It was a big week for Southwest Colorado’s congressional delegation with President Donald Trump’s announcement of tariffs on steel and nuclear talks with North Korea, but also a few local issues:
$2 million TIGER Grant for Ute Mountain Ute TribeOn Wednesday Sens. Michael Bennet and Cory Gardner announced a $2 million grant from the Department of Transportation for the Ute Mountain Ute Tribe to improve a 2½-mile stretch of U.S. Highway 160.
“This is great news for the Ute Mountain Ute Tribe as these Department of Transportation funds will help make critical upgrades on this stretch of highway,” Gardner said in a news release.
DACA deadline passesThe deadline set by Trump for Congress to pass legal status for recipients of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) came and went Monday. The deadline was essentially nullified by an ongoing court battle between the administration and two states.
Bennet and Gardner were both deeply involved in negotiations to pass legal status protections to Dreamers.
“For months, I worked with a bipartisan group of senators to find a solution that protects Dreamers and keeps families together,” Bennet said in a news release Monday. “We’ll continue fighting in Congress for a legislative fix, but let’s be clear: The onus falls on President Trump to fix the crisis he created.”
The courts have mandated that DACA renewals continue, and Bennet signed a letter with colleagues today calling on the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to expedite DACA renewals.
We encourage DHS and USCIS (U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services) to expedite the review and processing of these renewal applications,” the senators wrote. “An estimated 20,000 young people have already seen their DACA status expire, and until those benefits are restored, they are vulnerable to the threat of detention and deportation.”
Gardner denounces tariffsPresident Trump sent shockwaves through Capitol Hill after announcing tariffs on steel and aluminum last week. The president officially authorized the 25 percent tariffs on steel and 10 percent on aluminum Thursday.
“I have concerns that these tariffs will not have the intended impact that the President is hoping to achieve, which is a growing economy and higher wages for all Americans across the country,” Gardner said in a news release Thursday. “I am disappointed in this announcement and will be working with the businesses that may be potentially impacted by this decision along with the Administration about how best to continue our joint efforts to create jobs and spur new growth.”
Gardner urges Trump to keep pressuring North KoreaThe White House announced last night that President Trump would accept an invitation to meet directly with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.
The meeting, the details of which are not yet finalized, comes at a contentious time in relations between the U.S. and North Korea over Jong-un’s nuclear program. The face-to-face is expected to happen sometime before May.
“We are here because the President’s pressure has worked, but the next step is very, very significant,” Gardner said Friday morning on MSNBC’s Morning Joe. “And our No. 1 goal has to be the complete, irreversible, verifiable denuclearization.”
Before the announcement Thursday evening, Gardner and a group of senators sent a letter to the president urging him to continue the pressure on North Korea.