(Washington) -- Iowa Congresswoman Cindy Axne is challenging members of her own party to include money for farmers struggling with tariffs imposed on overseas products in proposed budget bills.
Earlier this week, the West Des Moines Democrat urged House Democratic leadership to include extensions for the commodity credit corporation in a continuing resolution so that the USDA can continue payments to struggling farmers. Axne's letter to Democratic leadership was in response to a recent Washington Post report that House Democrats are attempting to block President Trump's farm bailout program in the continuing resolution the House is expected to vote on later this week. Speaking on KMA's "Morning Line" program Wednesday morning, Axne says the tariff aid is included in a measure designed to prevent a government shutdown.
"Should there be a government shutdown--we hope there isn't, obviously, like last year--this gives us the opportunity to fund government during that timeframe,' said Axne. "Unfortunately, some of the language that was included in the resolution did not include aid for our struggling farmers who are trying to ends meet because of the trade war, and I wanted to make sure they were in that. I will not support any funding bill that doesn't give our farmers that payment that they need."
Axne says bucking House leadership on the issue doesn't mean she's a fan of the Trump Administration's trade policies.
"I am not a fan of how he's approaching this," she said. "And, I'm certainly not a fan of how he's issues so many waivers that's decimating our ethanol industry. However, you don't solve this problem by cutting a lifeline to struggling farmers. What we saw here is, I think, leadership that really wanted to, quite honestly, tell Mr. Trump that some of the trade aid for some folks--big, big, big farms--is too much. But, this isn't the place to make that happen."
Axne says it's vital that farmers impacted by tariffs imposed in the U.S.-Chinese trade war receive the necessary aid.
"We've got to make sure our farmers have what they need," said Axne. "Our Iowa family farmers can provide not just food and fuel for the world, but certainly put food on their own table, and pay their own bills. So, using our farmers in pawns to any negotiation is never something I will accept on either side."
The congresswoman says area ag producers have already felt the sting of the tariff program.
"I have extreme confidence this will go through," she said. "I stood up to my Democratic party to make sure this would happen. I spoke with the speaker (Nancy Pelosi) yesterday. I spoke with folks who are working on this on the agriculture committee. Everyone knows where I stand on this, and we also have members from other agricultural states who are standing up with me. I feel confident that this will be in there, because we can't let that happen to our farmers."
You can hear the full interview with Cindy Axne on our "Morning Line" page at kmaland.com.