Michigan senators see room for agreement with Trump on trade and infrastructure

Sens. Debbie Stabenow, D-Lansing, and Gary Peters, D-Bloomfield Twp., said during interviews during the Detroit Regional Chamber’s Mackinac Policy Conference that issues such as trade and transportation lend themselves well to bipartisan cooperation. 

“It seems to me the Bring Jobs Home Act would be right up Trump’s alley,” Stabenow said, referring to her plan to address outsourcing by ending a tax deduction for companies that outsource jobs and business activity, as well as creating a 20 percent tax credit for U.S. companies that move jobs back to the United States.

Stabenow said she’s reached out to the administration on her legislation, which she has introduced several times previously, asking for assistance on bringing Republicans on board with the bill. But she said she hasn’t yet heard a response. 

Another facet of the trade conversation is the renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement. Earlier this month, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer formally notified members of Congress that Trump intends to initiate negotiations with Mexico and Canada on rewriting the terms of the trade deal “as soon as practicable.” The move started the clock on a 90-day consultation process before formal talks begin. 

Renegotiating NAFTA became a key point in the 2016 presidential campaign, especially in Michigan, where Trump campaigned on working to improve the unpopular trade deal or walking away if better terms could not be met. 

Stabenow said she thinks it’s an agreement that needs to be fine-tuned and upgraded, particularly when it comes to increasing wages and the standards of living for people in Mexico. 

Asked whether workers in mid-Michigan and other parts of the Midwest could come out on top in a renegotiation of the trade deal, Stabenow said it’s too early to tell.

“We’ll have to wait and see what the final version is,” she said. “I’ve heard conflicting things about what they want to do … if it’s protecting and growing…

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