Missouri workers are getting a raw deal in the debt deal, while the state’s farmers and ranchers won a huge court victory on the right to manage their land.
That’s the assessment of Sen. Josh Hawley in an interview with the Heartlander on Wednesday.
Hawley is a “no” vote on raising the debt ceiling, he said, because it does nothing to fix the systemic trade deficit with China that is robbing Missouri workers of good-paying jobs.
What would he have liked to see in the debt deal?
“Tariffs,” he said. “Across-the-board tariffs on China. We’d start with 25%, something that’ll really hurt, that will send the message that we’re not going to allow them to steal our jobs, to steal our technology and to build their military on the backs of our middle class.”
Hawley argues Missouri has lost 60,000 jobs to China in the last two decades alone.
“Those are blue-collar jobs. Those are manufacturing production, industry jobs. We need those back and more. And my view is, until we get serious about actually bringing production to this country, getting our supply chains in this country and making our workers strong, you can do all the fiddling with numbers you want in the budget – you will never get this economy growing in the way we need it to grow.
“So, it’s really about doing right by our workers, giving them strength and taking on China. And this deal just doesn’t even attempt to do any of that.”
Hawley lamented that leaders in Washington don’t even want to discuss the U.S. trade deficit with China, which stood at $22.9 billion in March, according to the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis.
“They don’t want to do anything to actually bring back our supply chains to this country and get that trade deficit down to zero. They want to talk about rearranging the deck chairs and fiddling with the numbers, shifting this money over here.”
Nonetheless, the deal raising the federal government’s borrowing authority will pass, Hawley predicted ahead of a vote in the House.
“I kind of wish it wouldn’t, in the sense that if it didn’t pass then there’d have to be a negotiation. They’d have to come to me and to others and say, ‘OK, what will you need? What will it take to get you on board?’ And I would say tariffs on China. We might get there. I mean that’s how you get stuff done. But they’ve got enough votes without me and without others.”
The good news, he said, is that the nation’s farmers and landowners won a huge victory in the U.S. Supreme Court’s unanimous rejection of the Biden EPA’s expansive and expensive Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule. The court’s ruling Thursday overturned an EPA decision to prohibit a couple’s building of a house “near a ditch that fed into a creek” that fed a lake.
The Obama-era rule, revived quietly by Biden at the end of 2022, “set vague boundaries that would allow the regulation of vast areas of land as ‘waters,’” as an American Farm Bureau Federation article put it. “They expanded federal authority far beyond what Congress intended, and the Supreme Court has now unanimously rejected that overreach.”
“Oh, it’s great news for Missouri farmers,” Hawley tells the Heartlander. “I went to court myself as attorney general to try to get the waters of the U.S. rule repealed. I am so glad that the U.S. Supreme Court has dealt a blow to Joe Biden’s attempt to bring it back.”
Hawley says Congress and the American people will have to be vigilant still, as it’s likely the Biden administration will simply rewrite the regulations to expand the government’s power to regulate the smallest of waters – widely viewed as a substantial intrusion on the rights and responsibilities of farmers.
“I don’t know why this administration wants to make us dependent for our food supply on foreign nations,” Hawley said. “They want to make us poorer in this country. They want to make China and other foreign nations rich. It is crazy. They’re trying to do it with our farms and our food, and it’s just nuts.”
The Heartlander also asked Hawley about his new book Manhood: The Masculine Virtues America Needs.
“I wrote it because I’ve got two little boys at home and I think about them and I think about the message that they hear from popular culture – that men are toxic, that men are a drag on society. That just isn’t true. And I think about the war that the left has waged on everyday men in this country who wake up, go to work, hold down a job, provide for their families.
“Those people need to be celebrated, not vilified, and for too long the left has vilified working men in this country. They said that they’re backwards, they said that they’re knuckle-draggers. They’ve said that they’re part of the deplorables, right? That’s not true. They are the backbone of this country. We ought to be celebrating men who are contributors, who are providers. We ought to be celebrating men who go out there and work and provide for their family. We need more men like that. And that’s really what the book is about.”
We asked Hawley for some examples of what he cites as masculine virtues.
“How about a husband and a father? How about a warrior and a provider? A guy who can make a commitment and keep it, a guy who can go to work and provide for his family, a guy who is willing to protect his family from danger, willing to protect them from influences that are bad for them.
“I tell stories about my grandfather, about my uncles, about people who’ve coached me, and then great examples from American history: Theodore Roosevelt, men who provided, who protected, who defended. We ought to be celebrating those things. It’s what working men in our country do every day.
“And again, they ought to be celebrated and not vilified.”