Did North Dakota’s Delegation Learn from the Last Week?

Americans were relieved from another impending tax increase from tariffs on Mexican goods over the weekend. Congratulations are in order, I suppose. Last week, Republicans in Congress learned what can happen when they show independence from the White House when the President pushes forward with a bad idea. Make no mistake, the public pressure likely turned back the full-steam-ahead approach from the President. Did North Dakota’s delegation learn from the situation?

I was direct about North Dakota’s delegation last week. While Republicans from other states were joining right-leaning organizations in opposing the shoot-from-the-hip tariffs, ND’s delegation was silent. Days later, Armstrong took a public stand. Whether Armstrong’s courage grew before or after the writing was on the wall is something we won’t know. Either way, Senator John Hoeven should be a little ashamed for not taking a stand yet again. What is the point? 

The deal to avert tariffs that President Trump announced with great fanfare on Friday night consists largely of actions that Mexico had already promised to take in prior discussions with the United States over the past several months, according to officials from both countries who are familiar with the negotiations. –New York Times (6/8/19)

Then there is Senator Kevin Cramer. Cramer spoke to reporters about there being enough Republican Senators opposed to Trump’s desired tariffs to overturn them but never declared his position. Following weekend developments, Cramer took to Twitter to tout the President and essentially blame Democrats.

Cramer needs a quick history reminder. In 2013, the Democratically-led Senate passed a bipartisan immigration reform package. Both North Dakota’s Senators, Democrat Heidi Heitkamp, and Republican John Hoeven voted for that reform. The package had many provisions President Trump is asking for including merit-based immigration and more border patrol. That bipartisan package was stalled in the Republican-controlled House by Speaker Boehner and enabled by Congressman Kevin Cramer. After all, there was an election months away and immigration is easy to campaign on. Cramer and his Republican colleagues kicked the can down the road.

Fast-forward to 2017. Republicans controlled the House, the Senate, and had a Republican President in the White House. For the next two years, Cramer and his party failed to pass immigration reform with complete control of the federal government. No wonder the National Border Patrol Council (NBPC) – the same group that endorsed Donald Trump’s candidacy – endorsed Senator Heidi Heitkamp over Cramer. She had a track record of working on border policy. Cramer had cheap political talk to offer. Evidence shows that continues to this day.

Tyler Axness