Trump planning $12B in aid to farmers hard hit by tariffs

President TrumpDonald John TrumpRosenstein expected to leave DOJ next month: reports Allies wary of Shanahan's assurances with looming presence of Trump States file lawsuit seeking to block Trump's national emergency declaration MORE on Tuesday is expected to announce help for farmers who are being hit hard by billions of dollars in tariffs on their products.

The Trump administration, which has been talking about providing emergency aid to the agriculture industry, could offer upward of $12 billion in help to calm rising concerns about the trade war that could hit U.S. farmers hardest, Politico first reported.

Farmers have found themselves caught in the middle of Trump's tit-for-tat tariffs as the president escalates a global trade war.

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Agriculture groups and lawmakers have been calling on his administration to stop imposing the tariffs because their products — from pork to soybeans — are being targeted for retaliation by top U.S. trading partners.

Farmers for Free Trade, a bipartisan coalition working to oppose trade policies that hurt farmers, said "the best relief for the president’s trade war would be ending the trade war."

"Farmers need contracts, not compensation, so they can create stability and plan for the future," said Brian Kuehl, the group's executive director.

"This proposed action would only be a short-term attempt at masking the long-term damage caused by tariffs."

Trump has levied tariffs of 25 percent on imported steel and 10 percent on aluminum, which brought retaliatory duties from Canada, Mexico and the European Union, among others.

The White House also has slapped tariffs of 25 percent on $50 billion worth of Chinese imports. China quickly responded with an equal batch of duties.

So far, $34 billion in tariffs have gone into effect with another $16 billion in the pipeline.

Dozens of U.S. businesses are asking the president to forego that next batch of tariffs in hearings on Tuesday and Wednesday before the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative.

The Trump administration is expected to dip into two commodity support programs that are included in the farm bill to aid the agriculture industry.

The Agriculture Department also has broad authority to step in and provide stability to farmers hit by the duties.

The White House has been hinting for months that it was looking for a way to help farmers who would be hit by retaliatory tariffs.

In April, Trump asked Agriculture Secretary Sonny PerdueGeorge (Sonny) Ervin PerdueSenate buzz grows for Abrams after speech electrifies Dems Energy Secretary Rick Perry is designated survivor for 2019 State of the Union Live coverage: Trump delivers State of the Union MORE to put together an aid plan.

Last month, Commerce Secretary Wilbur RossWilbur Louis RossWhite House confirms new trade talks with China EU threatens ‘swift and adequate’ action if Trump imposes tariffs on imported cars Supreme Court to hear census citizenship case this term MORE told the Senate Finance Committee that "the president has directed the secretary of Agriculture to use every power that is at his disposal to help the agriculture parties who are adversely affected by retaliation."

But Ross said at the time that he didn't have any details.

Farmers have argued they don't want a government bailout, they want access to global markets that buy their exports.

GOP senators did not take kindly to the plan either, noting that the problem affecting farmers was the result of Trump's own tariff policies.

“They put in place a policy that requires our farmers to go on welfare and, you know, it’s a ridiculous policy that just needs to be reversed,” said Sen. Bob CorkerRobert (Bob) Phillips CorkerSasse’s jabs at Trump spark talk of primary challenger RNC votes to give Trump 'undivided support' ahead of 2020 Sen. Risch has unique chance to guide Trump on foreign policy MORE (R-Tenn.), a frequent Trump critic.

Wisconsin 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 (R) said that Trump's trade policies were imposing a steep price on farmers, but balked at idea of a palliative to a problem that has a cure.

“We’ll see, particularly, smaller farmers go out of business. This is a serious situation right now," he said.

“They want trade, not aid,” he added.

Sen. Jerry MoranGerald (Jerry) MoranSenators optimistic about reaching funding deal GOP senators read Pence riot act before shutdown votes On The Money: Shutdown Day 26 | Pelosi calls on Trump to delay State of the Union | Cites 'security concerns' | DHS chief says they can handle security | Waters lays out agenda | Senate rejects effort to block Trump on Russia sanctions MORE (R-Kansas) agreed, arguing that the solution was not sustainable, and only helped a portion of the people affected by tariffs.

"There is money available to tide them over, but my view is there’ll never be enough money to solve the problem. What happens when other countries gain our markets? Can you do $12 billion regularly? How long does this take?”

Sen. Chuck GrassleyCharles (Chuck) Ernest GrassleySmaller tax refunds put GOP on defensive High stakes as Trump, Dems open drug price talks Senate approves border bill that prevents shutdown MORE (R), who is from agriculture-heavy Iowa, told Ross that "we don't want money from the Treasury. We want markets."

Sen. Tammy BaldwinTammy Suzanne BaldwinKlobuchar, O'Rourke visit Wisconsin as 2020 race heats up Dems offer smaller step toward ‘Medicare for all' Overnight Health Care — Sponsored by America's 340B Hospitals — Powerful House committee turns to drug pricing | Utah governor defies voters on Medicaid expansion | Dems want answers on controversial new opioid MORE (D-Wis.) wrote a letter to Perdue, Ross and U.S. Trade Representative Robert LighthizerRobert (Bob) Emmet LighthizerTrump says no discussion of extending deadline in Chinese trade talks McConnell urges GOP senators to call Trump about tariffs Companies brace for trade war MORE on Tuesday saying that "without prompt action, we could lose farmers and the rural businesses they support and depend on at a rapid rate."

"In Wisconsin, retaliatory tariffs have impacted a variety of crops and products, from dairy products, including specialty cheeses, to kidney beans, soybeans, corn, cranberries, beef, pork, ginseng and others," she wrote.

"I am calling on the Trump administration to develop a plan that would provide immediate support to farmers unfairly hurt by retaliatory tariffs and include a strategy to maintain the strength of agriculture exports."

Niv Elis contributed.

--Updated at 2:17 p.m.