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Trump woos farmers with promise of $14 billion in pandemic aid

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Cows are feeding at Mancebo Holsteins in Tulare, California, U.S., July 24, 2018. REUTERS/Jane Ross

In a bid to win over voters in US farm states, President Donald Trump announced up to $14 billion in aid to farmers and ranchers hurt by the coronavirus pandemic.

With just six weeks left until the presidential election, Trump made the promise at a rally in Wisconsin late Thursday, but the funds come from an existing program and it is unclear how much additional money is left to spend.

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The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) provided details Friday of the new round of payments, which will distribute whatever funds remain from a replenishment provided by Congress to farmers unable to sell their products or who are facing higher costs.

“America’s agriculture communities are resilient, but still face many challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said in a statement.

The second round of the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP) is aimed at “agricultural producers who continue to face market disruptions and associated costs because of COVID-19,” and will run through the end of the year, the statement said.

Congress provided another $14 billion in July to the program and USDA continues to process applications for that money, so it is unclear how much will remain to help farmers in the new round.

“We do not know exactly how much of that money will be left after all applications have been processed. It would be irresponsible to count on this money for the second round of assistance before we have finished processing all applications,” a USDA spokesperson said.

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The department said it listened to concerns from farmers and improved on the first round of the CFAP, which comprised $9.5 billion in funding from the CARES Act that Congress approved in late April, and another $6.5 billion from the USDA.

National Farmers Union President Rob Larew said the additional support “is absolutely crucial” but must correct flaws in the initial design that favored large farms over smaller ones and “sent millions of dollars to foreign-owned operations.”

In the second round, it is “just as crucial that it is distributed fairly and equitably,” Larew said in a statement.

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2020 Election

‘Zombie’ Trump campaign blasted by conservative strategist: ‘They’re going to be among the Walking Dead’

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President Donald Trump's campaign decisions were ridiculed by a conservative campaign strategist on MSNBC.

"The Week" anchor Joshua Johnson interviewed Susan Del Percio, a longtime GOP strategist and senior advisor to the Lincoln Project.

"Susan, what about the differences in strategy between the Biden campaign and the Trump campaign in terms of how they spend their dollars? We know that Trump campaign has often favored online advertising vs. on air advertising. They have some pretty creative stuff coming out in the last few days, one of the latest pieces they put out is called 'How to Catch a Zombie, Doe Biden edition' -- with a picture of Joe Biden, I think, between words so he looks a little zonked out."

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2020 Election

Trump’s attacks on voting ‘backfired and only inspired people to march early to the polls’: report

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Clark County Registrar of Voters Joseph Gloria has had three decades of election experience in Nevada, but had never seen a "perfect storm," as he called it, like this before. With all hands on deck for this election cycle, Gloria helped put together an entire mail-in voting system in less than 90 days to deal with the coronavirus pandemic.

“I’m as comfortable as I can be because I have an excellent staff,” Gloria said. “We learned some things in the primary and are feeling good about this cycle, but unfortunately we have people at the national level who are encouraging people to do things that disrupt the polling place and make it a challenge for us to process votes.”

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2020 Election

Watch Kamala Harris laugh out loud when 60 Minutes asks her if Trump is racist

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Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) laughed when asked if President Donald Trump was racist during a 60 Minutes interview that aired Sunday evening on CBS.

"Do you think the president is racist?" Nora O'Donnell asked.

"Yes, I do," Harris replied, with a laugh. "Yeah, I do."

"You can look at a pattern that goes back to him questioning the identity of the first Black president of the United States," she said, referring to the racist "birther" conspiracy theory he pushed against Barack Obama.

"You can look at Charlottesville, when there were peaceful protesters and on the other side neo-Nazis and he talks about fine people on either side," she continued. "Calling Mexicans rapists and criminals? His first order of business was to institute a Muslim ban?"

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