Monthly Archives: May 2017

This remote factory is where Trump may finally draw the line on trade

By Ana Swanson

Supervisor Bill Hughes, left, and technician Ryan Young along an aluminum pot line at Century Aluminum’s plant in Hawesville, Ky. (Luke Sharrett for The Washington Post)

HAWESVILLE, Ky. — When Bill Hughes went to fight in Iraq in 2003, members of his Army unit lined their vehicles with scrap metal, sandbags and bulletproof vests to protect themselves from roadside bombs. By the time his younger brother Ryan Young was in Iraq in 2008, the vehicles were made of a high-purity aluminum alloy that was much more effective at absorbing the blast.

“At the beginning of the Iraq War, the Humvees were folding up like pop cans,” Hughes said. “It was a really big deal until they started putting the different metals in.”

Today, Hughes and Young work side by side here at the last U.S. smelter that makes the high-purity aluminum used in armored vehicles, sons of a region where jobs in the metal industry, ubiquitous for decades, have become a rapidly disappearing way of life. Hawesville’s Century Aluminum Co. plant constantly teeters on the edge of shutting down, typical in an industry where a glut of cheap metal from China has forced many plants to close.

But hope came to Hawesville in April, when President Trump announced that his administration was considering restricting imports of foreign-forged aluminum in the name of national security, arguing that domestic plants needed to be protected to ensure that the country can make its own war machines. “When that come out, there was a buzz in the area. You could just see the excitement on people’s faces,” said Hughes, 34.

A plant employee walks through the parking lot outside Century Aluminum’s smelter. (Luke Sharrett for The Washington Post)

A decision by the Trump administration to …read more


Trump calls for more spending on health care so it’s ‘the best anywhere,’ but he just proposed big cuts

By Damian Paletta

President Trump sits next to British Prime Minister Theresa May and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan as they participate in a working dinner meeting during the NATO summit of heads of state and government Thursday. (Thierry Charlier/Pool Photo via AP)

President Trump on Sunday evening called for more spending on health care and said his plan to overhaul the tax code “is actually ahead of schedule” — two statements that are at odds with the budget proposal he unveiled just last week.

The statements came as part of a blizzard of Twitter posts the president made after he returned from his first foreign trip.

While he was gone, Trump’s top advisers rolled out his first comprehensive budget plan. They spent days explaining the plan to the media and to Congress, but Trump did not weigh in last week. This was unusual, as the budgets submitted by presidents in their first year in office tend to represent the most complete portrait of their agenda and legislative priorities.

Trump’s budget plan, assembled by Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney, called for cuts of between $800 billion and $1.4 trillion in future spending on Medicaid, the health-care program for low-income Americans. It also called for cuts in future spending on a health-care program for low-income children. It did not propose new health-care spending, as Trump alluded to in one of his Twitter posts Sunday evening.

I suggest that we add more dollars to Healthcare and make it the best anywhere. ObamaCare is dead – the Republicans will do much better!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 28, 2017

In the Twitter post, Trump does not differentiate whether the new “dollars” should be added to private health programs or public-health programs. His budget did not propose significant changes or cuts to Medicare, the large, government-run …read more