Tariffs for Farmers, Ivanka Shuts Down Her Brand and A New VA Secretary

Farmers will be granted up to $12 billion in emergency aid to help combat the retaliatory tariffs in the ongoing “trade war” with China and trade partners. Secretary of Agriculture, Sonny Perdue announced that the plan would provide direct assistance and other temporary relief for farmers through the USDA’s commodity program. There will not be immediate implementation of the new plan Trump announced that this was a “great economic revival” and to “stick with us” and "Don't believe what you hear on the fake news.” as he continues to work on a trade deal to benefit  farmers. The plan is intended to be a stopgap in order to allow Trump to negotiate a long term trade policy with China, the EU and other trade partners. After just hours of the plan’s announcement, there has already been backlash from within the President’s own party. House Speaker Paul Ryan of Wisconsin said lawmakers are making the case to Trump that tariffs are "not the way to go." Sen. Ben Sasse, R-Neb., said the plan would spend billions on "gold crutches,” and that "America's farmers don't want to be paid to lose — they want to win by feeding the world," he said. "This administration's tariffs and bailouts aren't going to make America great again, they're just going to make it 1929 again." Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., compared the trade assistance to something out of the former Soviet Union, "This is becoming more and more like a Soviet-type of economy here" with "commissars" passing out benefits, Johnson said.

Ivanka Trump had an announcement of her own today. The daughter of the president formally decided to shut down her company. This move was accompianted by he decision to pursue a career in public policy. "When we first started this brand, no one could have predicted the success that we would achieve. After 17 months in Washington, I do not know when or if I will ever return to the business, but I do know that my focus for the foreseeable future will be the work I am doing here in Washington, so making this decision now is the only fair outcome for my team and partners...I am beyond grateful for the work of our incredible team who has inspired so many women; each other and myself included. While we will not continue our mission together, I know that each of them will thrive in their next chapter." The clothing brand has not been consistently successful but the brand did  see an increase in profits in early 2017 after her father's presidential win, but since that gain, profits have declined.

The Senate has confirmed Robert Wilkie to be the secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs. Wilkie is no stranger to government positions as he previously served as the undersecretary at the Pentagon. The biggest issue facing Wilkie is the staff shortages currently in the department. Last month, the VA inspector general concluded the agency has more than 2,300 clinical vacancies. As of July 1, nearly 700,000 veterans were waiting longer than a month for appointments. Some 76,000 of those were waiting longer than six months. Despite the known vacancies the agency has not made any concrete steps to modernize or reorganize.