over Trump's national emergency declaration MORE (D-N.Y.) blasted the administration's plan to offer financial aid to farmers impacted by President TrumpDonald John TrumpJustice Department preparing for Mueller report as soon as next week: reports Smollett lawyers declare 'Empire' star innocent Pelosi asks members to support resolution against emergency declaration 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 JohnsonWhite House, GOP defend Trump emergency declaration GOP senator says Republicans didn't control Senate when they held majority GOP senator voices concern about Trump order, hasn't decided whether he'll back it 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.