In the News
Oklahomans seem willing to give tariffs a little more time, U.S. Rep. Kevin Hern says
Randy Krehbiel, Tulsa World
Some Oklahomans are noticing the effect of the country’s trade war with China, but most are not — and those who are seem willing to stick with President Donald Trump for now, 1st District Congressman Kevin Hern said Wednesday.
“People are concerned about tariffs,” Hern said. “Those are taxes. But people understand it sometimes takes short-term pain for long-term gain.”
Hern said he has met with about 1,500 people in various settings during Congress’s August recess, and that while some have told him their businesses are affected by the tariffs and other measures imposed by the Trump administration, he doesn’t sense much concern in the general population.
“The average person doesn’t see it unless there’s some identifiable connection,” Hern said.
Hern himself has been somewhat ambiguous about the tariffs. On one hand, he says, tariffs can be tough on U.S. businesses and consumers, and the Chinese are finding ways to work around U.S. trade barriers.
But, Hern said, something has to be done about unfair Chinese trade practices.
“I’m convinced President Trump wants free trade, but he also wants fair trade,” Hern said.
For years, American businesses and policymakers have complained about what they say are unfair Chinese trade practices, including currency manipulation and theft of trade secrets and other intellectual property.
The U.S. is also ensnared in trade impasses with Mexico, Canada and the European Union. The Trump administration has reached a new free trade agreement with Mexico and Canada but the Democrat-controlled House of Representatives has not taken it up.
Some members think a vote will be taken this fall, but Hern said he doesn’t know what will happen.
“It would have passed two months ago if (Speaker) Nancy Pelosi had brought it to the floor,” Hern said. “I don’t know if she’s going to use it to bargain for something else the Democrats want or what.
“(Democrats) are not going to give the president anything that’s a talking point.”