Alexander in Nashville: President Trump’s Zero Tariff Trade Goal is Good for Tennessee Autoworkers

Says piling tariffs on top of tariffs will destroy jobs, lower family incomes

Posted on September 14, 2018

NASHVILLE, Tenn., September 14, 2018 – United States Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) today said President Trump’s zero tariff trade goal is the right policy for Tennessee autoworkers, but the wrong policy is continuing to pile tariffs on top of tariffs.


“The Senate labor committee hearing I chair held a hearing last week on President Trump’s zero tariff trade goal, which I believe is the right policy and is good for Tennessee autoworkers. The wrong policy is piling tariffs on top of tariffs, which will destroy jobs and lower family incomes,” Alexander said. “According to Nissan, steel accounts for 70 percent of the vehicle weight of the cars and trucks built at their plants in Tennessee and Mississippi. The price of steel has gone up 40 percent since January, and you don’t have to be a math major to figure out that soon the price of cars and trucks will have to go up by thousands of dollars.”


Alexander continued, “Just take the story of the Nissan Rogue – which is made right here in Middle Tennessee. Several years ago, Nissan had an internal competition between its automotive manufacturing plants in Japan, South Korea and Smyrna, Tennessee, to decide which one of the plants would build the new Nissan Rogue. The Smyrna plant won the competition, and NAFTA’s zero tariff policies were a big reason Nissan chose to build the Rogue in Tennessee. NAFTA allows Nissan to move parts between the U.S., Canada and Mexico tariff-free, which makes it cheaper to build the Rogue in Tennessee than it would be in South Korea or Japan. NAFTA has had the effect of getting more companies to make here what they sell here – and Tennessee’s auto jobs have nearly doubled since NAFTA went into effect.”


Alexander spoke with members of the Nashville Kiwanis on Friday about the president’s zero tariff trade goal, and “landmark legislation” the Senate is set to pass next week to help create an environment for states like Tennessee to succeed in fighting the opioid crisis.


“The opioid crisis is ravaging states like Tennessee – in August, the Tennessee Department of Health announced that drug overdoses killed 1,776 Tennesseans in 2017, which is more Tennesseans than ever and up from 1,631 the prior year. Congress has to act, and we are,” Alexander said. “Next week, the Senate is set to pass what Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) calls “landmark legislation” that includes proposals from five Senate committees and over 70 senators. The Opioid Crisis Response Act of 2018 will help Tennessee communities fight this terrible crisis that is ravaging our state, and I look forward to combining the Senate and House bills into an even stronger law -- there is a bipartisan urgency to send the bill to the President quickly.”


Alexander, who chairs the Senate’s health committee, authored the Opioid Crisis Response Act of 2018 and led negotiations. The Senate is set to pass the legislation next week. The House of Representatives passed the legislation on June 22. The bill will then have to be combined to get a final product for President Trump to sign into law. Click here for the 10 key provisions in the Opioid Crisis Response Act of 2018.


Alexander also expressed his support for Brett Kavanaugh, President Trump’s nominee to serve as an Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, saying that despite the rudeness by Democratic senators who tried to turn his confirmation hearing into a circus, Judge Kavanaugh “kept his cool.” “Judge Kavanaugh demonstrated the qualities that I look for in a judge or a Supreme Court justice—good character, good temperament, high intelligence and respect for the law. I look forward to voting for him, as I did when I voted for him to be a member of the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals. I think he will make an excellent member of the United States Supreme Court,” Alexander said.