Late Thursday night, President Trump tweeted his administration would be taking steps to impose tariffs on Mexico. The move, reportedly “hurried out the door” by White House aides creates a lot of questions on what comes next. For example, how does this impact implementation of the United States-Mexico-Canada-Agreement (USMCA)? Better yet, does this latest tariff move give members in Congress a pause at all in dealing themselves a hand? In North Dakota, not a chance.
This rushed moved is further proof the administration doesn’t have a plan. I made that argument when the newest round of tariffs was imposed on China and the second round of farm subsidy was revealed.
A senior administration official and two sources familiar said business groups and federal agencies were not informed of the president’s tariff threat ahead of time. A fourth source familiar said the relevant congressional committees were not notified. – NBC News
In response to Thursday’s announcement, Republican Senator Chuck Grassley said, “Trade policy and border security are separate issues. This is a misuse of presidential tariff authority and counter to congressional intent.” Grassley continued to say the new tariffs, “would seriously jeopardize passage of USMCA.”
Grassley wasn’t the only Republican to publicly talk against the administration’s Mexico tariff move. “If the president goes through with this, I’m afraid progress to get this trade agreement across the finish line will be stifled,” Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, continued “While I support the need for comprehensive border security and a permanent fix to illegal immigration, this isn’t the right path forward.” Republican Senator Pat Toomey said the tariffs were the “wrong remedy.”
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce also announced they’re, “exploring what legal options might be available.”
Imposing tariffs on goods from Mexico is exactly the wrong move. These tariffs will be paid by American families and businesses without doing a thing to solve the very real problems at the border. Instead, Congress and the president need to work together to address the serious problems at the border. -Executive Vice President and Chief Policy Officer of the U.S. Chamber Neil Bradley
Instead of speaking out with authority like the above mentioned Republican leaders and right-of-center organizations, North Dakota’s delegation has once again shrunk from their responsibility. Hoeven, Cramer, and Armstrong have seemingly submitted themselves to whispers of “thank you sir, may I have another,” as though they are taking part in a fraternity initiation to stay in the administration’s good graces instead of playing the role of an elected member of Congress. Their collective silence on the President’s move that may jeopardize passage of the USMCA is a complete reversal of their finger pointing at Congressional Democrats to get the agreement passed. They hope nobody will notice when in reality their absence has unfortunately come to be expected.
Immigration policy and trade policy should be handled separately. The position from the President has gone from Mexico will pay for the wall to using emergency powers forcing Americans to pay for the border wall. With the new tariffs, Americans will be taxed on goods from Mexico. Both positions should be met with “no thanks,” instead of silence from North Dakota officials.