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Home | Tag Archives: cornyn

Tag Archives: cornyn

Cornyn chairs hearing to discuss crisis at Southern Border

WASHINGTON – As Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Border Security and Immigration, U.S. Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) held a hearing to highlight the humanitarian and security crisis at the southern border and his new legislation, the HUMANE Act, to address it.

Excerpts of Sen. Cornyn’s opening remarks are below, and video can be found above.

“The situation unfolding on our southern border is grim. A major increase in unlawful border crossings combined with a drastic shift in migration trends and outdated laws and infrastructure has placed an incredibly great strain on law enforcement, on our legal system, and local border communities.”

“Yet, there are those who still here in Washington choose to ignore the gravity of the situation, or worse, to label it as fake or manufactured.”

“While some may think that the situation is manageable and that time is on our side, I think they’re ignoring reality and I disagree. And I know many of my constituents in Texas feel the same. We’re on the front lines of this, and we’re simply not set up, manned, nor do we have the capacity to absorb this huge wave of human migration coming in all at one time.”

“In response to this worsening situation, last week I, along with my colleague from Laredo, Texas, Congressman Henry Cuellar, a Democrat, introduced the HUMANE Act. The HUMANE Act is, as you can see, a bipartisan, bicameral solution to make the practical necessary reforms to address the loopholes in our laws, ensure that families stay together, and better protect unaccompanied children released from HHS custody. We also adopt several recommendations from the bipartisan DHS Homeland Security Advisory Council, including the establishment of regional processing centers along the border and needed streamlining of processing claims.”

“I urge my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to work with us to try to solve this problem. We need to quit looking at this through a political lens or wait to try to solve what else is broken and needs to be fixed in our immigration system.”


Senator John Cornyn, a Republican from Texas, is a member of the Senate Finance, Intelligence, and Judiciary Committees.

Video: Cornyn Calls on Senate to Consider Russia Sanctions

WASHINGTON – Thursday morning on the floor of the U.S. Senate, Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) called on the Senate to consider tougher sanctions on Russia.

Excerpts of Sen. Cornyn’s floor remarks are below, and video can be found above.

“My concern with this resolution is that it is purely a symbolic act.”

 “I think we should consider sanctions, not sort of sense of the Senate resolutions that have no sting or no impact, certainly no deterrent effect on what we all want to discourage, which is Russian involvement in our 2018 elections. And that’s why the Majority Leader today asked the Chairmen of the Banking and Foreign Relations Committee[s] to hold hearings and recommend additional measures that could respond to or deter Russian malign behavior.

“That’s the way we ought to do our work, through our committees of jurisdiction.”


Senator John Cornyn, a Republican from Texas, is a member of the Senate Finance, Intelligence, and Judiciary Committees.


Cornyn Discusses Tax Reform, 2018 Agenda Ahead of Camp David Retreat on Fox

WASHINGTON – On Friday U.S. Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) appeared on Fox News’ America’s Newsroom to discuss the Senate’s legislative accomplishments in 2017, a path forward on the solution for DACA recipients, and the 2018 legislative agenda.

Excerpts from his appearance are below, and video can be found here.

On a Solution for DACA Recipients:

“I agree with Kevin McCarthy that there is a deal to be had here. What we need is to restore a legal immigration system and enforcement. Our country has been really made great by the two great pillars of our immigration system. One is legal immigration, and the second is the rule of law. We’ve unfortunately simply sacrificed the rule of law and order in recent years and President Trump, to his credit, is trying to restore it.”

“The President said yesterday at our meeting that we needed to have a bipartisan meeting… to begin to compare proposals and to try to meet in the middle somewhere.”

“But the President has also made clear he wants to deal with chain migration and he wants to deal with the diversity lottery visa. Those are things that he has insisted upon. He’s got the right to insist upon them, and if Chuck Schumer and Dick Durbin want a deal, they’ll have to address that along with the border security component which I’ve been a primary advocate for.”

On the Senate’s Legislative Accomplishments in 2017:

“Coming on the heels of a historic tax bill, which leaves more money in people’s take-home pay, I think people will begin to see that in February, along with the incredible confidence that people now have in our economy as evidenced by not only the stock market but consumer confidence generally. I think the regulatory rollback of the Trump administration after the overreach of the previous eight years, together with things like tax relief and getting good judges confirmed like Neil Gorsuch on the Supreme Court of the United States all up and down the judiciary, I think we’ve got a good record to run on in 2018.”

On the Senate’s Legislative Agenda for 2018:

“Obviously the biggest challenge we have is now in the Senate, we have 51 Republicans and 49 Democrats. There is no way of getting things done this year without bipartisan support. But I think there are clearly some areas where we can work together.”

Video – Cornyn: GOP Offers DACA Solution, Democrats Threaten Shutdown

On the Senate floor, U.S. Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) urged his Democrat colleagues to return to working with Republicans toward a solution for DACA recipients ahead of the President’s March 2018 deadline.

Excerpts of Sen. Cornyn’s remarks are below, and video of his remarks can be found above.

“Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee offered an initial proposal which our Democratic colleagues rejected out of hand.”

“By threatening to shut down the government, they are jeopardizing the future fate of those DACA recipients.” 

“It’s not just my way or the highway. We’re going to have to come up with a negotiated outcome that demonstrates our compassion for these young adults who came here as children, through no fault of their own, and now find themselves trapped.”

“We all want a legislative solution, and we can find one as long as we quit the game-playing and the stunts and we sit down and negotiate seriously to try to come up with an avenue of relief- one borne by typical American compassion for these young people who find themselves at a dead end, and those who believe that we need to get to the underlying causes that caused them to be in this situation in the first place.”

“That’s a lack of appropriate border security and enforcement of our immigration laws. We can do this if we quit grandstanding and quit engaging in these sorts of stunts, and I hope we will.” 


Cornyn, Senate Republicans Introduce Border Security Legislation

WASHINGTON –U.S. Senators John Cornyn (R-TX), John Barrasso (R-WY), Ron Johnson (R-WI), and Thom Tillis (R-NC) Thursday introduced the Building America’s Trust Act, legislation that increases resources at our borders, boosts trade through ports of entry, and strengthens enforcement of existing laws.

“For too long law enforcement on the front lines haven’t had the tools they need to stop the flow of illegal immigration, and this bill will provide both the resources and plan to finally secure the border,” said Sen. Cornyn. “This legislation requires DHS to work together with the communities they serve, and helps boost the flow of commerce through our ports so trade can continue to flourish. I’m grateful for the partnership of my colleagues on this legislation, and I look forward to continuing to work with folks in Texas and Congress to advance this bill.”

“Until our borders are fully secure, the current system will continue to reward people who enter our country illegally over those who follow the law,” said Sen. Barrasso. “This bill will make sure our immigration officers have the tools and resources they need to enforce our laws and secure our borders.”

“The first step in securing our borders and reforming our immigration system is to eliminate the incentives for individuals to enter the country illegally. By closing current loopholes in immigration enforcement, hiring more border security personnel, and deploying additional technology and tactical infrastructure, the Building America’s Trust Act will mitigate threats to our country by helping to secure the border,” said Sen. Johnson.

“Our government’s prolonged failure to secure the border has had severe consequences, including creating a humanitarian crisis and contributing to the rise of dangerous narcoterrorist organizations that have exacerbated our nation’s heroin and opioid epidemic,” said Senator Tillis. “The Building America’s Trust Act makes the investment we need in personnel, technology and infrastructure to secure our borders and ports of entry and reduce threats to our national security.”

The Building America’s Trust Act has been endorsed by the National Border Patrol Council, Federal Law Enforcement Officers Coalition, Southwestern Border Sheriff’s Coalition, Texas Border Sheriff’s Coalition, and National Sheriffs’ Association.

A summary of the legislation can be viewed here: Building America’s Trust Act


Cornyn Urges USTR to Strengthen Agricultural Trade in NAFTA Negotiations

WASHINGTON — On Wednesday U.S. Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) joined a bipartisan letter to U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, urging him to strengthen agricultural trade as the Administration prepares to begin negotiations to update the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

“As Senators representing states with significant agricultural exports, we appreciate the careful approach the administration is taking to strengthen the NAFTA agreement, while ensuring that no changes are made that could result in harm to U.S. agriculture,” Sen. Cornyn and others wrote. “We look forward to working with you throughout the congressional consultation process to ensure that NAFTA continues its substantial economic contributions to U.S. farmers and ranchers and to the growth of our agricultural economy.”

Last month, the Trump Administration notified Congress of its intent to open negotiations with Canada and Mexico with respect to NAFTA.

The notification triggers a 90-day consultation period under the Bipartisan Congressional Trade Priorities and Accountability Act of 2015 (TPA), and the Administration is required to provide specific negotiating objectives at least 30 days before any negotiations begin.

Since NAFTA was signed into law in 1993, Canada and Mexico have been two of the top five destinations for U.S. agriculture products. Last year, the two countries accounted for 28 percent of the value of total agriculture exports from the United States.

Since NAFTA’s enactment, livestock and meat exports to Canada have doubled and agriculture commodity exports to Mexico have increased significantly. South Dakota’s exports to Canada and Mexico have increased by $1.2 billion (969 percent) since NAFTA went into effect in 1994.

In addition to Sen. Cornyn, the letter is signed by Sens. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), John Boozman (R-Ark.), Steve Daines (R-Mont.), Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), John Hoeven (R-N.D.), Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.), Pat Roberts (R-Kan.), John Thune (R-S.D.), Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), Rob Portman (R-Ohio), Mike Rounds (R-S.D.), and Thom Tillis (R-N.C.).

Full text of the letter can be found below:

The Honorable Robert Lighthizer

U.S. Trade Representative

Office of the U.S. Trade Representative

600 17th Street, N.W.

Washington, DC  20508

Dear Ambassador Lighthizer:

As you prepare to begin negotiations to update the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), we write to emphasize the economic significance of agricultural trade between the United States, Canada, and Mexico and the critical role that NAFTA plays in the trade relationships.

NAFTA has been an important trade agreement for the United States for more than 20 years. While we strongly support continued participation in the agreement, we also support the administration’s effort to review and strengthen NAFTA.  Given the significance of agricultural products in U.S. exports, we request that you avoid any revisions to NAFTA and other previously negotiated trade agreements that would diminish the opportunities for U.S. farmers and ranchers to export their products, particularly given the current depressed state of the agriculture economy.

Since NAFTA was signed into law in 1993, Canada and Mexico have been two of the top five destinations for U.S. agriculture products.  Last year, the two countries accounted for 28 percent of the value of total agriculture exports from the United States.  Since NAFTA’s enactment, livestock and meat exports to Canada have doubled and agriculture commodity exports to Mexico increased significantly.  The longstanding trade agreement between the three countries has proven to be an important success within the agriculture industry.

As Senators representing states with significant agricultural exports, we appreciate the careful approach the administration is taking to strengthen the NAFTA agreement, while ensuring that no changes are made that could result in harm to U.S. agriculture.  We look forward to working with you throughout the congressional consultation process to ensure that NAFTA continues its substantial economic contributions to U.S. farmers and ranchers and to the growth of our agricultural economy.

Sen. Cornyn Statement on Senate GOP Health Care Reform Plan

U.S. Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) released the following statement after Senate Republicans released a discussion draft of legislation to replace what he characterized as the ‘failed Affordable Care Act (ACA)’:

“After years of debate, hearings, and stories from folks harmed by Obamacare, today is a critical step towards delivering on our promise to provide the relief Texans so desperately need.

Our plan will help lower skyrocketing costs, protect patients with pre-existing conditions, and ensure Medicaid is there for the Texans who need it most. Under this plan, gone are the days where people are forced to buy insurance they don’t want and can’t afford.  

“The time to close the book on Obamacare is now. Our plan will help deliver access to better care at a price the American people can actually afford.”


Protects Texans’ Access to Health Coverage

  • Safeguards Medicaid for the Texans who need it most.
  • Preserves access to care for Texans with pre-existing conditions.

Provides More Options for Texas Patients

  • Will help boost options for the approximately 1.5 million Texans who buy their insurance on the individual market, which will be especially helpful for Texans in the 88 counties (one out of every three in Texas) that currently offer only one insurance option.
  • Repeals the employer mandate penalty, which means employers will be able to offer employees more choices at a lower cost, helping the 48% of Texans who receive health insurance through work.

Makes Care More Affordable for Texans

  • Slows down sky-rocketing premiums, which Texans have seen go up 82% in the past 4 years alone.
  • Provides tax credits to help low-income Texans living below the federal poverty line – 4 million of whom receive no help under current law — afford health care.
  • Repeals the health insurance tax, which drives up premium costs, and repeals the tax on individuals who choose not to buy insurance.
  • Increases funds for Texas’ first-class hospitals that serve low-income patients who don’t have insurance.
  • Increases Medicaid funding for those struggling with mental illness.
  • Provides new funding to combat opioid abuse. 4 of the 25 U.S. cities with the highest rates of opioid abuse are in Texas.

On the Senate floor, U.S. Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) spoke about the discussion draft of legislation introduced by Senate Republicans to replace the failing Affordable Care Act.  Excerpts of Sen. Cornyn’s remarks are below, and video of his remarks can be downloaded here.

 “We’ll have a process next week whereby any Senator who has an amendment to the bill has an absolute right to file that amendment.”

 “I can’t imagine a more transparent and open process than put it on the internet, invite people’s comments and discussion, and then have an open amendment process following debate, and then vote.”

 “This, I believe, is a framework for better care. But we’re going to continue to discuss this plan and talk to anyone who is willing to talk to us and work with us. If there is a way the bill can be strengthened, I am open to it. But the status quo isn’t working, and our Democratic colleagues know it.”

Video: Cornyn Addresses Wednesday’s Shooting Outside Washington

WASHINGTON – On the Senate floor, U.S. Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) addressed Wednesday morning’s tragic shooting at a practice for a charity baseball game and thanked the U.S. Capitol Police for their role in protecting the lives of those involved. Excerpts of Sen. Cornyn’s remarks are below:

“All of us who work on Capitol Hill, all of our visitors who come here, and constituents from around the country are in their debt because they literally do keep us safe and secure here on Capitol Hill.”

“It’s safe to say that without the Capitol Police being present… that the results of this might have been much more serious, much more tragic than they already were.”

“While there is a lot we don’t know about this morning’s incident, it’s clear that this is a new environment we’re living in, and we need to do everything we can to keep our constituents safe when they visit us here on Capitol Hill, as well as all the staff and everybody involved.”

Video: Cornyn – President’s Budget Prioritizes National Security, Fiscal Discipline

Tuesday on the Senate floor, U.S. Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) discussed President Trump’s proposed budget.  Excerpts of Sen. Cornyn’s remarks are below:

“I think it’s worth pointing out several aspects of the President’s budget that are encouraging and a welcome change from the previous Administration. For one, it balances in ten years.”

“What a welcome relief from a White House budget anchored around overspending and growing the size of government, which we’ve seen for the last eight years. The other thing that the President’s budget does is it reverses the defense sequester. This is the artificial cap we put on defense spending.”

“One thing that President Trump has done, which I find a welcome sign, is that he wants to properly resource our military, so we can better defend against increasing threats around the world.”

“The President’s budget reflects a better understanding of the threat environment ahead, and for that I am grateful.”

Video – Cornyn: Bipartisan Russia Investigation Will Continue

WASHINGTON – On Wednesday, U.S. Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) appeared on Fox News’ America’s Newsroom to discuss former FBI Director James Comey and the ongoing bipartisan Senate Intelligence Committee’s investigation on Russia.

On the next FBI Director:

“I think the President needs to find somebody with good experience working in law enforcement, somebody of impeccable reputation and independence.”

“This was within the President’s authority but it is really important, it’s absolutely essential, that we have a new FBI Director that shares the confidence, not only of the President but of Congress and the American people.”

On the ongoing bipartisan Russia investigation in the Senate Intelligence Committee:

“Clearly the bipartisan investigation of the Senate Intelligence Committee under the chairmanship of Senator Burr and the Vice Chairman Senator Warner, a Democrat – we have a bipartisan commitment to get to the bottom of this Russian investigation.”

“Nothing will change by virtue of Director Comey’s termination.”

Video above provided by Sen. Cornyn’s office, courtesy Fox News.

Cornyn, Cruz, Hurd, O’Rourke Comment on Passage of American Health Care Act

After Thursday’s passage of the American Health Care Act, local and statewide representatives released statements regarding the vote.

Rep. Beto O’Rouke (via Facebook)

Today I voted against the American Health Care Act (AHCA). Like the original version of the bill, which failed to garner enough support for a vote in March, AHCA seeks to replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA) with a system of tax credits and Medicaid block grants.

In the March version of the bill we knew that:

– 81,000 fewer El Pasoans would have health care

– 2.5 million fewer Texans would have health care

– 24 million fewer Americans would have health care

– Americans would see premium increases of 15–20% in 2018 and 2019

– Millions of veterans not enrolled in the VA would lose health care

– Fewer resources would be available to combat the opioid crisis

– There would be no requirement for mental health parity

– Women’s reproductive health would be defunded

The most notable changes to this version of the bill are two amendments. First, the McArthur Amendment, which allows states to determine the minimum coverage in the health care plans they offer. Currently, the ACA requires insurers to cover a host of essential health benefits like hospital stays, mental health, and maternity care. This amendment will allow insurers to consider health status when setting prices. This will directly impact patients with pre-existing conditions and older Americans who will be charged more for coverage.

The second amendment is the Upton Amendment. It adds $8 billion over 5 years to the bill to help those with pre-existing conditions pay for their insurance and health care needs. Unfortunately that is nowhere near enough and if implemented many people will soon find it difficult to pay for their health care needs.

There has been no updated analysis of this new version of the bill because it was rushed through without an official score from the Congressional Budget Office.

I voted against the bill which passed the House by a vote of 217-213. It now goes to the Senate where it meets an uncertain fate.

Rep. Will Hurd

“Since the implementation of Obamacare, I’ve told my constituents that the only meaningful metric when it comes to healthcare is actual access to quality, affordable care – not just health insurance. While the goal of Obamacare was to make healthcare more accessible and more affordable, it has done just the opposite. Likewise, while the goal of the American Health Care Act was to combat the skyrocketing premiums and outrageous deductibles millions of Americans face, it too, falls short.

“We must provide relief, but unfortunately, the American Health Care Act (AHCA) in its current form does not address the concerns of many of my constituents, including adequate protections for those with pre-existing conditions and the challenges faced by rural healthcare providers. I am unable to turn my back on these vulnerable populations because I believe we can and must do better for the American people.

“I will not support the AHCA in its current form and hope that we can continue making improvements to fix our broken healthcare system.”

Sen. John Cornyn

“Today is an important step forward in upholding our promise to give the American people relief from Obamacare,” Sen. Cornyn said. “The health care status quo is unacceptable. Premiums have skyrocketed, coverage options have disappeared, and small businesses have struggled under crushing taxes and mandates. Working alongside the Administration, making health care more affordable and accessible for all Americans will continue to be our top priority and this legislation sets us on a course to achieve that.”

Sen. Ted Cruz

“Today was an important step. I am encouraged that House Republicans were able to come together and pass a bill to repeal and replace Obamacare. The House Freedom Caucus pressed hard to reduce premiums and make health care more affordable, and their efforts, in cooperation with the entire conference, substantially improved this bill.

“Our work now goes forward in the Senate, where we should continue to improve the bill. For many weeks, I have been working closely with my Senate colleagues, from across the ideological spectrum, on consensus reforms to make health insurance more affordable. We must deliver on that promise. I am optimistic we will get the job done, and honor our commitment to provide more choices for consumers, put people in control of their healthcare, and most importantly, lower premiums.”

Video – Cornyn: Funding Bill Beefs Up Border Security, Defense

WASHINGTON  –  Tuesday on the Senate floor, U.S. Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) discussed the bipartisan legislation to fund the government, which includes additional funding for border security and defense, and the importance of free trade agreements to Texas.  Excerpts of Sen. Cornyn’s remarks are below:

“Over the weekend, an agreement was finally reached on a funding bill to keep the U.S. government open and to provide much-needed long-term funding to our federal agencies.”

‘This agreed bill consists of the 11 remaining appropriation bills, with additional funding set aside for our military, disaster relief, and border security. I, for one, have been encouraged to hear folks from both sides of the aisle, Republicans and Democrats alike, make clear we actually agree on more than we disagree on, particularly when it comes to securing our border.”

“I have been glad to read press reports and hear the Minority Leader, Senator Schumer, among others, talk about how providing more resources to secure the border is necessary to keep us safe.”

“Last month during the state work period, I had the chance to speak to hundreds of my constituents all across the state, ten cities in all. Part of that time was spent visiting the folks who live and work along the U.S.-Mexico border.”

“It goes without saying that free trade has been a cornerstone of the economy in Texas, adding billions to our economy annually and bolstering our relationship with our partner to the south. In other words, free trade agreements, particularly NAFTA, the North American Free Trade Agreement, are critically important to many of my state’s leading industries, such as agriculture and energy.”

“As we consider this omnibus appropriation bill and specifically, more resources to enhance security along the border, I think we can all agree that our approach should be twofold. We must devote resources not only to enhance border security but also fix our aging infrastructure at our ports of entry. Fortunately, this bill does exactly that.”

“I’m glad we found a way to fund the government and to actually govern while doing more for our national defense and security, particularly security along the border.”

Senator John Cornyn, a Republican from Texas, is a member of the Senate Finance, Intelligence, and Judiciary Committees.

Cornyn Praises Administration, Highlights Need for Pro-Growth Tax Reform

WASHINGTON –U.S. Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) today on the Senate floor underscored the need for pro-growth tax reform in advance of the release of Wednesday’s blueprint from the Administration. Excerpts of Sen. Cornyn’s remarks are below, and video of his remarks can be found here.

“As we look ahead to big-ticket items that we all want to make progress on, I’m committed to continuing to work with all of our colleagues and the Administration in doing all we can to help keep small businesses, family farmers, and entrepreneurs, to help them spend more time doing productive work and less time doing busy work mandated by the bureaucrats here in Washington, D.C. One of the areas that is one of those big-ticket items is tax reform.”

“I look forward to reviewing the proposal that the President has made. There’s no question there’s a lot of room for reforming our tax code.”

“We know our tax code is way too complicated. It’s riddled with loopholes, inconsistencies, and provisions that impede job creation. Pro-growth tax reform should be our goal, and it’s something that’s united Republicans and Democrats in the past, and there is no reason why we shouldn’t be united again in accomplishing that tax reform.”

“So I look forward to hearing more about the President’s proposal, and I applaud him for making a bold statement about the direction we ought to go. Now is finally the time to address it.”

“All of these efforts, tax reform, rolling back unnecessary regulations and rules, and providing a better environment for businesses to thrive are vital to getting our economy back on track and away from years of stagnant growth we saw under President Obama.”

Senator John Cornyn, a Republican from Texas, is a member of the Senate Finance, Intelligence, and Judiciary Committees.

Cornyn: Brutality in Syria Can’t Be Ignored

Friday, on the Senate floor, U.S. Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) reacted to Thursday night’s airstrikes in Syria. Excerpts of Sen. Cornyn’s remarks are below and video of his remarks can be found here.

“I’d like to start briefly by mentioning the horrific chemical attack on innocent civilians in Syria earlier this week. It was nothing short of evil, and I stand shoulder to shoulder with the Administration in condemning this brutality. Again we see Bashar al-Assad crossing a line, a line drawn and then ignored by the Obama Administration. The United States and the world community simply can’t stand idly while Syria continues crimes against humanity.”

“That’s why last night the Administration responded quickly and proportionately, and I commend the President and his national security team for acting decisively and sending a clear message to Assad and our allies.”

“I stand ready to work with the President and his Administration on a unified strategy to defeat Assad’s barbarism and to work toward greater stability in Syria and throughout the region.”   

Cornyn Op-Ed: Don’t End NAFTA. Fix It.

When looking for a model economy, Washington would be wise to look no further than Texas. The “great American jobs machine,” as we’re affectionately known, has been the economic engine that pulled our country out of the recent recession, singlehandedly adding more than one million jobs to the American economy. In fact, if Texas were its own country, we would be the 10th largest economy in the world.

Now, with pro-growth Republicans in control of Congress and the White House, leaders are beginning to consider proposals to lift our economy out of a sluggish recovery. But as we work together to jumpstart our factories and farms across the country, let’s keep in mind what my state has gotten right.

Trade has been a cornerstone of the Texas economy, with no partner more important than Mexico.

As our largest export market, Mexico has an extraordinary economic relationship with Texas. Trade with our southern neighbor supports hundreds of thousands of jobs in my state and provides more goods at a better price for Texas families. More than a third of all Texas merchandise is exported to Mexico – meaning our farmers, ranchers and small businesses have found no shortage of customers south of the border too.

This explosion in trade for our state has catapulted Texas to the top of exporting states in the country for more than a decade now. Thanks to trade pacts like the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), goods and services flow more freely among the three North American countries, growing jobs across Texas and stretching paychecks further. This isn’t just true for Texas. A majority of exports coming from Michigan and Ohio, for example, are bound for our NAFTA partners too.

Trade in Texas – specifically along our Southern border with Mexico – doesn’t just work in theory. It’s the reality on the ground too. Last week I led a congressional delegation to the border to see this economy in action. We visited the Pharr International Bridge in the Rio Grande Valley – a bridge that facilitates about $30 billion in trade a year. We also visited Laredo, a port that handles about a third of all international trade in Texas, with 14,000 trucks passing through daily. In other words, the Texas border serves as a major gateway for agriculture and manufactured goods trade. It moves more freight along its 1,200-plus miles of southern border than any other border state. And this trade in turn fuels economic growth and vitality across the region and the entire country.

But like anything that’s dated, there’s room for NAFTA to be improved. It’s now more than 20 years old. Texas and the United States as a whole would benefit from a revised agreement that makes trade freer and fairer. By fixing NAFTA, we can address modern-day challenges and preserve and protect America’s unrivaled stability and prosperity into the next century.

Consider the nation’s energy landscape. It has changed dramatically since the trade deal was hammered out in the 1990s. With the recent lifting of the U.S. crude oil export ban and Mexico’s energy reforms, a renegotiated deal should account for regulatory cooperation and capacity-building provisions that promote investment and the free flow of American energy, particularly a streamlined approval process for LNG exports. There’s room to bring the services trade into the 21st century, strengthen intellectual property rights and eliminate non-science barriers to trade, too.

As the administration and Congress look to improve existing trade deals, such as NAFTA, we would also be wise to focus on strengthening the Southern border. The president has made no secret of rightly prioritizing our country’s safety. Securing the border is an essential part of that equation.

But as we do, we must be quick to engage community leaders and business-owners along the border. Yes, they want security and protection. But they also know that key to the success of Texas and the nation has been the cultivation of an environment that can manage the demands of high-volume trade. That means keeping legitimate trade and travel flowing, while simultaneously screening criminal elements and contraband to keep them out. In other words, the border ecosystem demands a careful balance.

It’s our job to consider how to gain complete control of the border, while equipping our Customs and Border Patrol agents with the resources they need to keep our economy up and running. That way, everyone can benefit from access to markets on the other side.

Texas – where taxes are low, regulations are sensible and trade is encouraged – has proven time and again that we’re a blueprint for growing the national economy. In my state, border security, trade and the economy are intimately connected. So as Congress considers whether to revisit agreements like NAFTA and how to best secure the border, we must take great care to advocate for smart policies that drive growth here at home and enhance our partnerships abroad.

Senator John Cornyn, a Republican from Texas, is a member of the Senate Finance, Intelligence, and Judiciary Committees.  This column originally appeared in Politico Magazine and is reposted with permission.

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