Tester Holds Administration Accountable on Harmful Tariffs & Market Uncertainty

Senator Defends Farmers & Ranchers From Irresponsible Trade War

(U.S. Senate)-U.S. Senator Jon Tester today voted to hold the Administration accountable to Montana farmers and ranchers and deliver certainty for the state’s number one industry.

Tester, the U.S. Senate’s only working farmer, supported overwhelmingly bipartisan legislation to give Congress a role in imposing tariffs and pushed to provide relief to agricultural producers and builders who are negatively impacted by the Administration’s escalating trade war.

“I will not allow Montana farmers, ranchers and small businesses to be used as bargaining chips in a trade war that hurts their bank accounts,” Tester said. “These tariffs are harming our state’s top industries by creating market uncertainty and driving up costs for builders and businesses. This bill gives us a seat at the table and I will keep pushing to hold Washington accountable and defend Montana ag producers from irresponsible decisions that affect the bottom line.”

The Trump Administration currently has unilateral authority to impose tariffs on other countries. President Trump earlier this year imposed tariffs on steel and aluminum imported into the United States. As a result, China, Canada, Mexico, and other nations responded with retaliatory tariffs against U.S. agriculture products.

Tester last week held an in-person listening session with Montana farmers, ranchers, and small business owners on tariffs and trade. The panelists told Tester that the tariffs are threatening to eliminate their access to international markets and driving down the price of agriculture commodities, while increasing the cost of building materials.

The price of grain in areas of Montana is down nearly 10 percent in the past month alone. A recent study published last month reports that the retaliatory tariffs against the U.S. could cost the country to lose over 400,000 jobs.

Tester recently voted for and helped pass a Farm Bill through the Senate that protects crop insurance and the other safety nets that farmers and ranchers can utilize during times of low commodity prices.

The legislation passed by a vote of 88-11.