Jeff Flake Attempting to ‘Nullify’ Trump’s Pro-American Worker Tariffs: ‘We Have to Have’ More Free Trade

Jeff Flake
Bill ClarkCQ Roll Call via Getty Images

The pro-open borders, avid free trader Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) has introduced legislation to “nullify” President Trump’s tariffs on imported steel and aluminum designed to increase American manufacturing for U.S. workers.

In a speech on the Senate floor on Monday, Flake announced his legislation that would essentially bar the tariffs from being implemented. Last week, Trump made history when he signed into law a 25 percent tariff on imported steel and a 10 percent tariff on imported aluminum – a move that was welcomed by American workers who have been negatively impacted for decades by multinational free trade deals.

Flake said in his remarks that free trade and immigration are a “convenient scapegoat” for the Trump administration, and not the actual cause of outsourcing, rootless globalization, and a declined manufacturing and production base in the U.S.

Instead, Flake says “we have to have” more free trade and should have remained in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) free trade deal, which Trump pulled the U.S. out of. TPP was expected to not only eliminate millions of U.S. working and middle-class jobs, but also drive down wages for remaining American workers.

Flake said:

I understand free trade is sometimes a challenge. I understand that it’s a challenge on the campaign trail, certainly, it’s often easier to point to a shuttered factory and blame trade or immigration or some other convenient scapegoat other than what is usually the case, it’s modernization or mechanization or something that has meant that we have increased productivity–productivity or the best allocation of capital to facilitate trade. [Emphasis added]

We have to have bilateral and multilateral trade deals if we are to catch up. If we continue to withdraw from the global marketplace, we will be  left far behind. We saw this with regard to the Trans-Pacific Partnership. We pulled out of those negotiations and the other 11 countries involved simply have gone on their own, leaving us behind. This has meant, in particular, countries in Southeast Asia who would like to be part of our trade orbit have no choice but to be more reliant on China. That doesn’t serve our interests at all. [Emphasis added]

Flake’s efforts to nullify Trump’s tariffs come as he has also attempted to push a massive amnesty for millions of illegal aliens that would flood the U.S. labor market and immediately drive down wages for American workers.

Flake’s avid free trade and open borders ideology comes at the expense of American workers who have suffered from poor job growth, stagnant wages, and increased public costs to offset the importation of millions of low-skilled foreign nationals every year.

Likewise, with free trade, American workers have taken the hardest hit. For example, massive trade deficits due to free trade with Mexico have left the once-booming working and middle-class Rust Belt region crumbling, with a net total of about 700,000 U.S. jobs displaced, including:

  • 14,500 American workers displaced in Wisconsin
  • 43,600 American workers displaced in Michigan
  • 2,600 American workers displaced in West Virginia
  • 26,300 American workers displaced in Pennsylvania
  • 34,900 American workers displaced in Ohio
  • 34,300 American workers displaced in New York
  • 6,500 American workers displaced in Iowa
  • 24,400 American workers displaced in Indiana
  • 34,700 American workers displaced in Illinois

Free trade agreements like KORUS and NAFTA helped open up overseas markets for multinational companies to outsource their American manufacturing jobs to countries like Mexico, leaving millions of Americans laid off in the process.

One former steel town in West Virginia lost 94 percent of its steel jobs because of NAFTA, with nearly 10,000 workers in the town being displaced from the steel industry. Since China entered the World Trade Organization (WTO) in 2001, there have been 3.2 million American jobs lost with 2.4 million of those jobs coming from the U.S. manufacturing sector.

Flake’s effort to kill Trump’s tariffs are out-of-line with American workers who, in a video series for the White House, thanked the populist president for imposing the steel and aluminum tariffs, as Breitbart News reported.

John Binder is a reporter for Breitbart News. Follow him on Twitter at @JxhnBinder. 


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