5 things to know: Tuesday

5 things to know: Tuesday

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President Trump's proposed tariffs dominate NAFTA talks

WASHINGTON (AP) - The president is not backing down from his proposal for steel and aluminum tariffs despite warnings of a trade war, and while the administration is evaluating NAFTA.

The North American Free Trade Agreement is a huge vehicle for both heavy metal industries, exchanging with both Canada and Mexico.

U.S Trade Rep Robert Lighthizer reports the three countries have only reached agreements on six chapters out of 30.

This was the seventh round of talks concerning the agreement.

Lighthizer said i's not the progress he'd hoped for and he fears the longer they proceed, the more political head-winds they'll feel.

President Trump said he'll only consider rescinding the tariffs if Canada and Mexico get rid of some very bad deals.

"If we don't make a deal, I'll terminate NAFTA," President Trump said, "but if I do make a deal which is fair to the workers and to the American people, that would be, I would imagine, one of the points we will negotiate. It will be tariffs on steel for Canada and for Mexico. So we'll see what happens."

The trade rep said if all three countries can't make an agreement, the U.S. is prepared to deal bi-laterally.


Lubbock steel companies react to President's proposed tariff

LUBBOCK, Texas - In the South Plains, steel companies are in good shape but some are unsure of the full effect a 25% tariff could have. 

Randy Teinert, owner of Teinert Metals, relies on international imports and said he is fearful he will have to start limiting the amount of steel he is distributing. He said he also believes the tariff could possibly affect other industries.

"It'll affect farmers, the cost of their equipment that they purchase," Teinert said. "Did they make enough money from their last crop to be able to buy the new equipment?"

As for John Beck, the CEO of Beck Steel, he said he is not concerned about the president's push.

"The last time that tariff's were passed back in 2002, the United States had the biggest boom ever in construction from 2002 to 2007," Beck said. 

Beck's company is a steel fabricator, focusing on project management and in-house engineering.

"Material is probably 20 to 30 percent of what we do anyways," he said. "All the material that we buy is here in the United States as it is, and if the price goes up, it probably will go up a small amount." 

Beck's said he hopes the tariff will bring more business to domestic steel and lead the U.S. towards fair trade agreements.

The White House confirms it will make this protectionist policy official in the next two weeks. 


USDA approves program to pay back cotton producers

LUBBOCK, Texas -The Trump Administration giving a big boon to this region's biggest industry. Along with getting cotton labeled a covered commodity, the USDA announced it will pay back some producers.

The "Cotton Ginning Cost Share" program will provide farmers financial aid with a one-time payment relative to the crop.

"The price for cottonseed has been systemically declining over time for the last couple of years. This is a means to provide some much needed economic assistance to producers," Kody Bessent with Plains Cotton Growers said.

Producers that planted cotton in 2016 and that were actively engaged are eligible for this program. 

The one-time payment will be based on reported acreage for 2016, times 20 percent of the average ginning cost for that region.

"It is 20 percent of that so that's why ginning cost share assistance is set at $19.65 per acre (for Texas)."

The subsidy is the USDA's plan to maintain producers' livelihoods.

Over the past decade, nationwide businesses ginning cotton have declined 33 percent. With this disaster relief and the protections from the upcoming Farm Bill revision, the future looks much brighter.


DACA deadline approaches, lawmakers scramble for a solution

WASHINGTON (AP) - Yesterday was supposed to be the last day for young undocumented immigrants to register under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Program.

But a federal judge has ordered the program to continue with no congressional action in sight.

President Trump squarely laying the blame at the feet of the democrats.

Protesters rally and hold a "lie in" in Washington to urge lawmakers to come up with a solution.

The president insists republicans are ready to take action, but require funding for immigration reform and the border wall.

San Antonio Congressman Joaquin Castro said it's shameful that lawmakers haven't fixed DACA. 

"Every day that Congress fails to act hardworking true Dreamers lose their protected status and their lives and livelihoods are put on the line," Castro said. "We must ensure that these dreamers are able to stay in the only country that they've called home."

Castro advocates for "the Dream Act", legislation that would provide a pathway to citizenship for DACA recipients, but leaves out the president's border wall and eliminate funding for detention centers.

Four separate bi-partisan proposals overhauling the immigration system failed to pass the senate last month.


Ex-Trump aide says he'll likely cooperate with Mueller

WASHINGTON (AP) - A former Trump campaign aide spent much of Monday promising to defy a subpoena from special counsel Robert Mueller, even throwing down the challenge to "arrest me," then backed off his defiance by saying he would probably cooperate in the end.

In an interview with The Associated Press, Sam Nunberg said he was angry over Mueller's request to have him appear in front of a grand jury and turn over thousands of emails and other communications with other ex-officials, among them his mentor Roger Stone. But he predicted that, in the end, he'd find a way to comply.

"I'm going to end up cooperating with them," he said.

It was a reversal from his tone throughout the day, when he lashed out at Trump and his campaign and threatened to defy Mueller in a series of interviews.

"Why do I have to do it?" Nunberg told CNN of the subpoena. "I'm not cooperating," he said later as he challenged officials to charge him.

In the earlier interviews, Nunberg said he thought Mueller may already have incriminating evidence on Trump directly, although he would not say what that evidence might be.

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