S VE HO RN UL A p ME D T ro N T H E -c LE FE on G D de A L I E R A ba Z E L te P O T?
“WE ARE SO LUCKY TO LIVE IN AMERICA.” Michelle Steel shares why she ran for Congress and her goals on Capitol Hill
May 2021 Volume 55, No. 2
THE FUTURE Todd Young discusses the effort he is leading to strengthen America’s competitiveness around the world.
Plus: Asa Hutchinson shares his thoughts on the importance of global trade to the State of Arkansas. And: Clete Willems proposes five steps to get the U.S.-EU trade relationship back on track. www.riponsociety.org
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“Ideas that matter, since 1965.“ Volume 55, Number 2 Politics & Perspective
Cover Story (cont’d.)
What Trade Means to My State By Asa Hutchinson With over 350,000 jobs in Arkansas dependent on international trade, our nation must open up more global markets for our goods and services.
Strengthening Global Supply Chains in the Wake of COVID-19 By Nick Vyas If the past year showed anything, it is that we can no longer depend on a single, long supply chain. Instead, we should depend on a regional node or decoupled supply chain.
Time to Revitalize Pursuit of a U.S.-UK Free Trade Agreement By Anthony Kim & Terry Miller An Anglo-American trade agreement would be a force generator for greater economic dynamism and prosperity. And it would play a key role in reinvigorating the global free-trade agenda.
WTO at a Crossroads By Mark Linscott The World Trade Organization can have a bright future. But that future is certainly not assured, and threats to it will continue to expand as countries seek out alliances outside of the WTO.
A Nation Silenced: The Fallout from Unchecked Cancel Culture By Samuel Abrams Americans are now collectively afraid to raise questions and speak their minds — even if well intentioned — for fear of a woke-mob coming for them and their families.
Cover Story 10
Winning the Future By Todd Young With America’s global leadership in science and technology being challenged by a state capitalist regime in Beijing, it is critical that Congress take steps to win this fight.
Getting the U.S.-EU Trade Relationship Back on Track By Clete Willems For the last few years, the U.S. and EU have spent too much time and energy fighting each other that would be better spent on coordinating on action against China. Publisher The Ripon Society President Jim Conzelman Editorial Board Thomas Tauke Michael Castle Erik Paulsen Billy Pitts Pamela Sederholm Judy Van Rest Jim Murtha John Feehery
Legalizing Marijuana is a Threat to Public Health & Safety By Kevin Sabet Despite industry rhetoric, marijuana is indeed addictive. A recent study found one in three pastyear users had what clinicians call a Cannabis Use Disorder, or addiction.
Washington Needs to Get Out of the Marijuana Enforcement Business By Paul Armentano Our nation’s federalist principles demand that Congress respect voters’ decisions on cannabis — and repeal the failed policy of federal prohibition.
Sections 3 In this Edition 22 Tribute 25 News & Events 28 Ripon Profile - U.S. Rep. Michelle Steel, (CA-48)
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RIPON FORUM May 2021
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THE RIPON SOCIETY HONORARY CONGRESSIONAL ADVISORY BOARD U.S. Senators: Shelley Moore Capito - Senate Co-Chair Todd Young – Senate Co-Chair Marsha Blackburn Roy Blunt Richard Burr Bill Cassidy, M.D. Susan M. Collins Steve Daines Joni Ernst Deb Fischer John Hoeven Jerry Moran Mike Rounds Thom Tillis Roger Wicker U.S. Representatives: Rodney Davis - House Co-Chair Jackie Walorski - House Co-Chair Darin LaHood - Vice Chair, Midwest Mike Kelly - Vice Chair, Northeast Dan Newhouse - Vice Chair, West Frank Lucas - Vice Chair, Southwest Ann Wagner - Vice Chair, South Mark Amodei Kelly Armstrong Don Bacon Troy Balderson Andy Barr Stephanie Bice Mike Bost Vern Buchanan Larry Bucshon, M.D. Michael C. Burgess, M.D. Ken Calvert Buddy Carter Tom Cole John Curtis Tom Emmer Ron Estes Brian Fitzpatrick Anthony Gonzalez Kay Granger Garret Graves Sam Graves French Hill Trey Hollingsworth Bill Huizenga Bill Johnson Dusty Johnson Dave Joyce John Joyce, M.D. John Katko Young Kim Adam Kinzinger Bob Latta Billy Long Nancy Mace Brian Mast Kevin McCarthy Michael McCaul Peter Meijer Carol Miller John Moolenaar Blake Moore Guy Reschenthaler Tom Rice Cathy McMorris Rodgers Steve Scalise Lloyd Smucker Pete Stauber Bryan Steil Glenn “GT” Thompson Mike Turner Fred Upton David Valadao Brad Wenstrup Steve Womack
In this edition
If there was ever a loaded term in American politics, it is the term that has been used to describe U.S. foreign policy over the past four years — America First. To some, it means America going it alone in international affairs — not being the world’s policemen sending our troops around the globe, and not being the world’s bank bailing other countries out. Others define America First as the United States continuing to lead by example — being at the front of the line when it comes to standing up for freedom and justice and being a beacon of hope, and a refuge, for those who are being oppressed. Former Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats expanded on this definition in an interview with The Ripon Forum a few years back. “The old America First once attached to pre-war isolationism has led many to misinterpret the concept now relevant to the modern world,” Coats explained. “Isolationism was rejected back then as an irresponsible dream. Since then, American foreign policy has always been centered on American national interests, but as properly defined and accurately understood. Our core national interests — peace, prosperity, security — have always included nurturing everywhere our core values. Extending benefits of freedom, democracy, human rights, and free enterprise to others has always served our national interests. This is the real America First.” In addition to serving as DNI in the Trump Administration, Coats also spent nearly two decades serving as U.S. Senator from the State of Indiana. Today, Coats’ successor on Capitol Hill, Senator Todd Young, is promoting a vision of America First similar to the one that Coats embraced. In this edition of the Forum, we shine a light on his vision in this regard and, more specifically, Young’s work to ensure that America remains first in the world when it comes to science and technology. “Today, our leadership is being challenged by a state capitalist regime in Beijing that threatens to win the next century by dominating the critical technologies that are bound to shape it,” Young writes. “The country that wins the race in key technologies — such as artificial intelligence, quantum computing, advanced communications, biotechnology, and more — will be the superpower of the future.” Young has authored legislation called the Endless Frontiers Act to help the U.S. achieve this goal. He writes about the bill in this latest edition and explains why he believes being first in the race in science and technology is key to winning the future. To the extent that Young’s vision of America First requires America to be reengaged, this edition of the Forum also examines two areas where that can be achieved. In the first essay, Clete Willems, who served as Deputy Assistant to President Trump for International Economics, looks at the importance of the U.S.-EU trade relationship and proposes five steps to getting the relationship back on track. In the second essay, Anthony Kim and Terry Miller of the Heritage Foundation look at the Special Relationship between the United States and the United Kingdom and explain why a trade agreement between the longtime allies should be a top priority. In other essays, Mark Linscott of the Atlantic Council examines the performance of the World Trade Organization in recent years and argues that 2021 could be a year of reform -- or irrelevance -- for the global intergovernmental group. And at a time when many Americans still believe the U.S. should turn inward and close its doors to the world, Governor Asa Hutchinson explains what trade means to his state, pointing out that, among other things,over 350,000 jobs in Arkansas are dependent upon access to and interactions with global markets. With shortages of personal protective equipment and other pandemic-related supplies still fresh in the minds of many Americans, Nick Vyas, who serves as Executive Director of the University of Southern California’s Center for Global Supply Chain Management, looks at ways to strengthen global supply chains in the wake of COVID-19. Sarah Lawrence College Professor Samuel Abrams examines the fallout from cancel culture, while Kevin Sabet and Paul Armentano debate whether pot should be legalized in the United States. And in our latest Ripon Profile, first-term Congresswoman Michelle Steel shares why she ran for Congress and her goals on Capitol Hill. As always, we hope you enjoy this latest edition of The Ripon Forum, and welcome any thoughts or comments you may have. Lou Zickar, Editor email@example.com RIPON FORUM May 2021
Politics & Perspective
What Trade Means to My State by ASA HUTCHINSON With an increasing trade imbalance for the United headquarters in Springdale. We produce 50 percent States, our nation must open up more international of all rice gown in the United States right here markets for our goods and services. In March of this in Arkansas. Whether poultry, rice, soybeans, or year, the U.S. trade deficit soared to a record $74.4 cotton, our producers need global markets to feed billion. This is largely the result of an improving U.S. the world and create jobs at home. economy and consumers having money to spend. But Of course, if we demand access to markets it also reflects the failure of abroad, we should also provide protective tariffs to reverse the fair access to the domestic decades-old trend of U.S. imports consumers in the United exceeding our exports. States. The Arkansas strategy International trade creates is to maximize the opportunity jobs in the United States, and the for foreign companies to emphasis on fair and free trade expand and invest in the is an essential element of our United States. This creates foreign policy. Our free market local jobs and provides a level produces the best products, field of competition for our inspires the most creativity, international partners. builds the strongest economies, Bentonville in the and creates the best quality of northwest corner of Arkansas life. For all the initiatives that has been recognized as the we can put forth to bolster the fifth fastest-growing city in economy at home, the exchange the United States. This growth of goods and ideas with the least is the result of international interference from governments trade. Bentonville is the will serve us best. home of Walmart, which Over 350,000 jobs in has investments across the Over 350,000 jobs in Arkansas are dependent upon world, including India, China, Arkansas are dependent international trade. In fact, 26 Europe, and South America. upon international trade. percent of our state’s labor force The United States needs is the result of global trade. We to work every day to open In fact, 26 percent of our export to over 170 countries from more markets and negotiate state’s labor force is the Canada to Israel, with our North trading relationships that are result of global trade. American partners leading the fair. This means we must be way under the new United Statesable to protect our intellectual Mexico-Canada Agreement. property rights, and our I am proud of the producers in my state of Arkansas, exporters should not be hampered by protective from agriculture to the aero-defense companies that tariffs and other trade barriers. are giants in global trade. Our aerospace and defense By maintaining a robust and fair trade policy, industries include stars such as Dassault Falcon Jet, all parties benefit. We are able to export our goods Lockheed Martin, and hundreds of home-grown and services, and the world sees the free market at businesses that support the growing international export work. RF market. In terms of agriculture, we have the largest chicken Asa Hutchinson is the 46th governor of the State of processor in the United States in Tyson, with its global Arkansas. 4
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Strengthening Global Supply Chains in the Wake of COVID-19 by NICK VYAS Over the past three decades, corporate America and Decoupled networks will have dynamic, responsive, realmuch of western democracy have become highly dependent time supply chain capabilities, with the ability to withstand on cheaper and faster goods. This dependence has in turn shocks of any magnitude. This past December, the U.S. Department of Homeland created another, perhaps even more significant, dependency on linear supply chain networks which rely on a single Security’s Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) and the Information and Communication Technology country to efficiently function. COVID-19 exposed the vulnerability of these networks. (ICT) Supply Chain Risk Management Task Force published an analysis on supply Moving forward, it is critical to chain challenges that the ICT think about structuring supply industry has faced in dealing with chains in a way that is different COVID-19 which reinforces many from the past. At the same time, of these points. Industry issues it is also critical that we maintain identified in the report include a a globalized approach to these lack of diversification in supply networks, as globalization is chains, reliance on lean inventory strongly linked to economic models, and not having sufficient prosperity. Today, economies understanding of suppliers. The are far more interconnected and report also identified specific interdependent than they were in recommendations for companies to the 1920s or even the 2010s, and build a more resilient ICT supply that has helped to lift millions out chain, including the need to take of poverty and improve living a proactive and iterative approach standards across the world. to supply chain risk management, Globalization is a very map specific supply chains, effective way to ensure that Nick Vyas broaden specific supplier networks supply chain networks continue (by raw material, product, and to function in the face of singleregion), expand inventories, keep location events, such as a natural disaster or political unrest. In order We should not depend on a an eye on important metrics, and make plans for alternative logistics to build the same level of reliability single, long supply chain. and transportation options. into decoupled networks, it Instead, we should depend In the coming years, we is critical to create network are likely to see more regional, redundancies and diversity within on a regional node or customer-centric supply chain a region. Component and raw decoupled supply chain. clusters taking shape around the materials should be made on shore, provisioning of essential items such nearshore, or within a company. as food and lifesaving drugs and We should not depend on a single, long supply chain. Instead, we should depend on a regional equipment. Due to national policy changes such as President Biden’s Executive Order on Supply Chains, these supply node or decoupled supply chain. For example, Canada and America are one node, Asia chains could subsequently include a larger set of goods and has two nodes, and so on. In the event one node is unable services that are not dictated by reasons of health and medical to function, other nodes can still operate and support the security, but rather by a mix of economic competitiveness and node in need. In other words, instead of a worldwide web national security considerations. These semi-independent of long and linearly-joined supply chain networks, we will clusters will be joined by decoupling points that will provide have regionally-concentrated supply chain clusters, each them a dynamic capability of moving procurement or connected with other clusters using a decoupling point. supplies from one cluster to another. Such customer-centric 6
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supply chain clusters will be less vulnerable to an end-to- regional decoupling strategies. end disruption in a future crisis. During the initial days of Moreover, now that the U.S. has entered numerous the COVID-19 crisis — when U.S. supply chains floundered periods with significant COVID-19 infections, companies in their ability to source ventilators, vital drugs, personal cannot afford to wait to build additional resilience into protective equipment, and other critically-needed supplies — their supply chains. Further, the public policy shift toward imagine if our country had been able to tap into a decoupled, decoupling in the U.S. and other major economies is likely agile, and resilient cluster of supply chains instead. inevitable, so companies should advocate for national and In the long run, decoupling will provide a way for regional policies that would companies to navigate improve their competitive growing tensions between positioning in a market and shape In the long run, decoupling China and the U.S. and multilateral and/or plurilateral the highly regulated rules that may be developed. will provide a way for environment of the postEffective planning will companies to navigate COVID world, along with result in a company’s ability to growing tensions between the natural proclivity of think proactively, and rapidly and nations to seek prosperity coherently implement strategies China and the U.S. and the through mutual economic to address risks, mitigate harm, highly regulated environment cooperation. Given the and leverage opportunities to of the post-COVID world. need to prepare for the next strengthen and safeguard its global crisis, the likelihood supply chains. RF of continued China-U.S. tensions, and the need for many countries and regions to Nick Vyas is Executive Director of the University of take sides for economic and/or national security reasons, Southern California’s Center for Global Supply Chain governments will also need to implement national and/or Management.
Immunization rates for teens and adults have fallen dramatically during the pandemic...
We must act quickly to stop the spread of vaccine preventable diseases. Avalere Health compared adolescent and adult vaccine billing patterns in commercial, Medicaid managed care (due to variability across states in billing requirements for vaccines provided through the Vaccines for Children program, this analysis may not fully capture adolescent vaccine utilization in the Managed Medicaid market), Medicare FFS, and MA markets from January-August 2019 to vaccine billing patterns during the same months in 2020 (e.g., March 2019 to March 2020), represented as a percent change between years. Between 2019-2020, aggregate vaccine claims submitted between March-August decreased by 53% (Commercial), 41% (Managed Medicaid), 42% (Medicare Advantage) and 48% (Medicare FFS).
Source: Avalere Health. Aggregate Changes for All Vaccine Products Across Markets. Adolescents and Adults, 2019-2020. © 2001-2021 GlaxoSmithKline plc. All rights reserved. Trade marks are owned by or licensed to the GSK group of companies.
GSK is proud to support the Ripon Society Funding for this research was provided by GlaxoSmithKline. Avalere Health retained full editorial control.
RIPON FORUM May 2021
A Nation Silenced
The Fallout from Unchecked Cancel Culture by SAMUEL ABRAMS Disagreement, debate, and discourse are critical princi- gressive lean on campuses, this much may be expected. Howples that have resided at the center of the American experience ever, 53% of both moderate and liberal students also reported for over 200 years. But these foundational components of free feeling uncomfortable sharing their ideas. These figures are speech are under real threat today. Cancel culture runs rampant too high across the board, but those who complained that stuon social media, and it has now left the digital space and crept dents were being hyper-sensitive faced pushback that went into all facets of American life so that virtually no corner of the something like this: nation has gone untouched. This is a cancer on our democracy, “They’re just undergraduates — this is silly. Of course, and it is not just reserved for people of note. Americans are these students will change when they get into the real world. now collectively afraid to raise questions, speak their minds, Right?” and share many of their views — even if well intentioned — Wrong. for fear of a woke-mob coming for them, their families, their Instead, these collegiate impulses were not confined to the livelihoods, and their privacy. ivory tower. Rather, these inciAs a society, we must addents and ideas have seeded dress this omnipresent threat, and informed the problematic because a genuine marketplace anti-racist rhetoric. And the of ideas — where facts, reason, tactics of bullying, canceling, and divergent strains of thought and silencing others come can be discussed and questioned directly from our campuses without fear of significant repriand now dangerously pervade sal and personal consequences into the zeitgeist today. From — is what enabled our nation to private companies like Cocagenuinely be great, innovative, Cola asking employees to be and a leader in the world. “less white” or Ogilvy’s diverTo illustrate these dangers sity and inclusion team pushand how swift cancel culture has ing books by Angela Davis Samuel Abrams progressed, consider the fact that or Howard Zinn as part of its only a few years ago issues like initiative to promote a “more Americans are now collectively speech policing and cultural apequal and just world,” it is propriation — such as wearing obvious that the “woke mob” afraid to raise questions, speak the wrong Halloween costume, has escaped the confines of their minds, and share many dining halls preparing ethnic our nation’s campuses, and the of their views — even if well foods improperly, and certain narratives of harm and victimgroups singing the wrong music ization have spread into the intentioned — for fear of a — were confined to the realm of real world. woke-mob coming for them, the college campus. Numerous A day hardly goes by their families, their livelihoods, surveys show that these illiberal without an example of ramsentiments are very strong. On pant cancel culture making and their privacy. campuses today, students are the news. An elite school in anxious and afraid to talk and New York asked parents to question others – the cornerstone of university life. A recent rank themselves on a scale of “whiteness.” The San Francisco national sample of undergraduates found that more than half school board recently voted to remove the names of historical (54%) of the students polled reported they “often” felt intimi- figures ranging from George Washington to Abraham Lincoln dated by their peers on campus when it came to asking ques- from schools. tions. These forces of self-censorship run deeper, however, Breaking this down further, 62% of those students who which is where the real crisis for the nation resides. This is not identified as conservative “often” felt silenced. Given the pro- an overstatement, given how deeply it is impacting democratic 8
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discourse. A recent survey of residents of Illinois – which is a microcosm of the American experience in that it possesses not only a diverse citizenry, but large and small cities along with rural areas — reveals that, like college students, large numbers of residents of the state report having censored themselves on salient socio-political issues out of fear of reputational consequences. The data show that in the Land of Lincoln, an astounding 30% of Illinoisans say that they self-censor “often,” while another 34% report that they edit themselves “sometimes” — meaning that almost two-thirds (64%) of those in the state willingly limit presenting their opinions. Moreover, it turns out that 60% of liberal identifiers, 69% of moderates, and 71% of conservatives stop themselves from saying their true opinions. There is a bias here, but this remains incredibly dangerous as large majorities of even liberals are afraid of provoking the mob. Going further, when these Americans were asked about why one self-censors, some Illinois residents (20%) said they do not want to hurt other people’s feelings. But far greater numbers admit they are worried about personal, reputational, or professional consequences from challenging certain seemingly prevailing sentiments. Almost a quarter state they have held their tongues because they know they “will be unfairly
criticized” and another quarter “worry about professional or academic consequences if [they] say the wrong thing.” While another quarter stated that they have silenced themselves for some other reason, it is clear that very significant numbers of Illinoisans are worried about blowback due to their ideas, demonstrating the insidiousness and pervasiveness of cancel culture today. As a professor, I pride myself on promoting viewpoint diversity in the classroom and contextualizing historical epochs and ideological drives, including the cancellation madness we are seeing today. I cannot stress enough that these forces must be stopped and exposed, because they are a real threat to our education system, to our ability to innovate and think creatively, to our understanding of free speech, to the value of deliberation, and to our democracy itself. While surveys have shown that only a minority of citizens accept this status quo and reject this hypersensitive environment in which we find ourselves, they are ironically afraid to do something about it. Those who can act must do so, because we find our freedom of speech and our very democracy at risk. RF Samuel J. Abrams is professor of politics at Sarah Lawrence College and a visiting scholar at the American Enterprise Institute.
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THE FUTURE by TODD YOUNG
Throughout the last century, the United States has led the world as a result of our scientific discoveries, technological innovations, and, ultimately, through the values that guide how these technologies are utilized. As Americans, we are driven by a deep need to lift one another, to discover breakthroughs that will lead to a better life for all. In the 20th century, Vannevar Bush beautifully captured the essence of America’s culture of discovery and innovation when he first coined the memorable term, “Endless Frontier.” Over the last century, developments such as landing a man on the moon, the invention of the internet, and, most recently, the creation of multiple vaccines for COVID-19 have been the result of government-led investments that have transformed our world. These breakthroughs and the many 10
related inventions have resulted in an improved quality of life, increased opportunities, and broadened prosperity around the globe. Today, our leadership is being challenged by a state capitalist regime in Beijing that threatens to win the next century by dominating the critical technologies that are bound to shape it. The decades ahead will be some of the most complex and challenging that we have ever faced as a nation. The Chinese Communist Party is pursuing investments to advance their authoritarian agenda, to compete with the United States, and to undermine democracies around the world. The Chinese Communist Party has adopted a state capitalist economic model fueled by labor exploitation, intellectual property theft, and significant investment in the technologies
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essential to present-day economic and military leadership. investment to put a man on the moon over a decade. The Chinese Communist Party’s plan of “Made in China The Interstate Highway System is another bipartisan 2025” is its formal effort to boost China’s role in the world and project that in 1956 cost $10 billion. In today’s dollars that cost our dependence on them for the technologies of the future. would be $96 billion. Forty years later, a 1996 report said the The technology areas that China has identified include: high- system had “a profound effect upon the American economy end robotics, biopharma and high-tech medical devices, next and contributed significantly to improved economic efficiency generation IT systems, advanced energy, and more. and productivity.” Forty years from now, I believe the same The winner of this race stands to benefit from the trillions will be said about the technologies funded through the Endless of dollars that will result from the development. These Frontier Act. technologies are also critical because of the way values are Some will argue that we should leave it to the private woven into how they are utilized. As we have witnessed, sector to decide our fate. The private sector is clearly a critical the Chinese Communist Party is already using technology component, but it is also insufficient on its own. to oppress those in Xinjiang and Hong Kong. As they work Some of the technologies destined to shape American’s towards new advancements, they will, undoubtedly, continue economic and geopolitical future will not provide near-term to use them to achieve their authoritarian goals. quarterly returns to shareholders. These technologies also exist Make no mistake, the country that wins the race in key beyond the time horizon for venture capital interests. technologies — such as artificial intelligence, quantum As a result of this dynamic, the Endless Frontier Act will computing, advanced communications, biotechnology, and generate more private sector economic activity by de-risking more — will be the superpower of investment into critical emerging the future. technologies. In recent years, the The government’s role of The country that wins the United States has been largely funding basic research is crucial race in key technologies — playing defense against the to the development of critical Chinese Communist Party’s such as artificial intelligence, technologies by exploring scientific investments. As an example of concepts that entrepreneurs can quantum computing, some of the defensive actions taken, experiment with to discover and advanced communications, the Justice Department has ramped develop products and technologies up law enforcement to counter the that have commercial viability. This biotechnology, and more — theft of U.S. technology, controls partnership has produced some of will be the superpower of have been tightened over dualour most innovative companies, the future. use exports, and we have worked including Genentech, Google, and to dissuade foreign governments Moderna. from installing Chinese products Additionally, the share of in their 5G networks. These activities are important and must domestic basic research funded by the United States’ federal continue, but more is required. government has declined in recent years, while China has It is time for the United States to go on offense by passing increased R&D investments into critical and emerging the bipartisan Endless Frontier Act, which would solidify technologies approximately thirtyfold over the last 25 years. U.S. leadership in scientific and technological innovation Accordingly, it is in our national interest to pair strategic through increased investments in the discovery, creation, and public bets in key technologies with private investment as we manufacturing of technology critical to national security and look to lead the world into the 21st century. History tells us economic competitiveness. that government can catalyze American innovation by boosting History reminds us that the United States has made bold fundamental research investments. investments before that have transformed our economy and our While our public sector can focus our nation on identifying geopolitical position. and developing these new technologies, the Endless Frontier For example, the Space Race began in 1957 with the Act will help ensure that these new technologies do not remain unanticipated Russian success of Sputnik 1. A year later, in a lab, but rather have a path toward commercialization President Eisenhower signed the National Aeronautics and woven into them from the very beginning. Space Act, establishing NASA. President Kennedy then We must act now to develop technologies that give the committed the nation to land a man on the moon. Ultimately, world an alternative to China’s offerings. The bipartisan Endless we would spend the equivalent of $140 billion in today’s Frontier Act is the way to do that. If we’re successful, we will dollars to fulfill that mission. The success of NASA would lead not only out-compete, out-innovate, and out-grow the Chinese to spin-offs in hundreds of new products, new industries, and Communist Party, but will also ultimately win the future. RF American leadership in aerospace itself. Today, U.S. dominance in aerospace contributes $2.3 trillion in GDP to the U.S. economy, Todd Young serves as the senior Senator from the State of including $143 billion in exports annually – more than the entire Indiana. RIPON FORUM May 2021
Getting the U.S.-EU Trade Relationship Back on Track by CLETE WILLEMS President Biden’s decision to include Europe in his first details got in the way. Presidential trip overseas in June has raised hopes about a Leadership on both sides must learn from these past breakthrough in trade relations between the United States mistakes. and European Union. The President consistently touts First, the U.S. and EU must be realistic about what can the importance of working with allies to address global be achieved. They should focus their immediate energy on challenges – including the economic and national security resolving specific and manageable trade irritants instead of threat posed by China – and the scheduling of a summit in seeking a more comprehensive free trade deal. In particular, Brussels that seeks to “enhance the two sides should prioritize digital and trade cooperation” outcomes on the longstanding suggests that a new era in U.S.Airbus-Boeing dispute, U.S. steel EU relations could be upon us. and aluminum tariffs and the U.S.-EU trade corresponding EU retaliation, and rapprochement is now more digital services taxes. important than ever. China’s Second, both sides will have attempts to remake the to show flexibility to resolve these international order under issues. With respect to the steel President Xi Jinping threaten issue, for example, the United long-held Trans-Atlantic values States should completely remove on democracy, human rights, its tariffs on the EU despite and free speech, as well as grumbling from the U.S. steel our mutual promotion of free industry. However, Europe must markets through institutions like also commit to measures that will the World Trade Organization actually target China’s excess (WTO). And for the last few capacity, prevent transshipment Clete Willems years, the U.S. and EU have through the EU market, and spent too much time and energy prevent import surges into the fighting each other that would United States. Likewise, on For the last few years, the be better spent on coordinating digital services taxes, the EU U.S. and EU have spent action against China. should reciprocate the flexibility too much time and energy But U.S. and EU leaders that the United States has should not underestimate shown in OECD negotiations on fighting each other that is the challenges of building a international taxation in recent better spent on coordinating productive working relationship months and agree to apply new on action against China. on trade. Disputes over aircraft tax rules to all companies, not just subsidies and agricultural policy American ones. have lingered for years, American Third, the Biden and European bureaucrats follow very different models of Administration and von der Leyen Commission must also regulation, and the Biden Administration’s fixation on Buy show restraint on key priorities and recognize the impact that American irks Europeans almost as much as the von der ill-designed policies may have on their key ally. This means Leyen Commission’s views on digital sovereignty trouble that the Biden Administration’s new Buy American rules Americans. Further, it is important to recall that many past should not be designed to discriminate against European Administrations had high hopes for U.S.-EU cooperation companies, but should only exclude companies from countries on trade issues, including the ill-fated Trans-Atlantic Trade like China that do not open their procurement markets up and Investment Partnership (T-TIP) negotiations during the to the U.S. Likewise, the EU’s digital sovereignty agenda, Obama Administration, only to see things fall apart once including the new Digital Marketing Act, should not single 12
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to impose joint sanctions with the U.S. to address human out U.S. companies or incorporate tech transfer policies that rights abuses in Xinjiang and it should be willing to walk resemble those in China. There are better and more evenaway from the EU-China Comprehensive Agreement on handed ways to regulate large technology companies. Investment (CAI) if China does not drop its misguided Fourth, a U.S.-EU agenda should expedite work that retaliation against members sets broad standards for both old of the European Parliament and new technologies through and European companies. multilateral bodies. This includes Both [the U.S. and EU] must Better market opportunities finally tabling a proposal at the WTO that would address Chinese be willing to take tough action in the U.S. can help soften the blow. industrial subsidies, state-owned against China to encourage it to Make no mistake — enterprises (SOEs), and forced follow international rules and none of this will be easy. But technology transfer as well as the June summit in Brussels finding ways to coordinate on norms and not back down in appears to offer the best export controls through the the face of attempted coercion opportunity in many years Wassenaar Arrangement and from China. to finally put the U.S.-EU other similar configurations. The trade relationship on a better proposed EU-U.S. Trade and track. RF Technology Council could also be used for this purpose. Clete Willems is a partner at Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Fifth, the U.S. and EU must fully support each other Feld, where he advises multinational companies, investors, when it comes to China. Both sides must be willing to and trade associations on international economic law and take tough action against China to encourage it to follow policy matters. He previously served as Deputy Assistant international rules and norms and not back down in the to the President for International Economics and Deputy face of attempted coercion from China. To give a recent Director of the National Economic Council. example, Europe should be commended for its willingness
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Time to Revitalize Pursuit of a U.S.-UK Free Trade Agreement by ANTHONY KIM & TERRY MILLER In an effort to secure and build on the already vital economic lockdowns and restrictions. Britain’s economy rebounded at 1 and security partnership between the U.S. and UK, the two percent in the final quarter of 2020, as reported by the Office for nations embarked on negotiations for a long-desired Free Trade National Statistics. By comparison, Germany grew at a mere 0.1 Agreement (FTA) last year shortly after the UK withdrawal from percent and the French economy contracted by 1.3 percent during the same period. the European Union. In the context of the coronavirus pandemic, it is all the An FTA between the U.S. and the UK would also provide a great and timely opportunity to reinvigorate the global free-trade more vital that the U.S. and UK act decisively, not only to help agenda. Unfortunately, the negotiations -- a high priority for both their own economies recover from the effects of the crisis, but to President Donald Trump and Prime Minister Boris Johnson, with give a boost to the worldwide cause of free trade as well. More than ever, defending and advancing trade freedom, bipartisan support in the U.S. Congress -- have been more or less derailed at this particular juncture. That needs to change. It’s time particularly in the context of making the U.S.-UK trade deal a for Washington to recommit to putting a bilateral free-trade pact reality, is critical. Countries that trade openly and freely grow faster and enjoy much more with London on the express widespread prosperity than track to completion. those that close themselves Trade negotiations between to the worldwide flows of Washington and London were commerce. formally launched in May Of course, the ultimate 2020 and have proceeded purpose of the U.S.-UK freeapace through five rounds. trade agreement is really The most recent came in late about reinforcing the Special October 2020. However, the Relationship between two of Biden administration’s notable the world’s largest and freest unwillingness to expedite economies that is the beating U.S-UK FTA negotiations, Terry Miller Anthony Kim heart of the free democratic its divergent trade policy world. priorities, and the looming To that end, ambition in expiration of the current Trade An Anglo-American trade and the intended scope of the trade Promotion Authority that allows investment agreement would agreement should go together only up-or-down votes on trade be a force generator for greater with ambition to conclude it as deals with no amendments, expeditiously as possible. have all resulted in dimming the economic dynamism and The U.S. still has a chance prospects for a U.S.-UK FTA prosperity. to conclude negotiations for a enactment in the near term. free-trade pact with the U.K. in Not all hope is lost, however. Concrete progress has been made, and there is still 2021. This is an opportunity that neither the U.S. nor the UK can afford to miss. strong bipartisan support for the process in Congress. While London is doing its part, Washington can and should An Anglo-American trade and investment agreement would be a force generator for greater economic dynamism and reprioritize the paused negotiations for an FTA between both prosperity. And it would play a key role in reinvigorating the nations. Achieving that practical and strategic goal will not only benefit America economically, but also contribute to advancing global free-trade agenda. RF According to the recently released 2021 Index of Economic the cause of freedom and security around the world. Freedom, The Heritage Foundation’s annual cross-country study, Brexit Britain is the world’s seventh-freest economy. More Anthony B. Kim is research manager and editor of the Index importantly, it appears economically resilient and well-positioned of Economic Freedom and in the Center for International Trade and Economics (CITE) at The Heritage Foundation for a much-needed economic rebound. Significantly, the overall UK economy has proven (heritage.org). Terry Miller is the director of CITE and Mark A. remarkably robust, weathering downturns caused by the COVID Kolokotrones Fellow in Economic Freedom at Heritage. 14
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WTO at a Crossroads
Will 2021 be a year of reform or irrelevance? by MARK LINSCOTT Already in its first months, 2021 has proven to be even if it is no easy task. The United States single-handedly remarkably eventful, with the full-scale assault on American sabotaged the effective operation of WTO dispute settlement democracy in the storming of the Capitol and a pandemic that during the Trump administration by refusing to agree to continues to break records in human suffering now playing appoint new Appellate Body members when terms ended. The United States has legitimate gripes about a history of out in India and many other parts of the world. Amid all this turmoil, trade wonks might be forgiven if overreach by the Appellate Body extending back to previous we forget that it has been nearly 75 years since the start of administrations, but now that it has support for reforms from negotiations that established the multilateral trading system. other key members, such as the European Union, the Biden Of course, the trade system itself has been in something of Administration can lead the WTO out of the current crisis and put the dispute settlement system, a turmoil in recent years and is now once the envy of other multilateral at a crossroads. Fortunately, the organizations, back into business. multilateral trading system may be The second challenge – fostering ready to turn the corner towards a better sense of shared purpose a future that offers stability and across the membership – is much progress. more complicated, as blame for the Indeed, signs are emerging that present dysfunctional dynamics the World Trade Organization might can be spread far and wide. Too finally be ready to reestablish its many developing countries rely on credibility as the strong foundation “special and differential status” to on which virtually every trade excuse protectionist policies, and relationship in the world is built. there must be greater willingness The WTO has new leadership, in the to adapt to full implementation person of the first female and first of WTO agreements. There also African Director General, Ngozi Mark Linscott tends to be too much “group-think” Okonjo-Iweala. It has survived the with large contingents of WTO burn-down-the-house antics of an members too ready to go with the Signs are emerging erratic U.S. administration, led by flow in endorsing positions of the a President who reveled in making that the World Trade most disruptive voices, generally threats to leave it. And it appears Organization might India and South Africa, even if to have finally sunk in across broad their individual circumstances finally be ready to sections of its membership that a might argue in favor of support for long series of failures to update its reestablish its credibility middle-ground compromises. And structure and reform its rules must as the strong foundation many of the developed countries be reversed, even if that involves are always ready to give lip service on which virtually every subgroups of WTO members taking to the importance of revitalizing the the initiative before the whole trade relationship in the WTO but have tended to prioritize follows along. world is built. negotiating trade agreements This more optimistic scenario outside its structure. Of course, then will depend on addressing several there is China, primarily motivated critical challenges: 1) reforming and reinvigorating its dispute settlement system; 2) resetting to keep its non-market and trade distortive practices — such dynamics among key nation players; and, 3) completing as state aid to and through state-owned enterprises — free of negotiations on a first set of new agreements and embarking negotiated new disciplines. Finally, the third critical need in order to realize a newly on a series of new ones. The first challenge should be the most straightforward, invigorated WTO is demonstrated success in negotiating 16
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new agreements, in whatever form that requires. The depend on finding room for common ground on vaccines ideal new agreements would be multilateral ones, such and intellectual property rights. as the Trade Facilitation Agreement concluded at the Bali A more focused and relevant WTO can have a bright Ministerial Conference in December 2013. However, truly future. But that future is certainly not assured, and threats multilateral agreements may to it will continue to expand as have to wait until the WTO countries seek alliances outside has chalked up some successes The World Trade Organization of the WTO whether in free through “plurilateral” trade agreement form or other can have a bright future. But approaches. There is a structures, such as supply chain that future is certainly not lot of attention to ongoing partnerships. For that reason, negotiations to eliminate the opportunity to turn things assured, and threats to it will harmful fisheries subsidies, around in 2021 should not be continue to expand as countries missed if the WTO is to remain which have contributed for seek out alliances outside of decades to the dire straits of the bulwark for a liberal global global fisheries. If a strong economy for years to come. RF the WTO. multilateral agreement by the Ministerial meeting at the end Mark Linscott is a senior fellow of this year proves unattainable, a smaller coalition of the with the Atlantic Council’s South Asia Center and a senior willing and ambitious should follow up with a plurilateral advisor at the Asia Group. He served as the Assistant U.S. effort. Even the ongoing plurilateral negotiations Trade Representative for WTO and Multilateral Affairs on electronic commerce may require some paring of from 2012 to 2016 with responsibility for coordinating U.S. participation to get to a worthwhile set of disciplines for the trade policies in the WTO, and as the Assistant U.S. Trade digital economy of the future. Prospects for WTO results Representative for South and Central Asian Affairs from that can contribute to the global response to COVID may December 2016 to December 2018.
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Should the Federal Government Legalize Pot?
Legalizing Marijuana is a Threat to Public Health & Safety by KEVIN SABET Marijuana legalization has been a hot topic of making products that are growing ever more popular, such discussion in a handful of states across the country. Of as concentrates, waxes, and vaping oils, and potency has course, those only skimming the headlines may not realize risen upwards of 99 percent THC. that more legalization efforts have failed than have been According to a recent release of data from Colorado, successful in recent years. But what’s truly concerning, and teens are increasingly using these high-potency products at potentially setting us up for decades of harm, is the fact that alarming rates. This also coincides with a rise in marijuana these legalization efforts are running ahead of the data and being detected in toxicology reports for teens who have ignoring red flags. died by suicide in Colorado. It’s important to note marijuana decriminalization is the Recent research has found concerning links between removal of criminal penalties marijuana use and severe mental for low-level marijuana use. illness. One such study found This means putting an end to daily users of average-potency arresting folks for simply using marijuana were three times or possessing small amounts more likely to be diagnosed with of the drug. This policy, psychosis. Heavy users of the paired with expungements of aforementioned high-potency previous records and increased products were five times more funding for treatment, is a likely. And despite industry policy worthy of support. rhetoric, marijuana is indeed Legalization, on the other addictive. A recent study found hand, means the creation one in three past-year users had of an industry aimed solely what clinicians call a Cannabis at increasing profits. This Use Disorder, or addiction. industry, which is quickly Furthermore, a study Kevin Sabet becoming a powerhouse in released in the past month terms of size and lobbying found that teenage marijuana power, profits immensely users have double the A 2017 analysis by The off the sale of today’s highly prevalence of a use disorder Denver Post found the number potent and much more than nicotine, alcohol, and, in of people dying at the hands of addictive marijuana. most categories of users, even My latest book, prescription drug misusers. marijuana-impaired drivers in “Smokescreen: What Thousands of similar Colorado more than doubled the Marijuana Industry studies have found significant since the implementation of Doesn’t Want You to Know,” links to additional serious highlights the harms of mental health conditions— commercialization, and in just commercialization in depth, including schizophrenia, the last year, marijuana-related but let’s briefly examine anxiety, depression and DUIs across Colorado some of the most egregious suicide. If the risks of lowharms that have resulted from medium potency pot are this were up 48%. commercialization. serious, what is 99 percent There are hundreds THC doing to the human of different compounds found in marijuana, but the brain? main psychoactive component that gets a user “high” is Legalization is damaging public safety, too. tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC. In the 60s, 70s, and even A 2017 analysis by The Denver Post found the number the mid-90s, THC levels never rose above three to five of people dying at the hands of marijuana-impaired drivers percent, on average. Now, the commercial industry is (cont’d on page 20) 18
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Should the Federal Government Legalize Pot?
Washington Needs to Get Out of the Marijuana Enforcement Business by PAUL ARMENTANO When it comes to marijuana policy, it’s time for from the threat of undue federal interference. The decision was historic; it marked the first the federal government to get out of the way. time in 50 years that a chamber of Congress has Eighteen states, home to over 40 percent of the ever voted to reconsider the prohibition of marijuana U.S. population, have legalized the possession and under federal law. But Congress’ action was not use of marijuana by anyone over the age of 21. Over without precedent. 30 states regulate the production and dispensing of Nearly a century ago, the federal government cannabis for medical purposes. made a similar decision when it repealed the federal Federal law, which denies that cannabis prohibition of alcohol. Then, possesses any therapeutic much like today, politicians use whatsoever and which recognized that prohibition mandates that possessing was a politically unpopular any amount of cannabis is a policy that was running afoul criminal offense, is woefully of a growing number of state out of sync with these state laws. policies. Each year, this Their solution? Respect chasm between state and the 10th Amendment of federal law grows wider. the U.S. Constitution and In November, voters in empower states, not the five states approved ballot federal government, to be the measures legalizing adultprimary arbiters of alcohol use marijuana production policy. and sales. This year, three This path made sense in additional states – New Paul Armentano 1933. It makes equal sense Mexico, New York, and today. Virginia – have each passed Unfortunately, partisanship similar laws. Several Eighteen states, home to has blinded many Republicans additional states are poised – politicians who traditionally over 40 percent of the U.S. to do so within the coming tout the merits of limited months. population, have legalized government, increased civil Slowly but surely, some the possession and use of liberties, and a deference to members of Congress are states’ rights – from joining marijuana by anyone over finally beginning to take in the effort to repeal federal notice. the age of 21. Over 30 states cannabis prohibition. Of the In December, members regulate the production and 228 members who voted for of the U.S. House of the passage of the MORE Act, dispensing of cannabis for Representatives voted to only five were GOP members. approve the Marijuana medical purposes. This partisanship at the Opportunity, Reinvestment, federal level is inconsistent and Expungement (MORE) with voters’ sentiments. Act, which removes cannabis Among the public, strong majorities of Democrats from the federal Controlled Substances Act. (78%), Republicans (62%), and Independents (67%) By repealing the federal prohibition of marijuana, all support ending marijuana prohibition. the MORE Act eliminates the state-federal conflict An equal percentage of Americans oppose the and provides state governments with the explicit authority to establish their own cannabis laws free (cont’d on next page) RIPON FORUM May 2021
politicians to try to put this genie back in the bottle or (Armentano, cont’d) federal government’s interference in states that have to continue to place their collective heads in the sand. As former Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis already made the decision to legalize marijuana famously opined, “A for either medical or state may, if its citizens recreational purposes. choose, serve as a Federal law, which denies that It is time for members of Congress cannabis possesses any therapeutic laboratory.” Our nation’s federalist principles – and those on the use whatsoever and which mandemand that Congress right side of the aisle respect voters’ decisions in particular – to stand dates that possessing any amount on cannabis – and repeal up on behalf of their of cannabis is a criminal offense, the failed policy of constituents, many of federal prohibition. RF is woefully out of sync with these whom now reside in jurisdictions that have state policies. Paul Armentano is the legalized marijuana Deputy Director of for either recreational or medical purposes. At a time of record public NORML — the National Organization for the Reform support for legalization and when the majority of of Marijuana Laws — and he is the co-author of the states regulate marijuana use, it makes no sense from book Marijuana Is Safer: So Why Are We Driving a political, fiscal, or cultural perspective for federal People to Drink? (Chelsea Green, 2013).
such as the Drug Policy Alliance, NORML, and others (Sabet, cont’d) in Colorado more than doubled since the implementation are now feigning crocodile tears over the development. of commercialization, and in just the last year, marijuana- Legalization advocate Shaleen Title even penned an op-ed related DUIs across Colorado were up 48%. A study by for the Boston Globe arguing federal legalization shouldn’t AAA found similar increases in Washington state. occur until Big Tobacco is prevented from taking over. The final issue worth consideration is the fact that Such honesty is welcome, but it does sting of irony. legalization has one inevitable endpoint already coming Public health advocates have been warning this would to pass: Big Tobacco, Big come about for close to a Pharma, and Big Alcohol decade. And many of those A study released in the past monopolizing the market. who are now signaling In 2019, Altria, the outrage were among those month found that teenage marimaker of Marlboro cigarettes, who shouted down such juana users have double the invested $2 billion into warnings as nothing more prevalence of a use disorder Canadian marijuana company than fear mongering. Cronos. Soon after, Imperial As we move forward, than nicotine, alcohol, and, in Brands, one of the largest we must ask ourselves a most categories of users, even tobacco companies in the simple question: are the prescription drug misusers. world, invested more than very real harms that have $100 million in another resulted from legalization Canadian company to develop worth perpetuating? Is marijuana vaping products. Last month, it was revealed increased substance use something we wish to continue that Altria hired lobbyists to push lawmakers in Virginia to see? For the sake of the health and safety of future to commercialize marijuana and craft how sales would generations, we must halt the commercialization and unfold. normalization of marijuana. RF Astoundingly, after years of laying the groundwork that would invariably allow the corporate addiction giants Dr. Kevin Sabet is a former senior drug policy advisor to enter the marijuana industry, leading legalization in the Clinton, Bush, and Obama Administrations. He advocates are now trying to rewrite history. currently serves as president of Smart Approaches to Following reporting that Altria and other tobacco Marijuana (SAM). His latest book, Smokescreen: What and alcohol interests were forming a lobbying group to the Marijuana Industry Doesn’t Want You to Know, was influence federal legalization, pro-legalization groups published April 20th by Simon & Schuster. 20
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JOHN TOPPING 1923-2021
On Tuesday, March 9th, The Ripon Society lost a was one of the first to call for strong steps to cut down founding member and past President of the organization involuntary exposure to cigarette smoke. when John Topping Jr. of Bethesda, Maryland passed In 1986, John founded the Climate Institute, the first away at the age of 78. John was one of the original international organization to address climate change, founding members of the Ripon Society on the campus where he served as President until his passing. John of Harvard University in 1962 and helped to revive served as Editor for portions of a First Assessment Report the organization in 1981. Those who knew him said by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change he relished at announcing that the once small-time (IPCC) and was the lead author of the impacts on human Ripon Society of Cambridge, Massachusetts had settlement, industry and transport sections. For his efforts become a national on this front, John organization. was recognized by the He began his IPCC with a certificate lifetime of public for contributing to service by earning the award of their his bachelor’s Nobel Peace Prize degree from of 2007. In addition Dartmouth College to contributing followed by a law to numerous degree from Yale publications and University. His writings, he was also education led him the co-author of the to serve in the U.S. Clean Air Handbook Air Force as a Judge on U.S. air pollution Advocate General’s law and editor of two Corps (JAG) volumes on climate Officer. His Air change. In 2002, Force colleagues, John was recognized many of whom for his contributions John was one of the original remained life-long to the Environment founding members of the Ripon friends, fondly recall as the first recipient Society on the campus of Harvard Sunday brunch of Dartmouth’s Dr. conversations University in 1962 and helped to revive Martin Luther King with John at the Jr. Social Justice the organization in 1981. Andrews Air Force Award for Lifetime Base Officers Club Achievement. discussing future career plans to help make the world In addition to his public service outside of politics, a better place. he also spent countless hours helping to improve Following his service in the Air Force, John the Republican Party by offering new policy ideas, continued his life of public service by working in a writing strategy papers, and connecting the Party to number of roles. He worked as Staff Director of the the academic world. John developed a reputation for President’s Advisory Council on Minority Business his tireless yet joyful demeanor and approach to his Enterprise and as Chief Counsel of the U.S. Commerce work and the causes he cared deeply about. He leaves Department’s Office of Minority Business Enterprise. behind the legacy of a common sense approach to good In his role as Staff Director at the Environmental governance and a lifetime of public service. He will be Protection Agency’s Office of Air & Radiation, John dearly missed. RF 22
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News & Events
Herrera Beutler Expresses Hope That Common Ground Can Be Found on Immigration Reform & Border Security WASHINGTON, DC — In remarks on April 29th before a virtual meeting of The Ripon Society, U.S. Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler (WA-3) expressed hope that Republicans and Democrats in Congress can reach agreement on a plan to reform immigration and strengthen border security in the coming year. “We’re seeing challenges down on our Southern border, with illegal crossings going through the roof in the past few months,” she stated. “With that surge, we’ve seen spikes in human trafficking and child labor. When solving this problem, the biggest key is making sure we are respectful, compassionate, and fair. We need to look at doing this in a fair and equitable way that also respects the rule of law. “Both sides really use this issue as a political football, and they do it because both sides think they get a political kick out of it. But if we’re willing to put aside some of that rhetoric on both sides, I think we can come to some reasonable, fair solutions when it comes to our border. “We have to recognize our country has been amazing in part because we’re a melting pot. That’s why having fair and just immigration policy is critical for us as a nation.” Herrera Beutler was elected to Congress in 2010 and is the first Hispanic in history to represent Washington state on the federal level. In the years since her election, both Democratic and Republican Presidents have signed legislation she has authored into law, helping her to not only earn the ranking as Washington state’s most effective Member of Congress, but earn a reputation as a leader who is willing
to work across the aisle to solve the challenges facing American families. She touched on one of these challenges — surprise billing for new mothers — in her remarks. “When a woman gives birth,” Herrera Beutler observed, “she may forget to fill out health insurance forms
co-authored the No Surprise Bills for New Moms Act, which she reintroduced last month with California Democrat Katie Porter (CA-45). “This legislation basically requires that all health plans and insurers cover those newborns under the mother’s coverage for 30 days after birth,” she stated. “It’s very simple. After the birth of my first one, I was really focused on her in the NICU. I wasn’t even out of the hospital in 30 days, let alone looking at the bills. So, this legislation would say that the kids are put on the roll first 30 days and then it establishes a uniform 60-day enrollment period for all plans and insurers after that first 30 days. It simply gives parents sufficient time to enroll their newborns in coverage and handle any enrollment issues that could arise.” Beyond the well-being of moms and children across the country, Herrera Beutler stated that she is also focusing on the “We have to recognize our health of Americans as a whole, country has been amazing especially during the COVID-19 in part because we’re a pandemic. “COVID has changed us all melting pot.” undeniably. One of the biggest Jaime Herrera Beutler keys I believe in returning to Remarks to The Ripon Society normal — and that’s my goal—is April 29, 2021 access to vaccines. In Congress, I’ve helped with crafting health spending portions of the COVID on time to add the child to her health bill that include money for research insurance plan. If she does that, she’s in and development and manufacturing trouble — a lot of trouble. Unfortunately, and distribution of vaccines across the the way the system works now, if a mom country. And that’s helped us get to a or dad misses that window, and the place where we now have several highly expenses weren’t anticipated, they are effective vaccines. going to be on the hook for those bills.” “We’re finally beginning to have To help solve this problem, Herrera that increased access. My hope is that, as Beutler — who also founded and co- this has all become more available, we’re chairs the Maternity Care Caucus — has going to see everyone take advantage of RIPON FORUM May 2021
these vaccines, because ultimately we all want to get past this pandemic and move on.” Following her opening remarks, Herrera Beutler took a number of questions, including one about President Biden’s proposed infrastructure package. She said that the key area of disagreement between the President and Congressional Republicans can be summed up in one word—scope. “I was at the summit two weeks ago in Annapolis hosted by Maryland Governor Larry Hogan with members of the Problem Solvers Caucus, a bipartisan group of senators, and the governors of Louisiana, Pennsylvania, and Virginia,” she recounted. “The goal of it was to determine if we as a group agree on a scope. Can we agree on what transportation means? And those discussions will directly inform our conversations with the White House. I think there is a recognition that other
areas need investment or solutions and innovation, such as broadband, but what we’re really trying to say is let’s bring the scope of this down to what transportation infrastructure really is: roads, bridges, waterways, etc. “I expect that Nancy Pelosi will offer up a giant pie-in-the-sky proposal in the House that will make it hard for some of us to support it. And then they’ll whittle that down in the Senate because Joe Manchin and others believe this needs to be more limited. Then we might get a second bite at the apple in the House, but we’ll see if President Biden really wants to step in and truly make it a bipartisan process. It remains to be seen whether the President truly believes that or not.” Finally, Herrera Beutler was asked about her vote earlier this year to impeach former President Donald Trump — she is one of only ten Republicans to do so. “Overall, I think my vote has been positive,” the Washington lawmaker
stated. “That doesn’t mean a lot of people agree with it. When you look at the Conference vote that we had a few months ago regarding Liz Cheney, I made the point during that conference that this isn’t about Liz Cheney. This is about we, as a Conference, determining our destiny. “Who are we going to be? Are we going to be about one personality? That, I would argue, is dooming us to be a minority party. Or are we going to be a united Republican majority that is dedicated to the ideals of limited government, low taxation, and individual liberty? All those things made me be part of the Republican Party in the first place. “I think most folks just want us to move forward, and if you’re going to move forward in good faith, let’s all work together as a team. I would say there are enough problems that are being thrown our way from the Left, so there’s no reason to pick fights amongst ourselves.” RF
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Name: Michelle Steel
Occupation: Representative for California’s 48th Congressional District Previous positions held: Member of the State Board of Equalization, Chair of Orange County Board of Supervisors Why did you run for Congress in the first place? I ran for Congress to be a commonsense voice for Orange County. I started my career as a tax fighter after seeing how difficult it was for my mother, who did not speak English, to navigate the tax laws and state regulations while running a business. That motivated my career in public service and has driven me to continue serving at the federal level – I want to help you keep more of your hard-earned dollars in your pocket. What are your top legislative priorities over the next two years? A big issue for my district is repealing the SALT Cap. The average deduction lost in my district was $28,532. I want to work on behalf of my constituents to ensure they are keeping more of their hard-earned money. I also want to cut down on wasteful government spending, so I introduced a bill that will stop federal funds from going to the failed California High-Speed Rail Project, which is expected to cost more than $100 billion. Ultimately, I am focusing on lowering taxes, creating jobs, and expanding opportunities for all Americans. In February, you introduced a bipartisan resolution condemning discrimination and violence against the AAPI community. What else needs to be done to ensure the racism, hate, and intolerance today is put to an end? I introduced this bipartisan resolution because the discrimination and hateful targeting of the AAPI community has to stop. We have to realize that we are all Americans, and that Asian Americans are not responsible for the COVID-19 pandemic and the devastation it has caused all of our communities. Many people targeted their frustration at members of the AAPI community because they were looking for someone to blame. It’s important that people realize that this virus came from China – not your Asian American neighbors, friends, and coworkers. Finally, what does the American Dream mean to you? The American Dream to me means everyone has the opportunity to succeed and build a better life for themselves. We are so lucky to live in America. English is my third language, and only in a country like ours could someone like me get elected to serve their community in Congress. On my first day in office, I looked up at the Capitol dome with teary eyes because I never thought I’d be serving this great country in Congress. This is my American Dream, and I want other young people to have the freedoms and opportunities to achieve their own American Dream. 28
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