U.S. Rep. Joe Wilson’s 18th Annual Bus Tour through his South Carolina Second District is this week, taking him to meet with business owners, constituents and community leaders throughout the five counties he represents.
During a stop at Beverage South in West Columbia on Tuesday morning, South Carolina Radio Network caught up with Wilson to discuss a variety of subjects:
When asked if he’s heard from businesses in his district who may be affected by tariffs on imports imposed by the Trump administration, Wilson said, “I’ve asked if there’s been an impact. There has not. But it is being monitored very closely.”
Wilson referred to the tariffs as a “negotiating tactic” by the President.
“Also in the district I represent, the steel industry,” he said. “Nucor of Swansea, CMC of Cayce and so I see that this is . . . ultimately it will be beneficial for fair trade.”
Wilson said he has not spoken directly to President Trump regarding the tariffs, but he’s spoken with members of his administration.
“I have expressed concern about tariffs,” he said. “To me, tariffs are taxes. But I see what the President is trying to do is to promote jobs in America and to reduce the level of imbalance we have in trade around the world.”
Wilson said its passage last week was a cooperative effort on Capitol Hill.
“On Monday the defense bill actually was passed for the first time in 20 years before the end of the fiscal year,” he said. “So for the first time in 20 years the House, Senate and President worked together to provide funding for our military in advance and this is so beneficial for the people of South Carolina, the military facilities across our state.”
“It adds, actually, military personnel, which for the initial training at Fort Jackson, will be beneficial. . . and then it also, adjacent to South Carolina and the district I represent, is the new Army Cyber Command at Fort Gordon, Georgia,” he said. “The bill provides very important funding for very important projects at the Savannah River Site including the Mixed-Oxide Fuel Fabrication Facility and new barracks at Fort Jackson. So this bill is just really positive as the President truly is following through on promises made, promises kept.”
SRS MOX Facility
“The President signed the bill last week, the defense authorization and it provides for $220 million to provide for construction of the facility,” he said. “But we are still in a push and shove with the Department of Energy as to completion.”
“I want it completed. I worked very closely with Congressman Rick Allen of Georgia. This is so important that South Carolina and Georgia not be a dumping ground, a repository for weapons-grade plutonium.”
Changes in House Leadership
House Speaker Paul Ryan said he will not serve another term.
“I’m supporting Republican (House Majority) Leader Kevin McCarthy of California,” Wilson said. “We also have great leadership with Steve Scalise of Louisiana. We’ve had extraordinary people who I have such faith — Catherine McMorris Rodgers of Washington state.”
“I have actually been campaigning across the country from California to Minnesota to New York and New Jersey and I believe that the Republicans will hold the House,” Wilson said. “We’re actually going to possibly make some gains in some of the states that I’ve been to.”
If the Republicans lose the majority in the House in the 2018 election, he noted a possibility that South Carolina’s Sixth District U.S. Rep. James Clyburn could become the House Majority Leader. Clyburn is currently the House Assistant Democratic Leader.
“Congressman Clyburn is a key leader in the Democratic Party now and so I’m confident that with his abilities, that he will be in a key place if there is a shift.”
Wilson is running for re-election in November. He has been representing South Carolina’s Second District since 2001. His Democratic challenger is Sean Carrigan.