Two U.S. senators have opted to take advantage of President Donald Trump’s $12 billion bailout for American farmers, intended to offset the negative effects of Trump’s trade war.
Senators Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and John Tester (D-Mont.) both applied for the federal assistance for their farms, according to HuffPost.
In the spring, Grassley issued a statement saying that the Trump administration had a “responsibility to help” farmers hurt by retaliatory tariffs set by China after Trump enacted tariffs against Chinese imports.
Bailout money isn’t being provided to other industries impacted by the trade war. The U.S. Department of Agriculture has already cut some 7,800 checks worth a total of $25 million for farmers, many in the swing states of the Midwest that voted for Trump in 2016.
It remains unclear just how much either senator will receive from the bailout.
“Sen. Grassley participates in farm programs for which he is legally eligible, including this program, like every other farmer,” his spokesman Michael Zona told the Post. The typical farmer, however, does not impact Trump administration policies the way senators can.
Tester’s spokesman told the Post in an email that he, “like most Montana farmers, is feeling the impacts of the escalating trade war,” and is calling for an end to the tariffs.
According to HuffPost, several other members of Congress are eligible to apply for assistance, though it is unknown if they have or will do so.
Twelve members have said though they are likely eligible, they will not attempt to secure the funds.
The USDA has refused to identify farmers applying for or receiving the bailout checks. The nonprofit Environmental Working Group (EWG) has filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request for those records. “One way or the other, EWG plans to get this information so that taxpayers who are paying the tab know where their money is going,” the organization said in a statement.
While the bailout program has been pitched as aid to struggling farmers, Grassley’s net worth was listed in 2015 as $3.3 million, and Tester’s was $3.9 million that year, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.