In this file:
· Trump Funnels Record Subsidies to Farmers Ahead of Election Day
… The gush of funds has accelerated in recent weeks as the president looks to help his core supporters who have been hit hard by the double whammy of his combative trade practices and the coronavirus pandemic…
· McConnell plans coronavirus aid vote as Pelosi says White House stimulus plan falls short
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who is negotiating a potential stimulus deal with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, said the latest White House proposal “falls significantly short” of what is need to address the crisis.
Trump Funnels Record Subsidies to Farmers Ahead of Election Day
Despite an extraordinary government bailout, America’s agriculture sector remains under severe economic pressure.
By Alan Rappeport, The New York Times
Oct. 12, 2020
WASHINGTON — For the American farmers President Trump counts on for support, the government money is flowing faster than ever.
Federal payments to farmers are projected to hit a record $46 billion this year as the White House funnels money to Mr. Trump’s rural base in the South and Midwest ahead of Election Day.
The gush of funds has accelerated in recent weeks as the president looks to help his core supporters who have been hit hard by the double whammy of his combative trade practices and the coronavirus pandemic. According to the American Farm Bureau, debt in the farm sector is projected to increase by 4 percent to a record $434 billion this year and farm bankruptcies have continued to rise across the country.
Farmers are not the only constituency benefiting from the president’s largess: He has promised $200 prescription drug cards to millions of seniors, approved $13 billion in aid to Puerto Rico, which could help his prospects in Florida, and he directed his Agriculture Department include letters signed by him in millions of food aid boxes that are being distributed to the poor.
But few have gotten more help than the agriculture sector, which this year is expected to receive the largest government contribution to farm income since its previous record in 2005, according to the University of Missouri’s Food and Agricultural Policy Research Institute. The breadth of the payments means that government support will account for about 40 percent of total farm income this year. If not for those subsidies, U.S. farm income would be poised to decline in 2020.
“There are both economic and political motivations for these payments,” said Patrick Westhoff, who directs University of Missouri’s agriculture research center.
Last week, the Office of Special Counsel determined that Mr. Trump’s Agriculture secretary, Sonny Perdue, had improperly used his position to push the president’s re-election by promising more help for farmers. At an August event in North Carolina, Mr. Perdue violated ethics laws when he promoted Mr. Trump’s re-election during remarks about the Farmers to Families Food Box Program, saying: “That’s what’s going to continue to happen — four more years — if America gets out and votes for this man, Donald J. Trump.”
Mr. Perdue has been ordered to reimburse the government for the costs associated with his attendance at the event. In its response to the Office of Special Counsel, the Agriculture Department said that Mr. Perdue did not “encourage attendees to vote for a candidate or party or advocate for a partisan political group.”
More money for farmers will soon be on the way. Congress recently agreed...
McConnell plans coronavirus aid vote as Pelosi says White House stimulus plan falls short
o Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell plans a vote on limited coronavirus stimulus legislation based around the Paycheck Protection Program this month.
o Meanwhile, President Donald Trump tweeted that lawmakers should “go big or go home” ahead of the 2020 election.
o House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who is negotiating a potential stimulus deal with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, said the latest White House proposal “falls significantly short” of what is need to address the crisis.
Jacob Pramuk, CNBC
Oct 13, 2020
The Senate will vote on a limited coronavirus stimulus bill this month, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Tuesday, as lawmakers stumble in their push to send aid to Americans before the 2020 election.
In a statement, the Kentucky Republican said the Senate would take up aid legislation after the full chamber returns on Monday. McConnell called the plan “targeted relief for American workers, including new funding” for Paycheck Protection Program small business loans. Speaking at an event in his home state, he said the bill would also include money for schools, an unemployment insurance boost and liability protections for businesses.
McConnell said in his statement that the Senate would have enough time to both pass the relief proposal and confirm Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett “unless Democrats block this aid for workers.” Democrats have in recent days targeted Republicans for moving forward with Barrett’s nomination while millions of Americans left jobless by the virus outbreak await federal assistance.
Democrats, who blocked a roughly $500 billion Republican plan in the Senate last month, could dismiss the latest GOP proposal as inadequate. A spokesman for Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer did not immediately respond to a request to comment on whether Democrats would support the new Republican bill...