WASHINGTON - Republican senators said they plan on trying to block the President Donald Trump’s threatened tariffs on all Mexican imports. But the president is calling them “foolish” to even try to stop him.
Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said there isn’t much support in his conference for tariffs. California lawmaker and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy said he’s optimistic that Mexico will help at the southern border and therefore not see tariffs.
Democrats, like California’s Congressman Gil Cisneros who represents parts of Los Angeles, Orange and San Bernardino Counties, called the president’s choices “irresponsible.”
“The president is trying to use tariffs to kind of push through his agenda, to do other things, again, it’s only really going to hurt businesses,” said Cisneros. “It’s really going to hurt the American consumer. We depend on so many fruits and vegetables coming through Mexico to the United States, avocados for instance. The price of avocado is going to skyrocket if we add tariffs to agricultural products coming into the United States.”
Fruits and vegetable prices are expected to go up as early as the next few weeks as well as wine, beer, and snack foods.
These tariffs could also increase costs for products like televisions and air conditioners. But most of all, car prices are expected to soar. Some Florida and Texas Republicans say they’re worried for the American consumer, as well as for their farmers, ranchers, and small businesses.
Some Democrats doubt the president will even follow through with his threatened tariffs, with Trump responding that this was “no bluff.” Cisneros said he hopes it won’t come down to it because he said the China trade deal is already affecting the people he represents.
“It really is hurting small businesses in my district. You know we have a very diverse community is California’s 39th,” said Cisneros. “And really it’s the American taxpayer who is really paying these tariffs. It’s not the countries it’s not the companies, all these costs are added on to the American taxpayer and we really are the ones who are suffering.”
The five percent tariffs would take into effect Monday, June 10. Trump says they will go up gradually five percent each month until it hits 25 percent, unless Mexico steps up and helps with the migration problem.
Mexican officials are meeting with Trump negotiators this week. Republicans and Mexican officials alike are hopeful these talks will ease the president away from his threat.