Senior government officials, including some in the White House, privately expressed concern that the Trump administration’s nearly $30 billion bailout for farmers needed stronger legal backing, according to multiple people who participated in the planning.
The bailout was created by the Trump administration as a way to try to calm outrage from farmers who complained they were caught in the middle of the White House’s trade war with China. In an attempt to pacify farmers, the Agriculture Department created an expansive new program without precedent.
As part of the program, the USDA authorized $12 billion in bailout funds last year and another $16 billion this year, and Trump has said more money could be on the way.
But two Agriculture Department officials involved in the bailout program told The Washington Post they were worried the funding could surpass the original intent of the New Deal-era Commodity Credit Corporation, which is being used to distribute the money. The CCC, as it is known, had previously been used only to create substantially more limited programs. The officials spoke on the condition of anonymity to avoid professional repercussions.