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

President TrumpDonald John TrumpWarren defends, Buttigieg attacks in debate that shrank the field Five takeaways from the Democratic debate in Ohio Democrats debate in Ohio: Who came out on top? 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 PerdueOvernight Energy: Trump administration issues plan to reverse limits on logging in Tongass National Forest| Democrats inch closer to issuing subpoenas for Interior, EPA records| Trump's plan to boost ethanol miffs corn groups and the fossil fuel industry Trump administration issues plan to reverse limits on logging in Tongass National Forest We must reject the 'go big or go home' mentality of modern agriculture MORE to put together an aid plan.

Last month, Commerce Secretary Wilbur RossWilbur Louis RossDemocrats inch closer to issuing subpoenas for Interior, EPA records Overnight Energy: Dems subpoena Perry in impeachment inquiry | EPA to overhaul rules on lead contamination tests | Commerce staff wrote statement rebuking weather service for contradicting Trump Commerce staff drafted statement rebuking weather service for contradicting Trump's hurricane predictions 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 CorkerTrump's GOP impeachment firewall holds strong George Conway hits Republicans for not saying Trump's name while criticizing policy Trump announces, endorses ambassador to Japan's Tennessee Senate bid MORE (R-Tenn.), a frequent Trump critic.

Wisconsin Sen. Ron JohnsonRonald (Ron) Harold Johnson10 top Republicans who continue to deny the undeniable GOP braces for impeachment brawl Bipartisan senators want federal plan for sharing more info on supply chain threats 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) MoranMcConnell signaling Trump trial to be quick, if it happens Overnight Defense — Presented by Huntington Ingalls Industries — Furor over White House readout of Ukraine call | Dems seize on memo in impeachment push | Senate votes to end Trump emergency | Congress gets briefing on Iran Senate again votes to end Trump emergency declaration on border wall 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 GrassleyTrump's latest plan to boost ethanol miffs both corn groups and the fossil fuel industry Syria furor underscores Trump's isolation GOP braces for impeachment brawl 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 BaldwinFederal funding for Chinese buses risks our national security Democrats threaten to withhold defense votes over wall The Trump downturn: Trouble ahead for the US economy MORE (D-Wis.) wrote a letter to Perdue, Ross and U.S. Trade Representative Robert LighthizerRobert (Bob) Emmet LighthizerOn The Money: Economy adds 164K jobs in July | Trump signs two-year budget deal, but border showdown looms | US, EU strike deal on beef exports Chinese, US negotiators fine-tuning details of trade agreement: report The Trump economy keeps roaring ahead 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.