Worried about GOP
Editor, Gettysburg Times,
I am worried about the soul of the Republican Party. Republicans have allowed President Trump to undermine the fundamental powers of the Congress in the Constitution-those of spending and taxation, usually considered Republican cornerstones. On spending, the President cant get his $6 billion for the border wall approved by the Congress so he declares a national emergency and takes the money from the Defense Department and other areas. But those funds were appropriated by Congress with amounts for specific purposes. So what can we conclude? That the Defense Department doesn’t need those funds so Congress should reduce their FY20 budget by at least $6 billion. And language should be included in FY20 Defense authorization that no monies can be spent for building a border wall. This is a dangerous game for Republicans because a possible Democratic President in 2020 could create a large fund in the Defense Dept or elsewhere to use for true national emergencies like climate change and/or health care.
The second power Trump has undermined are tariffs-taxes paid by the U.S. importer and ultimately by U.S. consumers and businesses not China or Mexico. I worked in trade promotion at USDA for 30 years and delt with these issues. Trump used a false Department of Commerce declaration determining metals imports are a national security risk. Actually it was a negotiating tool, because Trump just agreed to end the tariffs on Canadian and Mexican metal shipments in order to overcome some Republican opposition to tariffs in the Senate for the revised NAFTA (which may still not get through the House). The larger solution is for the Congress to vote on approving any Presidential national security declaration (if not, the President is approving a tax without any Congressional approval). What was the impact of the tariff tax? On steel we gained 12,000 new jobs but at a net loss of $3 billion due to higher metal prices. This equals $250,000 per new job. Even many Republicans would consider that a poor use of scarce taxpayer money. Then many countries retaliated with their higher tariffs, with losses of most U.S. soybean exports to China. So Trump ordered his Ag Secretary to pay farmers $12 billion, and now wants to give them $15 billion more. But Congress didn’t approve that specific farm spending. The secretary used permanent “borrowing” authority. Trump’s actions are akin to abolishing Congress!