Kevin McCarthy Backs Trump’s Tariff Strategy Against Mexican Migration

McCarthy Backs Trump
Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty Images

Rep. Kevin McCarthy, the GOP leader in the House, is urging establishment GOP Senators to begin supporting President Donald Trump’s strategy of using tariff threats against Mexico’s policy of allowing mass migration through its territory.

On June 5, McCarthy told Bloomberg News, “We should support the president so we can get an agreement, so we don’t have tariffs. Them talking about not supporting him undercuts his ability to do that.”

The comment came hours after Trump thanked McCarthy for his prior criticism of the GOP Senators who oppose his use of tariffs to shield Americans’ wages and neighborhoods from the impact of cheap labor migration via Mexico:

“House Republicans support the President on Tariffs with Mexico all the way, & that makes any measure the President takes on the Border totally Veto proof. Why wouldn’t you as Republicans support him when that will allow our President to make a better deal.” Thank you @GOPLeader

Trump’s tweet follows his Tuesday pushback against the establishment GOP’s threat to legislatively block his tariff strategy. “I think if they do, it’s foolish. There’s nothing more important than borders.”

Many GOP Senators are speaking against Trump’s tariff strategy, even though officials expect up to 800,000 Central American migrants to cross from Mexico into the United States in the 12 months up to October. The opposition follows the GOP caucus’s back-room opposition in 2017 and 2018 to Trump’s push for a border wall and his proposals to reform immigration laws.

This new outspoken opposition to the use of tariffs is stoked by the Koch network of investors and political donors: “We don’t think they’re the right approach,” Tim Phillips, the president of Americans For Prosperity told CBS. He continued:

There have been some Republicans who have stood up and boldly said this is a bad idea … [for example, Pennsylvania GOP Sen. Pat] Toomey.. We are simply asking them [Republicans] to go back to the bedrock principles [of free trade], your roots and do the right thing here.

Democrats and the Mexican government are leveraging opposition by the Koch networks and the GOP Senators as they resist Trump’s strategy to block the huge cheap labor migration into Americans’ blue-collar workplaces, schools, and neighborhoods.

For example, Sen. Chuck Schumer declared June 4 that “President Trump has a habit of proposing asinine and dangerous policies before backing off … [and] has a habit of pretending that the very act of not following through on a misguided policy is somehow a victory. So, I wouldn’t be surprised at all if President Trump doesn’t follow through on these tariffs either.”

Trump countered with a tweet:

The establishment GOP’s opposition to Trump’s popular strategy is prompting growing criticism from the GOP’s populist wing.

Lou Dobbs, a host on the Fox Business Network, said June 4:

The Republican Party in the Senate appears, to me, to be on the verge of committing absolute suicide. This is, I think, one of the darkest moments that I have seen in our capital for a long time — this is an abject betrayal on the part of Mitch McConnell. It is an absolute shame; it is appalling, that the President of the United States has to put up with such Lilliputians as the Republican leadership … They’re telling every American who voted for this president, ‘Go to hell!’.

Trump is also getting support from some establishment GOP Senators who recognize the importance of the issue to their voters.  On June 3, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio tweeted:

The law provides @potus broad authority to control transactions with other nations if there is an unusual & extraordinary threat to the national security &/or economy of the U.S. Unlawful migration & drug flow transiting through #Mexico into U.S. clearly poses such a threat … I am hopeful this can be resolved without the need for @realDonaldTrump to use such authority. President Obrador will go down as a historic figure in #Mexico history if he can help solve this … The current situation is unsustainable. A humanitarian crisis with serious economic & security concerns for both the U.S. & #Mexico that requires decisive action. It is encouraging that Mexico agreed to talk with the U.S. this week. We need them to enforce their own laws.

Outsourcing advocate Sen. Thom Tillis also spoke up for the policy, telling Fox News that:

The president is trying to get done in a couple of years what administrations, both Democrat and Republican administrations, failed to do over the past couple of decades. He’s using a lot of devices that were considered taboo in the past. I’m a free trader, but I do think we have to make it very clear: When you take advantage of our open economy, when you steal our intellectual property, when you don’t cooperate with us on things that are also important — like securing the border — then the president has to have those tools available to come to a good solution for the American people and our trading partners.”

Tillis is up for election in North Carolina next year.

The populist pushback comes after multiple GOP Senators suggested that there are enough GOP Senators who will join Democrats to block the tariffs, and so allow Mexico’s government to keep the Central American migrants flowing into the United States:

On Tuesday, multiple GOP Senators tried to push back against Trump’s promised tariffs on Mexico if Mexico’s government does not curb the migration. The Washington Post reported June 4:

“I think this calls into question our ability to pass the USMCA [trade deal], much less get it passed by Canada and by Mexico,” Sen. John Cornyn (R-Tex.) told reporters Monday. “And so we need to put our heads together and try to come up with a solution.

North Dakota Sen. Kevin Cramer also opposes the tariff strategy against the Central American migration. “You’ve heard of people who are war weary … Senate Republicans are tariff weary,” he told Bloomberg News.

Cramer is already championing legislation — titled H.R. 1044 and S. 386 — which would reward Indian graduates with the massive prize of citizenship if they agree to take jobs from American graduates, usually at salaries far below the level paid to Americans. Cramer’s offer is also being made to Indians who take good jobs from his young American constituents in North Dakota.

“We have a lot of our members who … don’t see [tariffs] as a path to solve immigration issues,” South Dakota GOP Sen. John Thune told Bloomberg. The GOP Senators, he said, “don’t like where this is headed, about what it means for the economy generally.”

Bloomberg also reported June 4:

Senate Agriculture Chairman Pat Roberts of Kansas called the tariffs “extremely counterproductive” and Colorado Senator Cory Gardner said they are “a bad idea, plain and simple.”

Ohio Sen. Bob Portman said Trump should focus on China, not Mexico. “This again distracts us from where we’d like the focus to be … to force China to play by the rules,” Portman told CNBC.

Tenessee GOP Sen. Rand Paul predicted a possible Trump defeat by numerous GOP Senators. “I really do think that there may be enough numbers of people who think we shouldn’t be allowing one person to make this decision, that we may actually have enough to override a veto on this,” Paul told CNN.

But the Senate’s GOP leaders also admitted to Trump’s ability to protect his tariff strategy from a GOP counterattack. “The challenges legislatively on this are obvious,” Texas Sen. John Cornyn told Bloomberg. “The president of the United States is going to have a say, so the best way forward is dialogue.”

Phillips, from the Koch network, also admitted to the President’s clout. “The president, regardless of party, they do have a bully pulpit, and that’s not just a cliche, that’s the reality. They have a megaphone every day to be able [to] dominate media coverage and a national conversation,” he told CBS.

Immigration Numbers

Each year, roughly four million young Americans join the workforce after graduating from high school or university.

But the federal government then imports about 1.1 million legal immigrants and refreshes a resident population of roughly 1.5 million white-collar visa workers — including approximately one million H-1B workers — and approximately 500,000 blue-collar visa workers.

The government also prints out more than one million work permits for foreigners, tolerates about eight million illegal workers, and does not punish companies for employing the hundreds of thousands of illegal migrants who sneak across the border or overstay their legal visas each year.

This policy of inflating the labor supply boosts economic growth for investors because it ensures that employers do not have to compete for American workers by offering higher wages and better working conditions.

This policy of flooding the market with cheap, foreign, white-collar graduates and blue-collar labor also shifts enormous wealth from young employees towards older investors, even as it also widens wealth gaps, reduces high-tech investment, increases state and local tax burdens, and hurts children’s schools and college educations. It also pushes Americans away from high-tech careers and sidelines millions of marginalized Americans, including many who are now struggling with fentanyl addictions. The labor policy also moves business investment and wealth from the heartland to the coastal citiesexplodes rents and housing costsshrivels real estate values in the Midwest, and rewards investors for creating low-tech, labor-intensive workplaces.

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