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Friday, March 09, 2018

Roe on tarriffs
First District US Congressman Phil Roe (R-Johnson City) held a news conference Thursday to address current issues being discussed in Washington. The lawmaker said he has joined with about 100 other Republican House members who sent a letter to President Donald Trump encouraging him to "rethink" a plan to place a 25 percent tariff on imported steel and a 10 percent tariff on imported aluminum. "I understand both sides of this equation. The main country is China, and maybe Korea. They are dumping steel in this country at a subsidized rate, and at less than the price of producing it, " he told the NewsSource. But Roe is concerned about the impact of tariffs on area businesses. "In Morristown and Hamblen County especially, there are over 4,000 jobs that could be affected, so we asked the president to be surgical about this. Lets not take a bomb and blow everybody up, because there are people who are behaving appropriately." The congressman says he believes there will be a modification of NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement) which will result in a reduced tariff on steel from Mexico and Canada. But it is not only the workers in the various industries who will be affected by the tariff. Every consumer who buys a product with steel or aluminum content will be paying more as the tariffs increase prices. "The consumer always pays, but you cannot allow a country to sell a product for less than the cost of producing it without some penalty. I think this is a bargaining chip and our neighbors who are behaving correctly may produce more steel. So again I oppose the tariffs," said Roe. After the interview President Trump announced that the tariffs will not be imposed on steel and aluminum from Canada and Mexico, pending talks on a renegotiated NAFTA. Earlier this week US Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN) issued a statement saying he also is opposed to the tariff proposal by President Trump. “This is especially bad news for Tennesseans because one third of our state’s manufacturing jobs are auto jobs with more than 900 plants in 87 of our 95 counties. It will now be cheaper for some Tennessee auto parts suppliers to move outside the United States, buy steel and aluminum there and then ship finished parts back to our country,” Alexander said. He pointed to a Wall Street Journal report that said, "Steel using industries in the U.S. employ some 6.5 million Americans, while steelmakers employ about 140,000." Congressman Roe said he is supporting a bill pending in Congress which would help with the years-long backlog of deferred maintenance projects in National Parks. The National Park Restoration Act would create a restoration fund to provide mandatory funding for high-priority projects in National Parks. They include critical infrastructure and visitor service projects such as restoring and rebuilding roads, buildings, campgrounds, trails and water systems. The fund would receive 50 percent of energy production revenue from federal lands that is not already allocated to other purposes, with the rest of energy production revenue going to reduce the federal debt. In Tennessee, deferred maintenance projects totaled more than $282 million in 2017, mostly for the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

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