June 10, 2019
Fast Facts
Bringing Business Up to Speed
Federal Issues

No new tariffs on Mexico after last-minute deal on border security and migration

President Donald Trump said Friday that he would hold off on imposing new tariffs on Mexican imports to the United States. He said the two countries had agreed on ways to reduce the rush of migrants trying to cross the southern U.S. border, fulfilling a demand he had announced -- along with the threat of escalating tariffs -- the week before.

The news came as a relief to employer groups. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce called the resolution good news for American businesses and consumers: "With the threat of tariffs now off the table, it is critical that Congress turn its attention to enactment of the USMCA trade agreement. USMCA will preserve and strengthen North American trade, boosting economic growth and job creation. The Chamber intends to put all of its resources behind securing the earliest possible passage of USMCA."

Mexico made two concessions: first, to toughen enforcement of Central Americans trying to enter the country along its own southern border, and second, to allow the U.S. to send people back across into Mexico after they have asked for asylum, to wait there while the case is reviewed instead of remaining in the United States. (The New York Times reported that the concessions by Mexico were not new, but had been agreed to in March.)

The weeklong tussle over immigration and the tariff threat, while resolved in the short term, has escalated tensions in the already-delicate relationship between the two neighbors, The Wall Street Journal reports. Those tensions come as leaders of both countries push to ratify the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement, the update to the 25-year-old North American Free Trade Agreement.

Meanwhile, the president appears to be doubling down on tariffs in his disputes with China, saying "tariffs are a beautiful thing."

For more on trade and federal issues, contact AWB Government Affairs Director Amy Anderson.

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Housing Forum
Manufacturing Solutions

A way forward on immigration

By Edmund O. Schweitzer III and Jay Timmons

Manufacturers are in the business of building solutions. When we see a need to be filled or a problem to be solved, manufacturers go to work innovating and making the products that improve our daily lives. But we don't stop there. When we see our nation facing a challenge, we don't just call on our legislators to fix it; we also provide solutions.

That's exactly what manufacturers have done to help fix our nation's broken immigration system. Earlier this year, the National Association of Manufacturers released "A Way Forward," a plan for comprehensive immigration reform that bolsters border security while strengthening the economy and providing certainty for those immigrants who are anxious about their future...

Legislation soon up for a vote in the U.S. House of Representatives and similar bills recently introduced in the U.S. Senate would provide a solution for these two populations, and manufacturers are calling on Congress to act swiftly. While this is not a comprehensive solution, these bills are a way to move our nation one step closer to a more functional immigration system, and for that reason, they should command strong, bipartisan support. It is simply the right thing to do...

Read the full op-ed in The Spokesman-Review
Unsustainable Budget Growth

State budget growth puts Washington in tight spot during next downturn

By AWB President Kris Johnson

State government will spend more than $52.8 billion over the next two years. This is an increase of about 18.3 percent over the previous two-year budget and one of the biggest increases in the last 25 years.

It's true there are many competing demands for resources, but lawmakers had $5.6 billion more to work with, before raising taxes. Rather than look for cost savings, they chose to raise more than $1 billion in new taxes.

It's a safe bet that most Washington families and small businesses did not increase their spending by 18.3 percent this year. This pace of expansion is unsustainable. When the tax collections drop, that usually means painful budget cuts and more tax increases.

Lawmakers made progress on important issues this year, but it came at a high cost. As they work through the interim and prepare for the next budget, our hope is that lawmakers will tap the brakes and slow the growth in state spending.

Washington has enjoyed years of strong economic growth, but we need to be prepared for the next downturn.

Read the full op-ed in The Wenatchee World
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