U.S. Gov. Accountability Office to investigate Trump’s Farm Bailout Program
The U.S. Government Accountability Office is opening a review of President Donald Trump’s $28 billion bailouts for farmers harmed by his trade war according to the New York Times. There are complaints that the money was mismanaged and allocated unfairly.
The investigation originated from concerns that the aid program favored large and foreign agriculture companies over small farms.
The Trump administration said farm subsidies would end this year. The program, which began in 2018, was put in place to mitigate losses for farmers who lost sales or faced newly imposed tariffs from China, the European Union, Canada, and Mexico as a result of the trade war.
The program allowed farmers who earned less than $900,000 a year to receive money if they produced one of the products that faced retaliation.
It has been requested that the GAO look at why payments disproportionately went to large farming operations versus smaller ones, if the Agriculture Department was effectively preventing fraud, waste and abuse in the program, and whether the model the USDA used to distribute payments accurately reflected trade damages that farmers experienced.
The GAO, a nonpartisan congressional watchdog, said it would take up the investigation.