Finally — an Issue Congress Can Agree On; Plus, the “Three Amigos” Dud
Author: Greg Valliere
January 11, 2023
BY A VOTE OF 365-65 THE HOUSE AGREED to form a new committee that will explore the Chinese Communist Party’s economic, technological and security policies and the strategic competition between Beijing and Washington. A majority of Democrats supported the bill.
HOUSE SPEAKER KEVIN McCARTHY has long sought a special committee to investigate China, and tapped into the widespread agreement in Washington that “China is stealing our technology,” as McCarthy has frequently asserted.
IT’S UNCLEAR WHETHER NEW LEGISLATION CAN BE ENACTED but the renewed focus on China will keep relations rocky between the two countries. McCarthy reportedly is considering a visit to Taiwan later this year, which certainly would raise the temperature.
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THE “THREE AMIGOS” DUD: Thorny economic issues between the U.S., Canada and Mexico were largely deferred as the summit ended yesterday evening. The hot-button issues included immigration, drug smuggling and the shaky democracy in Brazil, which were addressed with platitudes, not specifics.
ON A PERSONAL LEVEL, Joe Biden, Justin Trudeau and Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador seemed close — and Biden finally agreed to visit Canada, probably in March.
OBRADOR PRAISED BIDEN for not “building even one meter of a wall.” He added: “we thank you for that, sir.” Republicans undoubtedly will use that sound bite, especially as Democrats inch closer to supporting some funding for a wall in a deal that probably will exclude Biden, whose immigration policy is incoherent and opposed by both political parties.
THERE WERE VAGUE COMMITMENTS to support economic growth — but no apparent progress on Biden’s controversial “Buy American” vow, offering generous subsidies to U.S. manufacturers of electric vehicles. There are still disputes between the U.S. and Canada on dairy and lumber trade, and both countries object strongly to Mexico’s increased energy use, which favors Mexico’s state oil company and its national electricity utility.
ONE POSITIVE WAS AN AGREEMENT BETWEEN CANADA AND THE U.S. to clear a backlog of applications — peaking this past year at 330,000 — related to the joint U.S.-Canada trusted traveler program called Nexus.
BOTTOM LINE: This summit probably will be remembered for what wasn’t accomplished, as crises loom in Brazil, Haiti and the U.S. border with Mexico. Obrador has agreed to take back some illegal immigrants, but that’s not an immigration policy. For Joe Biden that may be enough but his sunny conclusion didn’t reflect the conflicts.
“WHEN WE WORK TOGETHER, we can achieve great things,” Biden told Trudeau, adding that there is “unlimited economic potential” when the countries collaborate. “I’m lucky — I got Canada to the north and Mexico to the south.”
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