U.S. Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) today discussed the Trump administration’s recent announcement that it will remove U.S. steel and aluminum tariffs on Canada and Mexico, eliminating a major roadblock to passage of the United States-Mexico-Canada trade agreement, because it and the recently adopted labor reforms in Mexico were two of the Democrats’ main objections to moving forward with the process.
Thune’s full remarks below (as prepared for delivery):
“Mr. President, Friday’s announcement that the administration had reached an agreement to remove U.S. steel and aluminum tariffs on Canada and Mexico was great news for American consumers, producers, and workers.
“Mexican and Canadian retaliatory tariffs on U.S. products have already been lifted.
“That’s a big deal for American producers, especially for farmers and ranchers, who were hit the hardest by Mexico and Canada’s retaliatory tariffs.
“Friday’s agreement is also important because it removes a significant roadblock to passage of the United States-Mexico-Canada trade agreement.
“With the aluminum and steel tariff settlement and labor reforms recently adopted by the Mexican government, two major Democrat objections to passage of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada agreement have been addressed.
“Now it’s time for the House Democrat leadership to indicate its willingness to take up the agreement in the near future.
“The United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement would boost almost every sector of the American economy, from automotive manufacturing to digital services to dairy farming.
“It would create 176,000 new jobs and increase wages for workers.
“It’s time to take up this agreement.
“Mr. President, as I said, the United States-Mexico-Canada free trade agreement would be a boon for U.S. producers and U.S. workers.
“This is the kind of stuff we should be spending our time on in Washington – measures that grow our economy, increase opportunity, and improve life for the American people.
“That’s what Republicans have been working on – and our policies have helped produce the lowest unemployment rate in 50 years and more jobs and higher wages for workers.
“Unfortunately, my colleagues across the aisle seem more interested in relitigating the 2016 election and accelerating their party’s rapid move toward the radical, fringe left.
“While I realize Democrats were disappointed with the results of the 2016 presidential election, it’s time for them to accept the fact that they lost.
“It’s been more than two years now, and Democrats are still more focused on opposing this president than on getting things done for the American people.
“And when Democrats do get around to talking about legislation, too often it’s proposals from the radical fringe left, which is rapidly swallowing up the Democrat mainstream.
“Take the Green New Deal, Democrats’ plan for a government takeover of a large section of the economy in the name of clean energy.
“The estimated price tag for this government takeover?
“Between $51 trillion and $93 trillion over 10 years.
“To put that number in perspective, $93 trillion is more money than the United States government has spent in its entire history.
“$93 trillion is more money than the 2017 gross domestic product of the entire world.
“And how do Democrats plan to pay for this?
“Well, they don’t actually have a plan.
“And their usual tax-the-rich solution won’t work, since taxing every wealthy American at a 100 percent rate wouldn’t come anywhere close to paying for the Green New Deal.
“Should the Green New Deal ever come to pass, working Americans would face massive tax hikes for the privilege of having government dictate the design of their house and the type of their car.
“Then of course there’s Democrats’ plan for a government takeover of the nation’s health care.
“Under so-called Medicare for All, the government would take away Americans’ insurance choices and force everyone into a single, one-size-fits-all, government-run plan.
“And then tax Americans to pay for it.
“Mr. President, thanks to policies like tax reform, American families are doing better than they’ve been doing in a long time.
“They’re taking home more money, they have access to better jobs and more opportunities, and they’re enjoying better wages and benefits.
“To most people, it would seem logical to continue and build on the policies that have gotten us here.
“But not to Democrats.
“Democrats want to overturn the policies that have gotten us to this point.
“Instead of tax cuts, they want tax hikes, so that they can implement their socialist fantasies.
“Instead of less government interference in Americans’ lives, they want more.
“They think the government should be dictating your health care choices, your housing choices, your energy choices, and much more.
“It’s unfortunate that the Democrat Party is being swallowed up by its extreme left wing.
“But Republicans are going to do everything we can to protect Americans from Democrats’ socialist fantasies and continue to expand the choices and opportunities available to American families.”