In just over two weeks, Congress will face another government shutdown if it doesn’t pass a new spending bill.
In a recent tweet, Iowa Congresswoman Cindy Axne said her support for a short-term funding bill, known as a continuing resolution, was contingent on “tariff aid.”
“We cannot cut a lifeline to struggling farmers,” said Axne, Friday on Twitter. “I will not support a CR that doesn’t include tariff aid. We need to fix this.”
Axne’s tweet accompanied multiple news reports suggesting House Democrats were considering a short-term spending plan that would “temporarily freeze the Trump Administration’s trade relief payments to farmers.”
According to Politico and the Washington Post, the House Appropriations Committee drafted short-term, stopgap legislation “that leaves out language requested by the White House to ensure that the Agriculture Department can continue distributing checks to farmers and ranchers burned by President Donald Trump’s trade war.”
Leading House Democrats want to send a message to President Donald Trump that they do not approve of his controversial trade tactics. Rural state Democrats like Axne, however, are not supportive of legislative maneuvers that will further harm their agricultural constituents.
In a statement, Axne’s office said she “stood up to leaders of her own party, announcing that she would not support the funding bill if it does not include trade relief payments to farmers.”
Fiscal Year 2019 ends Oct. 1. Without a new spending package for state agencies, funding will expire and government offices will be forced to close.
The sticking point here is whether to include a White House-requested provision in the spending bill to keep the Commodity Credit Corporation from exceeding its $30 billion borrowing limit, according to Politico.
According to the Sept. 12 article, so far in 2019, the USDA has paid $3.3 billion out of the $14.5 billion set aside for farm payments this year.
Iowa’s House Democrats made trade policy and its impact on the state’s agriculture industry a central part of their constituent events during the August recess, meeting with farmers and manufacturers to hear about the local repercussions of Trump’s trade wars.
By Elizabeth Meyer
Photo by Julie Fleming