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Top Democrat attempting to block trade aid

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House Appropriations Committee Chair Nita Lowey of New York is proposing to block a White House request regarding its farm trade aid program. A review of the draft legislation says it would potentially mean trouble for President Trump’s ability to direct aid payments to thousands of American farmers. A key Republican lawmaker says the Democrat’s move could potentially stall a key bill needed to avoid another government shutdown.

The farm bailout is one of several unresolved issues that lawmakers will have to work through to meet a deadline by the end of this month. Up until now, the payments haven’t needed congressional approval. However, the timing of the next round of payments is directly tied to approval from Congress. The USDA is planning to spend about $28 billion in payments over two years. However, the program Trump is using for the payments has a $30 billion spending limit, which they’re expected to hit this year before completing the second round of payments.

Republicans have said they won’t support the government funding bill if it leaves the farm payment issue unresolved.

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