Britain: Just Stay in the EU

The “president” is eager to make a trade deal with the UK in the event it leaves the EU. If this doesn’t scare Brits into putting a decisive end to Brexit, it should.

Brits: Trump is not your friend. He is more like a big, nasty vulture who just wants to pick over your corpse.

From the Financial Times:

The US president, on the second day of a UK state visit, claimed that transatlantic trade between the two countries could be “two and even three times what we’re doing now” after Brexit, but made it clear that it would involve painful choices for Britain. “Everything will be on the table — the NHS, everything,” Mr Trump said at a joint conference with UK prime minister Theresa May, as he looked ahead to a post-Brexit trade agreement.

Trump saying that the NHS must be “on the table” was not the smartest negotiating tactic. Let’s face it; Mr. “Art of the Deal” couldn’t negotiate his way out of a wet paper bag.

From the New Statesman:

Absent a free trade agreement, American healthcare providers already compete to deliver services in the UK where the NHS puts out contracts to competitive tender. This is not without its own controversy, but was a unilateral decision made by a British government seeking value for money.

However, US demands regarding reimbursement regimes for pharmaceuticals and medical devices give greater cause for thought. The US has long taken issue with the fact that the NHS’s approach to drug procurement — where it makes its own assessment as to the fair value of the drugs it buys — pulls down prices worldwide. Previously, in negotiations with Australia and New Zealand, the US backed away from trade asks on drug pricing in order to get agreements over the line, but due to the NHS’s global significance and market power, the incentives for the US to push the UK harder are more pronounced.

The idea of opening up the taxpayer-funded NHS to more US medical companies — the health service already buys in some capabilities from the private sector, including US groups — is highly controversial in Britain. A trade deal with the US could also potentially involve the NHS having to pay higher prices for drugs made by American companies. The NHS currently pays significantly less for medicines from US companies than American healthcare purchasers.

Such a deal, Britain. You, too, can watch your loved ones die because insulin and supplies cost up to $1,300 per month.

The U.S. also wants the UK to lower its agricultural standards so that we can sell them our famous chlorinated chicken and our soon-to-be uninspected pork. Some guy named Woody Johnson, identified in The Guardian as “a close friend of the US president,” suggests that Brits don’t have to buy the stuff.

Johnson was also pressed on whether the US would seek a loosening of agricultural standards, including the importation of chlorinated chicken. He said the products should be offered to British consumers who could decide whether to buy them.

“There will have to be some deal where you give the British people a choice,” he said. “American products can come over and be allowed to come over. Agriculture is extremely important to the president and to any American president … but if the British people like it, they can buy it; if they don’t like it, they don’t have to buy it.”

Johnson said complaints about US food standards were ill-informed. “It’s completely safe. They can have a choice, we have five million Brits coming over every year and I’ve never heard a complaint about anything to do with chicken,” he said.

And I’m sure Woody interviews every one of those five million and asks what they thought of the chicken. The issue is that the U.S. is really good at mass producing chicken very cheaply. For that reason we Americans eat more chicken than any other meat, in spite of the fact that our chicken carries more diseases like salmonella than any other meat. What would cheap American chicken do to the British poultry industry, hm?

In other stable genius news, some congressional Republicans actually are talking about taking away Trump’s tariff privileges.

Congressional Republicans have begun discussing whether they may have to vote to block President Trump’s planned new tariffs on Mexico, potentially igniting a second standoff this year over Trump’s use of executive powers to circumvent Congress, people familiar with the talks said.

The vote, which would be the GOP’s most dramatic act of defiance since Trump took office, could also have the effect of blocking billions of dollars in border wall funding that the president had announced in February when he declared a national emergency at the southern border, said the people, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the talks are private.

Trump’s plans to impose tariffs on Mexico — with which the United States has a free-trade agreement — rely on the president’s declaration of a national emergency at the border. But the law gives Congress the right to override the national emergency determination by passing a resolution of disapproval.

I say the only possible reason Republican lawmakers would even think about overriding Trump is that they are hearing from big-ticket corporate Republican donors who are losing money because of Trump’s tariffs and trade wars.

You might remember that Congress already passed one resolution disapproving the so-called emergency, but Trump vetoed it and there weren’t enough votes to override the veto. Maybe they’ll try again?

This time around, some GOP lawmakers and aides say there could be the votes in the Senate to overturn a presidential veto, because of the intense GOP opposition to tariffs. Such an outcome would be an embarrassing rebuke to the president by members of his own party — even if the veto override vote ultimately failed in the House, where Republicans have shown scant willingness to oppose the president. It takes two-thirds support in the House and Senate to overturn a presidential veto.

Traditional pro-business Republican groups have also announced strong opposition to the tariffs, and some are urging Congress to act. The Koch-backed group Americans for Prosperity sent a letter to congressional leaders on Tuesday calling the proposed tariffs “the largest tax hike in modern history” and urging “it’s time for Congress to do its job.”

Seems to me Trump has put the GOP between a rock and his own hard head. They’re going to have to choose between their deep-pocket donors like the Kochs or Trump and his rabid voter base.

(Photo credit should read TOLGA AKMEN/AFP/Getty Images)