We finally found an aspect of President Donald Trump’s behavior that could move Senate Republicans to action — tariffs. As a punitive, unrelated response to continued streams of asylum seekers arriving at the southern U.S. border, Trump has announced plans for a 5 percent tax on all imports from Mexico that’s set to go into effect in coming days, and considering that the move is essentially a tax on Americans trying to do business with Mexico and bring their goods into the U.S., Republicans are ticked off, above the level of the normal “thoughts and prayers” or toothless condemnations they might offer after other widely contested events.
Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) was particularly pointed in his assessment of the situation, sharing:
‘We’re holding a gun to our own heads.’
Following a recent closed-door sit down with White House officials covering the administration’s tariff plans, fellow Texas Republican Ted Cruz asserted that “you didn’t hear a single yes” from the Republican caucus over the plans, adding that the plans constitute a “$30 billion tax increase on Texans,” which is not at all off point. If the administration follows through on their threat to hike the tariff all the way up to 25 percent, a full $26.75 billion of Texas imports could be threatened, hitting the local economy from both directions as they struggle to bring in what goods they can and have to pay more for what does make it.
‘I will yield to nobody in passion and seriousness and commitment for securing the border. But there’s no reason for Texas farmers and ranchers and manufacturers and small businesses to pay the price of massive new taxes.’
Trump has consistently refused to acknowledge that the revenue brought in by his tariffs comes from Americans. In the case of the harsh import taxes he’s imposed on hundreds of billions of dollars of Chinese goods, he’s painted the money as coming from China, but that’s a lie. Americans trying to keep running their businesses in the modern, globally connected environment by bringing in goods from China are the ones paying the price of Trump’s 25 percent tariffs, as will be the case should Trump follow through on his plans for Mexico.
At a press conference during his trip this week to the United Kingdom, he asserted that he was still planning to follow through with the tariffs, adding that he thought it would be “foolish” for Senate Republicans to try and stop him.
Even still, Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wi.) suggested that his chamber could muster a veto-proof, two-thirds majority to back a resolution disapproving of the tariffs, and even longtime Trump ally Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said that his caucus’s “hope is that the tariffs will be avoided.”
The Trump team has suggested they could be imposed concurrent to a national emergency declaration over the situation at the southern border, which would open the door to a substantive condemning resolution along those lines like the one that both Congressional chambers passed without a veto-proof, two-thirds majority following Trump’s national emergency declaration meant to open up money for a southern border wall.
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