Blackburn, Bredesen differ on how to handle trade war fallout

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WASHINGTON (Gray DC) -- From cars and boats, to hogs and whiskey, more than a billion dollars-worth of Tennessee goods and nearly a million jobs are threatened by foreign taxes.

Neither candidate who want to represent the Volunteer State in the U.S. Senate -- Republican Rep. Marsha Blackburn and Democratic former Gov. Phil Bredesen - supports a full-fledged, American-led trade war. But they do differ on how to deal with its costs.

"I think there are some real issues in our relationships with other countries on trade," said Bredesen, "but I think this is clearly a case where a surgeon's knife is appropriate, instead of a hatchet or an ax."

Bredesen said the U.S. does need to target China for stealing American business secrets.
But, he said new taxes on unrelated products from Canada and Europe don't make sense. He's also not a fan of the president's plan to help farmers cover their trade war losses with taxpayer dollars.

"No, I don't agree with that," he said, "I think it's a typical Washington approach, you create a problem and then instead of solving the problem, you created, you pull out the credit card."

Rep. Marsha Blackburn said - based on conversations with key White House advisors - she expects those who applied for government help covering the added costs of importing steel and aluminum will get it. "And, we anticipate that those will come forward soon. They will be retroactive and every dollar paid in a tariff is going to be rebated," she said.

She echoes the president's sentiment that farmers want trade not aid, and, that the federal government should provide a backstop if new markets don't crop up. Asked if other industries should get the same backstop, she said farmers are in a more precarious financial position. "Other industries I think are not as, do not have the, the under-pinning that is there with commodity credit," she said.

Blackburn added that she's not a fan of bailouts, noting her opposition to loans the government provided to Wall Street banks to keep the economy afloat in the wake of 2008's financial crisis.

While neither candidate is a big fan of the president's push toward a trade war, both said there are plenty of areas where they can work well with him. That's the subject of Thursday's piece, the final in this three-part series.

To read or watch Tuesday's piece, follow the link in the 'Related Stories' tab above. Our full interviews with the candidates will be posted online once the all three parts have aired.

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