Alaska’s senator Murkowski ‘not inclined’ to back Trump on Mexico tariff

U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) speaks with reporters off the Senate floor in Washington, U.S., May 23, 2019. Murkowski says she is “not inclined to be supportive” of U.S. President Donald Trump’s plan to impose a 5% tariff on all imports from Mexico. (James Lawler Duggan/Reuters)
U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski says she and most of her Republican colleagues are not happy with President Trump’s plan to impose a 5% tariff on all imports from Mexico.

Administration officials met with Republican senators Tuesday to defend the plan. Murkowski said the White House representatives weren’t able to explain how the import tax could be compatible with Trump’s new trade deal with Mexico and Canada.

“Do they really think that they can do both?” Murkowski asked. “I think what I took away from the discussion was that it was kind of above their pay grade to reconcile that.”

U.S. President Donald Trump announced the import tax May 30. He says it will begin June 10 and ramp up to 25% unless Mexico stops the flow of Central American migrants from reaching the U.S. border.

If the Senate majority decides to put it to a vote, Murkowski said she is “not inclined to be supportive” of the tariff, based on her current understanding of the issue. Tariffs, and the import taxes other countries adopt in response, can damage a state’s economy, she said, even a non-farm state like Alaska.

“We’re a state that certainly is seeing the impact on our seafood,” Murkowski said. “There was a lot of concern that, with the tariffs on steel and aluminum, that that would have impact on our infrastructure. So we’re paying very, very close attention to this.”

Quite a few Republican senators have criticized the threatened tariff on Mexico. Based on statements they’ve made to reporters, it appears the Senate could pass a resolution blocking the emergency action. But the president would surely veto it and it’s not clear opponents could muster a two-thirds majority to override the veto.

As for Sen. Dan Sullivan’s (R-AK) position on the tariff, his spokesman said Wednesday the senator “is still reviewing the details.”

Related stories from around the North:

Finland: Two French kayakers illegally cross Finnish border into Russia, The Independent Barents Observer

Norway: Migrants still try to make it from Russia to Norway, The Independent Barents Observer

Russia: Russia intercepted over 1,000 people trying to cross Finnish border in 2018: paper, The Independent Barents Observer

Sweden: Sweden to grant refugee status to Chinese Uighurs, Radio Sweden

United States: Alaska’s senators diverge on vote to block Trump’s border wall emergency, Alaska Public Media

Liz Ruskin, Alaska Public Media

For more news from Alaska visit Alaska Public Media.

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