Trump administration plans to help farmers hurt by global trade tensions

(CNN) — The Trump administration will announce a plan on Tuesday to extend billions of dollars in aid to farmers negatively affected by tariffs resulting from¬†President Donald Trump’s widening trade feud with other countries.

The administration is expected to roll out the plan Tuesday afternoon, a source familiar with the matter confirmed to CNN, offering much-needed support to farmers caught up in the burgeoning trade war.

US agriculture exports have been a prime target of China and other countries that have retaliated against the series of tariffs Trump has imposed in recent months. Politico first reported newsof the aid plan.

After Trump announced plans to impose $50 billion in tariffs on Chinese imports, Beijing retaliated with plans to impose tariffs on a range of agricultural products from the US including soybeans, grains, meats and dairy products.

Canada, Mexico and the European Union also struck back at Trump’s leveling of US steel and aluminum tariffs by hitting US exports of agriculture products and other heavily exported US goods.

Trump had previously directed Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue to explore options to mitigate financial losses US farmers are suffering as trade tensions between the US and other countries heat up.

The administration has so far downplayed the impact of Trump’s ratcheting up of trade tensions on US producers by emphasizing the long-term benefits of his efforts to even out US trade relationships. The rollout of billions of dollars in aid on Tuesday will be the first action Trump has taken to protect farmers from the whiplash they have had to face in recent months.

Perdue, for one, has called the impact on farmers a “temporary situation,” but had signaled that the administration would consider efforts to mitigate farmers’ financial losses.

While Republicans in Congress refrained from directly criticizing Trump, GOP leaders and rank-and-file members advocated against tariffs and trade feuds that result from them.

Kentucky Republican Sen. Rand Paul, who recently defended Trump amid GOP criticism of his handling of Russia, also criticized Trump’s plan.

“Tariffs are taxes that punish American consumers and producers. If tariffs punish farmers, the answer is not welfare for farmers — the answer is remove the tariffs,” Paul tweeted.

House Speaker Paul Ryan Ryan offered Tuesday that he doesn’t think “tariffs are the right answer.”