Tillis, Rouzer visit Wilmington, talk business

Regulatory reform, tax reform, immigration and foreign trade were among the bevvy of issues U.S. Sen. Thom Tillis and U.S. Rep. David Rouzer -- both North Carolina Republicans -- discussed during an intimate round table chat with business leaders Wednesday.
 
Tillis said the push to scale back the number of regulations -- right down to the number and types of forms required by businesses -- would primarily benefit small businesses, given that big businesses have “legions of specialists and attorneys” to handle any regulations.
 
“If you’re a small business, on any given day you could be the CEO, the CFO, the head of regulatory affairs or anything else,” Tillis said. “But that’s really where the regulatory burden needed to be eased.”
 
The state’s junior senator and Southeastern North Carolina’s representative in the U.S. House, who are on a break from session, held the impromptu meeting with a handful of the region’s business leaders at the Wilmington Chamber of Commerce.
 
Rouzer likened regulations to “boxes in your closet” that may have been necessary at one time, but need to be reviewed and possibly “cleaned out.”
 
“Some of these go back to the 1930s or 1940s and just aren’t relevant today,” he said.
 
Wilmington architect Chris Boney asked whether Tillis or Rouzer felt that President Donald Trump’s recent actions to impose tariffs and other trade restrictions -- particularly on China -- could hamper American manufacturing and construction by driving prices up.
 
While Tillis said he believed Trump was doing the right thing in taking a “tough stance” on China, “we’ve got to settle that down” so manufacturers can have a good grasp of what their long-term costs will be.
 
Tillis and Rouzer noted that China, as a Communist country, features state-owned enterprises, where the country is able to prop up its industries with subsidies to try to outlast competitors in open markets.
 
“China in the long term, in my view, is our greatest threat, notwithstanding what we have to deal with from Iran or North Korea,” Rouzer said. “Their goal is to be the economic powerhouse of the world.”
 
“In the U.S. market, we think in quarters,” Tillis said. “China thinks in 30-year terms.”
 
Both said they believed immigration reform will be passed in Congress, possibly as early as next month, to address border security desired by conservative Republicans as well as a path to citizenship for Dreamers, immigrants who were brought to the United States illegally as children, desired by moderate Republicans and Democrats.
 
“Providing certainty to the (Dreamer) population is very important to me. By providing certainty, I mean a path to citizenship,” Tillis said. “I think we need to prove that Congress can come together and box out the far right and the far left who are the reason why we haven’t been successful with this challenge for decades.”

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