Texas Congressmen Want to Beef Up Trade at the US-Mexico Border

They’re racing against the clock to get a bill signed before Obama leaves office.

By Rhonda FanningDecember 1, 2016 1:59 pm,

Business is booming at the border, and some Texas lawmakers in Washington want to keep it that way.

Tuesday, the U.S. Senate passed a bill introduced by Texas Republican Sen. John Cornyn. The Cross-Border Trade Enhancement Act is aimed directly at border communities, such as those in the Rio Grande Valley, by encouraging public-private partnerships to fund staffing and improvement projects. The bill has yet to pass the House.

President-elect Donald Trump has pledged to scale back trade pacts like the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), which has created an urgency to get the bill signed while President Barack Obama is still in office.

The Texas Tribune reports Cornyn said at a conference call Wednesday that lawmakers could no longer hesitate on trade legislation.

“I think just a lot of the loose talk about trade being bad, or that NAFTA somehow is a bad deal, has sort of made it clear that we need to be not sitting on the sidelines or ambivalent about this,” Cornyn said.

Texas Democrat U. S. Rep. Henry Cuellar, another sponsor of the bill, says trade at the U.S.-Mexico border has created 6 million jobs in the U.S. Every day, he says, the border sees $1.5 billion in trade.

“What Sen. Cornyn and I are looking at is bipartisan legislation that encourages the use of public-private partnerships to boost staffing, make infrastructure improvements,” Cuellar says. “To make sure that we move legitimate freight and commerce to those parts of land.”

What you’ll hear in this segment:

– What the plan would look like

– How much the plan would cost

– Why the bill is going through Congress now, and not earlier