Thursday, June 28, 2018

Senator Bob Corker Discussing Trade and Immigration Policy on Face the Nation

 Click here  to watch the senator's interview.

Last Sunday, Senator Corker, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, discussed trade and immigration policy in an interview on Face the Nation. Excerpts of the senator's interview follow.

On the need for Congress to reassert its constitutional authority on trade policy by passing bipartisan legislation to require congressional approval of tariffs designated under Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962:  

The president broadly has used Section 232 of the [Trade Expansion Act of 1962], which is [intended for] national security. It’s absolutely an abuse of his authorities. It’s being used against our European allies, Canada, Mexico, and many other countries… It has successfully united the world against us. There’s not a person at the White House that can articulate why they are doing this other than to create leverage on NAFTA [negotiations]. And I don’t know of a senator that isn’t concerned about the broad use of this. So, the amendment, Margaret, is just to say that if he’s going to use 232, which has never, ever been used in this way, it’s absolutely an abuse of authority, if he’s going to use it, once he completes negotiations on tariffs, he should bring it to Congress. It’s our responsibility, by the way, Margaret. You know, a tariff is a tax on Americans.
On the likelihood of congressional action on trade policy:
I think there’s a jailbreak brewing. I really do. I think people, especially as these tariffs are being put in place against us, these countermeasures, and as people realize that 22,000 companies, 22,000 companies, have asked for exemptions. The White House is only – or the Commerce Department – has only dealt with 98 of those. There’s no basis to deal with them. It’s not unlike what happened on the immigration issue where there was no preparation… So, we’re getting ready to have a similar situation to what happened on the immigration policy, and I’m hoping there will be a jailbreak and that we will move towards passing this legislation.
On family separations at the southern border:  
It is not something that appreciates these young children and certainly was done in a ready, fire, aim way, obviously. There was no preparation for it. I can’t imagine any American’s heart not going out to these families, knowing these children are being separated… so I am glad the administration took the steps they took. That’s led to another crisis, if you will, because of the 20-day rule that exists, and so, you know, the administration obviously made a large mistake. I know that some in the White House want to use the immigration issue as a force to activate the base for elections, but obviously the president realized that was a mistake, and now it’s up to us in Congress to work with them to come up with a longer-term solution.

On the likelihood of a legislative solution in Congress to families being separated at the southern border:  
I hope that will be the case. I think that the Cruz-Feinstein bill, while I’m not sure every detail has been laid out in it yet, but the fact that you’ve got two people with such ideological differences coming together on this issue does bode for some hope in the Senate.
On the latest CBS News poll finding that 73% of Republicans say those who enter the U.S. should be punished as an example of toughness, while 27% of Republicans say they should be treated well as an example of kindness: 
We do need to be a nation of laws. And we need to get this right. And we need to cause legal immigration to be easier than it is… I’ve just never been a part of a group that hated someone for wishing something better for their life. Maybe they have a little different color of their skin and they speak differently. I just have never hated someone who traveled through tough conditions to try to come to a place where they could realize their dreams… We need to enforce our laws, and when people break them, obviously, especially over and over again, there needs to be punishment. But look, again, we’ve got to realize that these people are wanting to live in a place like we live. We’re the most fortunate people on Earth to live in this country.
Rod's Comment: I am in total agreement with Senator Corker on both of these issues and agree with what he said and the tone in which he said it.  I think the Trump trade war may be a disaster for our country and undo the Trump recovery. While I do think there is a lot of opportunistic selective outrage on the part of Democrats on the child separation issue, I think the policy implementation that led to children being separated from their parents who crossed the border illegally was a colossal blunder.

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