Update to Travel Pool Report #9

From: Michael Shear [mailto:xxx@email.com]
Sent: Thursday, January 26, 2017 4:42 PM
Subject: Update to Travel Pool Report #9

In response to lots of questions, I have transcribed the second gaggle with Spicer. I had done a partial transcript in the interest of speed, but given the questions I have gotten, here is the full transcript:

He talked about the border law and how it’s going to be paid for. When you look at the plan that’s taking shape now, using comprehensive tax reform as a means to tax imports from countries that we have a trade deficit from, like mexico. If you tax that $50 billion at 20 percent of imports – which is by the way a practice that 160 other countries do – right now our country’s policy is to tax exports and let imports flow freely in, which is ridiculous. By doing it that way we can do $10 billion a year and easily pay for the wall just through that mechanism alone.

If you think about what a border tax on imports from countries like Mexico that we have a huge trade deficit does, that’s really going to provide the funding.

But the other net positive that you have to realize is that through the wall, not only do we secure our border but I think we are going to save additional money that we would have had to spend on tracking down illegal immigrants and on immigration. So it’s actually a huge win for the American taxpayer and for American security when you look at the kind of plan that’s coming to fruition right now. The president was really excited to see the level of support that both houses showed for his nominees, for his plan, for his desire to put America’s security first. We are really pleased with today’s visit. I think the president was excited and emboldened with how enthusiastic the members of Congress in both houses to see that agenda.

Did the president talk with the leadership about this?

“Absolutely. This is something that we’ve been in close contact with both houses in moving forward and creating a plan. But again as I’ve said before I mean we are still working together. This is the beginning of this plan to make sure it is done right. But, it clearly provides the funding and does so in a way that ensures that the American taxpayer is wholly respected.

And again beyond building the wall and using that import tax to make sure that a country like Mexico that we have a massive trade deficit with, is done that way, but the next savings that come, additionally, from having to spend less money on immigration, especially at our southern border which has so many problems, is a huge, huge benefit as a byproduct of this great idea.

How concerned are you about damaging relations.

I think that any country, whether its Mexico or the United States or Canada, should make sure that protecting its people is its number one priority. I think for us to take immigration seriously, treat it as a nationalsecurity issue as well as an economic security issue, is something that every country looks for.

American consumer pay for that?

I think what its going to do is lift up the wages of American workers as well. Right now we have an influx of cheap labor. Its going to put the American consumer back, net net, to make sure the American workers get lifted up as well.

By having increased immigration standards, protecting the country and ensuring economic growth, the economy is going to grow, our deficit is going to go down.There are huge economic benefits beyond it. And remember as I mentioned, making sure that its going to be a net savings as well in terms of the number of personnel and resources needed to fortify and strengthen our southern border.

This was a roll out? Additional details? It would be on all countries? All imports from all countries? Just Mexico?

Right now we are focused on Mexico, but I think as we look comprehensively at our trade situation and countries that we have a deficit for, this is something the president has been talking about holistically. He has talked about a border tax. In particular companies that move out, ship things back in. But in this case, this really handles, is focused more on the immigration piece.

This is 10 percent?

20 percent.

Remember, keep in mind there are 160 other countries that do just this. We are one of the only major countries, in fact probably the only major country that doesn’t treat imports this way. In fact, we currently tax exports, not imports. This gets us in line frankly with the policies that the other countries around the world treat our products.”

Mexican president’s cancellation?

It’s a mutual cancellation.

That’s not how the Mexican president framed it.

Weve been in constant contact wth the Mexican government. As you know, Mexican officials were here earlier this week. I think we mutually decided to postpone the meetings but ensure that lines of communications remained open.

Reevaluating the relationship?

The president has been talking about a wall and how Mexico is going to pay for it for a long long time.


Michael D. Shear

White House Correspondent

The New York Times



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