GOP sen: Farm bailout is 'the government picking winners and losers'

Sen. Ron JohnsonRonald (Ron) Harold JohnsonOvernight Health Care — Presented by The Partnership for Safe Medicines — FDA restricts sales of flavored e-cigs | Proposes ban on menthol in tobacco | Left wants vote on single-payer bill in new Congress | More than 12k lost Medicaid in Arkansas Commerce Department IG to audit Trump's tariff exemptions Trump trip to rural Wisconsin highlights GOP’s turnout concern MORE (R-Wis.) said in an interview that aired on Wednesday on "Rising" said the Trump administration's plan to offer $12 billion in aid to farmers hurt by trade tariffs is the government's way of picking winners and losers. 

“I don’t want to see any government, whether it’s Republican or Democrat, picking winners and losers, and that’s exactly what that $12 billion bailout would be," Johnson told Hill.TV's Krystal Ball and Buck Sexton on Tuesday. 

"What a mess that would be. Hopefully, we can conclude those trade deals, and that never has to be implemented. There’s already being damage done. President TrumpDonald John TrumpMia Love pulls ahead in Utah race as judge dismisses her lawsuit Trump administration denies exploring extradition of Erdoğan foe for Turkey Trump congratulates Kemp, says Abrams will have 'terrific political future' MORE realizes [you need] short-term pain for longterm gain," he continued.

The Department of Agriculture announced earlier this month that it would offer $12 billion in aid to farmers hit by retaliatory tariffs slapped on U.S. grain, produce and meat exports amid President Trump's ongoing battle with trade partners. 

Trump had imposed tariffs on imported aluminum, steel and Chinese goods earlier this year, prompting China, the European Union, Canada and Mexico to target U.S. agricultural exports such as corn, soybeans, beef, poultry and apples. 

Johnson, whose state is rich in agriculture, has been one of the strongest critics of the move. 

“In Wisconsin, we’re a big agricultural state. Farmers are losing access to markets that’s taken them decades to develop," the senator said. 

"They’re not going to get those markets back if this keeps going. Steel prices are up 30 to 40 percent from domestic suppliers, so it’s made American and Wisconsin manufacturers less competitive, and that’s not a good thing." 

— Julia Manchester