Maryland representative discusses hot-button topics at national level
EASTON, Md. – Washington D.C. has been in a state of chaos recently after the longest government shutdown in the nation’s history, the threat of another shutdown this month, and now the oval office’s decision to pull out of a cold war-era arms treaty with Russia.
Friday we spoke one-on-one with Andy Harris about his views on these topics in D.C.
When asked about the handling of the shutdown, Harris blamed Democrats for not negotiating with President Trump, though the commander-in-chief had boasted he was proud to shut the government down.
“I’m sorry that congress was unwilling, both Mr. Schumer in the Senate, and the Speaker in the House were unwilling to negotiate with the president and come to a compromise.”
Now the country faces the prospect of another shutdown in two weeks. Harris says he expects the government to remain open this time, but stresses the need for negotiations between the legislative and executive branches.
“You need a combination of things. You need more judges, you need more customs and border protection agents, you probably need more ICE agents in the United States. You need deterrents, you need to take care of the women and children who cross the border, but you do need physical deterrents at the border.”
The president, in recent days, has brought up the possibility of declaring a national emergency to get his wall. Harris says not only does he believe Trump has the power, but he expects him to enact it, and use Department of Defense funds to build infrastructure along the border with Mexico.
“But if they don’t do it, it appears, in my reading of the law of the presidential powers, the president has the ability to declare a state of emergency, has the ability to do the wall, the wall or fencing infrastructure, and I think he’s going to do it.”
But that has been disputed by many democrats, and even republicans like Senator Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, who has said that decision is, “going to go to court and the wall won’t get built.”
It was announced Friday by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo that the U.S. is suspending the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty with Russia. Harris says this was after years of cheating by Russia, leaving the U.S., and its allies, vulnerable.
“I hope that the threat of withdrawal from this treaty forces the Russians to come to the table, agree that they have breached the last treaty, destroy those weapons, and make the world a safer place.”
Senator Chris Coons sees the U.S. withdraw from the INF treaty with Russia differently.
In a statement, Coons says this decision “continues the Trump administration’s alarming pattern of walking away from bilateral and multi-lateral international agreements with no plans for how to negotiate new or improved deals to advance our interests.”