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Sen. Jones: Trump’s proposed Mexico tariffs will be “incredibly damaging”

Evan Mealins

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Sen. Doug Jones spoke out against President Trump’s proposed 5 percent tariffs on Mexican goods during a talk with Alabama media outlets on Thursday, calling them “incredibly damaging for the American people, and particularly the people of Alabama.”

“Mexico is Alabama’s third largest trading partner,” said Jones. “In 2018 alone, Alabama imported more than $4.2 billion worth of goods from Mexico. We’ve got a number of major employers in our state who have suppliers or other facilities in Mexico, including our auto industry that’s already in uncertain times because of the threatened automobile tariffs. This could really have a huge negative impact on Alabama’s economy.”

The tariff is set to go into effect on Monday unless Mexican and American officials reach a deal regarding immigration that President Trump approves. The tariff will be felt by Americans across the country as prices of various goods from beer to cars start to rise.

“The US Chamber of Commerce estimates that a 5 percent tariff on Mexico would impose a $17 billion tax on American businesses and consumers,” Jones said. “Because tariffs are taxes. Tariffs on Mexico’s goods will translate to taxes on Americans, and on folks in Alabama.”

It’s ironic, Jones said, that the president who touted his plans to cut taxes, now wants to impose a tariff, a type of tax, as a means to reach a political goal.

“What really troubles me the most is the president trying to continue to tell the public, and mislead the public, that tariffs are going to be paid for by China and Mexico. That’s just not going to happen. Those are paid by the American people. These tariffs are going to cancel out any benefit to the middle class, the lower-income people across this country that the 2017 tax cuts may have brought to them,” he said.

Jones is glad to see his colleagues speak out about the negative impacts of the tariff. Senators from both sides of the political aisle are vocal in their opposition, Jones said.

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“I wouldn’t be surprised if there was enough votes in the Senate to even override a veto this time. Hopefully this can be resolved. I know that the administration is meeting with folks from Mexico today and they’re still talking — that’s a good sign. Hopefully that will be resolved and we won’t see these tariffs go into effect.

“The one thing that I have said and have said consistently: we’ve got issues that we’ve got to deal with on the border, clearly. But those ought to be dealt with in something other than the threat of tariffs. Tariffs and immigration policy should not go hand in hand because our economy, while going good, is also somewhat fragile, and we don’t want to see anything upset the good economy that we’ve got right now.”

Evan Mealins is a reporting intern at the Alabama Political Reporter and student at Auburn University working toward a B.A. in media studies. You can follow him on Twitter @EvanMealins or email him at [email protected]

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