Roe not on board with Trump tariffs

Hank Hayes • Jun 29, 2018 at 3:15 PM

U.S. Rep. Phil Roe indicated Thursday he’s joined House Republicans from Tennessee who have a growing concern about President Trump’s tariffs.

Roe, in a conference call with reporters, said the group has written to U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross to highlight the potential negative impact that retaliatory tariffs could have on a number of industries thriving in Tennessee.

“By outlining the ways in which these tariffs should be implemented, it is our hope the idea of broad, undefined tariffs is reconsidered,” Roe, R-Tenn., said in a column submitted to local media outlets. “In our state, 146,000 jobs are supported by global exports, so it is imperative that American producers maintain access to foreign markets.”

Roe added: “We believe trade ought to be fair. I’ve heard the president speak about it many times. It isn’t fair now, but we don’t believe a trade war will benefit our constituents.”

The group signing the letter includes Republican U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn, who’s seeking Tennessee’s U.S. Senate seat held now by the retiring Bob Corker. Blackburn is expected to face former Tennessee Gov. Phil Bredesen, a Democrat, in the November general election.

Roe also addressed these questions:

What’s going on with immigration legislation?

The U.S. House recently failed to advance two immigration bills, the Securing America’s Future Act (H.R. 4760) and the Border Security and Immigration Reform Act (H.R. 6136), filed by Rep. Bob Goodlatte, R-Va.

“Two hundred and twenty three (GOP) members either voted for Goodlatte One or Goodlatte Two,” Roe said. “I think there is a solution there. What both of these bills are trying to do is treat the immigrants who come in a fair and humane way, who legally come here and why they are here. … Are they being trafficked?

“We want to do the following: Secure the border, build the border wall, change the Visa Lottery, use a merit-based system. … I think we’re eventually going to get there when we blend these two bills together.

“It will be up to Congress to do something. … Over 80 percent of these kids are not brought here by their parents or a parent. They are brought here by these (human traffickers) who are paid money to bring them here. … It’s not just about these children. It’s about security, it’s about drugs, it’s about a lot of other things.”

What’s going on with veterans issues?

Roe, who chairs the House Committee on Veterans Affairs, said the U.S. House has passed a so-called “Blue Water Navy” bill that gives Vietnam-era Navy veterans a presumption of service connection for diseases associated with exposure to certain herbicide agents — namely Agent Orange.

“If you put boots on the ground, you got a presumption for certain diseases that occurred,” Roe noted. “ … (The bill) is fully paid for, it passed 382 to zero. … It’s in the Senate. I think it will be passed.”

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