- - Monday, May 4, 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to upend American life, sending ripple effects across the country and throughout the economy. With the announcement that 30 million Americans are filing for unemployment, times are tough for hardworking American families. 

It is no secret that the exceptionalism of American manufacturing has been on the decline as past administrations prioritized globalization over the well-being of hardworking American families. President Trump knows it, and he and his team are fighting every day to create and keep more manufacturing jobs in the United States. And during the pandemic, Americans have learned that when we depend on foreign countries like China to make our drugs, protective health gear and even our toilet paper we get “wiped out.”  

It is shocking to see congressional Democrats led by Nancy Pelosi support unfair trade policies that hurt American workers. In recent days, 700 American manufacturing workers lost their jobs in Washington state due to an unprecedented surge of aluminum from Canada. The great outrage is when media goons team up with their soulmates on the left to accuse those who support America First policies of racism and xenophobia. When an American worker loses his or her job to “America Last” policies of the left, those jobs are lost by men, women, black, brown, white. Their ability to put food on their family’s table has been decimated.  

The globalist Democrats led by Rep. Suzan DelBene, Washington Democrat, caved to a massive lobbying effort by the Canadian government and its aluminum producers to proactively push for a tariff exemption for Canadian aluminum imports into the United States. The Canadian government worked with the globalist Democrats to tie the lifting of aluminum tariffs to passage of U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA). As a result of these actions by the globalist Democrats in Congress, 700 workers in Mrs. DelBene’s district are now out of work and thousands of more jobs are on the line. One wonders what country’s Congress does she work for?

While the Canadian government was busy lobbying congressional Democrats to lift the tariffs, the Canadian government stuffed its aluminum industry with subsidies that support projects at smelters valued over $550 million (Canadian). These subsidies also helped another Quebec smelter, which was idled, to restart its production just as the tariffs were lifted against Canada.

The lifting of the tariffs and the Canadian subsidies effectively outsourced the 700 jobs in Washington state to Quebec. Since the announcement of these subsidies, Canadian aluminum imports have surged over 70 percent, threatening thousands of American aluminum jobs in southern Missouri, New York, Kentucky and South Carolina.  

President Trump showed tremendous leadership by imposing 10 percent tariffs on all foreign aluminum imports to protect us from countries that cheat. Sadly, the Canadian government worked with the globalist Democrats in Congress to exempt Canada from Mr. Trump’s Section 232 tariff program. Canada insisted that it would not surge its production beyond historic norms. Instead, Canada stuffed their aluminum industry with massive additional subsidies and surged volume far above historic norms in violation of their commitments. So much for “fair trade.”

Now hardworking families in southern Missouri, some of whom reside in my home state of Arkansas, may lose their jobs because Democrats naively side with foreign governments and special interest groups over American workers. The Democrats will stop at nothing to attack and undermine Mr. Trump’s America First policies. 

Right across the Arkansas border sits Magnitude 7 Metals in Missouri, a U.S. producer of domestic aluminum. As a result of Mr. Trump’s leadership, this facility restarted, creating more than 490 direct jobs helping families throughout the region in northern Arkansas and southern Missouri through both direct and thousands of indirect jobs. In Arkansas, we also have a reprocessing facility employing 70 workers who supports this great U.S. manufacturing industry. 

Many parts of America’s heartland have been decimated by globalization, and we must protect these jobs. The solution is simple: We must stand strong against the unfair trade Democrats in Congress, increase tariffs on non-exempt countries and reinstate the 10 percent aluminum tariff on Canadian imports to Make America Great Again. 

Mrs. DelBene and the liberal elites in Congress are out of touch with the forgotten men and women of America and are more interested in kowtowing to foreign special interests and globalists political donors. To prevent thousands of American aluminum workers from losing their jobs, we must put America First and put an end to this devastating exemption policy forced on the administration by the Democrats in Congress.

Even in these dark times, we can still find ways to put America First. Now is the time for the Trump administration to keep fighting for American aluminum workers and all manufacturing workers as we work together to reelect President Donald J. Trump and Keep America Great.

• Mike Huckabee was the 44th governor of Arkansas and a 2016 Republican candidate for president. He is currently host of “Huckabee” on TBN and a Fox News contributor.

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