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GAO will Investigate Trade Aid Funds Distribution

The Government Accountability Office is looking into President Trump’s $28 billion aid program for farmers that were hurt by trade disputes with other countries. The office is investigating allegations that the money was mismanaged and distributed unfairly.

The New York Times says the investigation came about because of a request by Michigan Democrat Debbie Stabenow, who says she thinks the aid program was biased. She argues that the program provided more funds to southern states that voted for the president and that it favored large and foreign agriculture companies over small farmers.

The administration says the aid program that began in 2018 will end this year. The program started as a $12 billion effort to help mitigate losses for farmers who faced lost sales because of retaliatory tariffs from China, the European Union, Canada, and Mexico, as a result of the trade war. The program grew to $28 billion last year as the trade war disruptions with China lingered.

Critics have said the formula that was used to determine payments for certain crops were faulty, which meant funds went to multiple big corporations or large farms, instead of the smaller family operations.

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