<![CDATA[NBC New York - Politics]]>Copyright 2017http://www.nbcnewyork.com/news/politics http://media.nbcnewyork.com/designimages/4NY_Horizontal.jpg NBC New York http://www.nbcnewyork.comen-usThu, 20 Jul 2017 18:49:10 -0400Thu, 20 Jul 2017 18:49:10 -0400NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Trump's First 6 Months: His Wins, Losses and Stalemates]]> Thu, 20 Jul 2017 08:32:10 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-816483790.jpg

President Donald Trump took office promising a pivot for the country on everything from health care to immigration, a transfer of power not from one administration to another but from Washington, D.C., to the American people.

In his inaugural address, Trump said the United States must protect against other countries stealing companies and jobs, and vowed prosperity and strength.

"From this day forward, it’s going to be America first -- America first," he said. "Every decision on trade, on taxes, on immigration, on foreign affairs, will be made to benefit American workers and American families."

Anne Norton, the chairwoman of the political science department at the University of Pennsylvania, said that, symbolically, Trump has met the expectations of his supporters and those who voted for him as a protest.

"They believe he is 'sticking it to the man' both in Washington and abroad," Norton said. "When he tweets things his critics regard as offensive or ridiculous or outright falsehoods -- that's all to the good for them. The more provocative he is, even the more he profits from his office, the better they like it."


But for those looking for policy changes, he has not met expectations, Norton said.

"He hasn't displaced the elites, he hasn't built the wall, he hasn't done a whole series of things that they want him to do and most importantly, he hasn't found them jobs," she said. 

Trump and the Congressional Republicans had a significant and very public failure this week when the U.S. Senate failed to repeal Obamacare and replace it with an alternate health care bill. Plus, Trump's administration has been rocked by revelations of contacts with Russian officials and clashes in the federal courts. His $4.1 trillion spending plan, with deep domestic spending cuts, has little chance in Congress.

His promises of tax cuts and infrastructure projects are still to come. Observers are saying that Trump needs a win in tax reform to show a legislative success.


Though the legislative scorecard is lacking, Trump has had other victories, particularly on the U.S. Supreme Court.

Here's a look at his progress so far.

HEALTH CARE

Repeal and Replace, or Just Repeal?
Republicans failed to come through on their promise, and Trump’s, to repeal and replace "Obamacare" when the U.S. Senate version for a replacement bill collapsed on Tuesday. Two senators — Mike Lee of Utah and Jerry Moran of Kansas — announced they would not support the new health care bill, a vote on which had been delayed while Sen. John McCain recovered from surgery, which led to a brain tumor diagnosis for the senator.

Two other senators, Rand Paul of Kentucky and Susan Collins of Maine — had already come out against the bill — which would have allowed insurers to sell low-cost, bare bones plans but included deep cuts Medicaid. Only one additional defection was needed to doom it because Senate Democrats all opposed it. The House bill, narrowly approved in May, would leave 23 million more people without insurance than under the Affordable Care Act. 

A fallback plan to pass a straight repeal also fell apart. 


FOREIGN AFFAIRS

ISIS' Shrinking State
Trump saw the defeat of ISIS in Mosul, Iraq's second largest city and one of ISIS's strongholds, last week after a nine-month battle. But the terrorist group still holds significant territory in Syria and in Iraq, particularly the Syrian city of Raqqa, which it declared its capital.

During the campaign, Trump once said he would "bomb the hell" out of ISIS and ordered his generals to submit a plan for defeating ISIS within 30 days. The Pentagon sent him a preliminary one on Feb. 27.


Iran's Nuclear Deal
During the campaign, Trump criticized the nuclear agreement with Iran as "the worst deal ever." But since taking office, he has twice certified its compliance with the deal.

He continues to say that his administration wants to strengthen the deal. His administration is preparing new economic sanctions against Iran because of its ballistic missile program and its adding to regional tensions.


ECONOMY

Jobs, Jobs, Jobs, Jobs
Trump got good news on one of his main campaign pledges when the government reported that 222,000 jobs had been added in June, though some manufacturers will continue to send jobs overseas. Ford Motors, for example, announced it would produce its Focus model in China. And though the jobless rate rose slightly, that was because job seekers who had given up returned.


Other Economic Measures
Put the stock market in the positive column for the Trump team, as it's hit record levels several times during his presidency, including last week. And a report from the Federal Reserve at the beginning of July found that the U.S. economy was growing steadily, though still faces problems: Investment levels remain low, productivity is growing slowly, and pay is rising slowly.

The Associated Press disputed Trump's contention that "no matter where you look, the economy is blazing." "At best, it's a controlled burn," an AP fact check said. The economy grew at a sluggish annual rate of 1.4 percent during the first three months of the year and Federal Reserve officials are predicting the economy will grow by 2.2 percent this year, leaving the 4 percent annual growth Trump has predicted elusive.

THE COURTS

Tilting Right on the Supreme Court
One of Trump’s clear victories has been the confirmation of Neil Gorsuch to the U.S. Supreme Court. Trump had promised to nominate federal judges “in the mold of Justice (Antonin) Scalia.”  Gorsuch, who voted to allow an Arkansas inmate to be put to death and was in favor of allowing all of Trump’s travel ban to take effect while the court considers it, has already been one of the most conservative justices on the high court.

He replaced Scalia after Republicans in the U.S. Senate refused to consider President Barack Obama’s pick, Merrick Garland. Trump has the chance to fill more than 120 openings on the federal courts — a result of the slow pace with which Republicans took up Obama’s nominees.


IMMIGRATION

Walling off Mexico
Throughout the campaign, Trump promised a wall along the more than 1,900-mile U.S.-Mexico border that Mexico would pay for. That wall recently shrunk to 700 to 900 miles after Trump told reporters on July 13 that natural barriers and other factors make a longer one unnecessary. There is already a fence along nearly 700 miles of the border. The wall, for which House Republicans have budgeted $1.6 billion to begin construction, could include solar panels and would need to be transparent so drugs couldn’t be thrown over it, Trump said. So far, Mexico is refusing to pay.


Banning Travel from Mostly Muslim Countries
Trump’s campaign call for barring all Muslims from entering the United States has been scaled back and the administration would now ban people from certain predominantly Muslim countries. But even that has run afoul of the federal courts, which blocked implementation of the initial ban and a subsequent revised version.

At the end of June, the U.S. Supreme Court allowed some parts to go forward until it could hear arguments on the policy but left the details to the Trump administration. On July 13, a federal judge in Hawaii expanded categories to allow in grandparents and other close relatives, a decision the U.S. Supreme Court upheld on Wednesday. The case pits the president’s authority to limit immigration against protection from discrimination based on religious beliefs or national origin.


Arresting Undocumented Immigrants
Arrests of immigrants jumped 40 percent, according to a government report released in May, with the largest arrest spike in immigrants with no criminal offense other than being undocumented.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers have arrested more than 41,000 people since January — at an average of 400 arrests a day, according to a report by ICE.

The increase came though Trump had said that his immigration crackdown would focus heavily on criminals, "bad hombres" and public safety. 

CLIMATE CHANGE

Methane Regulation
The Trump administration’s efforts to roll back dozens of environmental regulations put in place by President Barack Obama hit a legal setback at the beginning of July when a federal appeals court ruled that the Environmental Protection Agency could not suspend a rule to restrict methane emissions from new oil and gas wells. EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt had imposed a two-year moratorium on parts of the regulation, but the court ruled that his decision was unreasonable, arbitrary and capricious. The EPA must instead go through a new, exhaustive rule-making process.

Paris Agreement
Trump made good on his campaign pledge to cancel the Paris climate accord last month when he announced the United States would withdraw from the agreement. And though he said he wanted a better deal for the United States, the leaders of France, German and Italy responded that the 2015 pact was not open for renegotiation.

Trump described the agreement, adopted by 195 countries, as “draconian” and said it imposed unfair standards on the U.S. businesses. The United States was to have cut its greenhouse gas emissions 26 to 28 percent below 2005 levels by 2025. It also would have committed up to $3 billion in aid for poorer countries by 2020.


Keystone XL Pipeline
Trump approved the Keystone XL Pipeline in March, reversing a decision by President Barack Obama on the controversial project opposed by environmentalists and some Native Americans.

Trump said the pipeline's construction would bring new jobs, lower energy costs and reduce U.S. reliance on foreign oil.




Photo Credit: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Top 10 Donald Trump Google Searches During His First 6 Months in Office]]> Thu, 20 Jul 2017 08:56:52 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/200*120/trumpsimotweet.jpg

Google shared their top U.S. searches involving President Trump heading into his six-month anniversary in office. Can you guess the most-searched term or phrase?

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<![CDATA[Jeff Sessions Removes Restrictions on Police Seizures]]> Wed, 19 Jul 2017 20:19:47 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/sessGettyImages-695659156.jpg

Attorney General Jeff Sessions just made it easier for police to seize cash and property from people suspected ─ but not necessarily charged with or convicted ─ of crimes.

Sessions eliminated an Obama-era directive that prevented local law enforcement from circumventing state restrictions on forfeiture of civil assets. The technique was embraced in the early years of the war on drugs, but it has since been linked to civil rights abuses: people losing cash, cars and homes without any proven link to illegal activity; police taking cash in exchange for not locking suspects up; a legal system that makes it hard for victims to get their possessions back.

Two dozen states have made it harder for authorities to take property from suspects without first securing criminal convictions. Three have outlawed it entirely, according to the Institute for Justice, a nonprofit that advocates for reform.



Photo Credit: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images, File]]>
<![CDATA[Trump Campaign Inner Circle Called Before Senate Committees]]> Wed, 19 Jul 2017 20:39:37 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/kushner1.jpg

Members of the Trump campaign's inner circle, including his eldest son and son-in-law, are being called before Senate committees next week to talk about the 2016 election.

The week has the potential to deliver the most high-profile congressional testimony involving the Russian meddling probes since former FBI Director James Comey appeared in June.

Donald Trump Jr. is scheduled to appear July 26 before the Senate Judiciary Committee along with former campaign chairman Paul Manafort, according to a witness list released by the panel Wednesday.

Also, a lawyer for Trump's powerful son-in-law and adviser said Jared Kushner will speak to the Senate intelligence committee Monday.

"As Mr. Kushner has been saying since March, he has been and is prepared to voluntarily cooperate and provide whatever information he has on the investigations to Congress," said attorney Abbe Lowell. "He will continue to cooperate and appreciates the opportunity to assist in putting this matter to rest."

That meeting will apparently take place behind closed doors.

Alan Futerfas, a lawyer for Trump Jr., did not immediately respond to a request seeking comment about his scheduled testimony. Manafort spokesman Jason Maloni said Manafort received the request Wednesday afternoon and is reading it over.

The three men will almost certainly be asked about their attendance at a June 2016 meeting with a Russian lawyer. That gathering was arranged via emails that advertised it would reveal damaging information about Hillary Clinton.

The lawyer, Natalia Veselnitskaya, also said Wednesday she was ready to testify before the U.S. Senate and "clarify the situation."

The meeting raised new questions about the Trump campaign's possible ties to Moscow, which are being scrutinized by federal and congressional investigators. These questions have only intensified as the identities of other Russia-connected participants have become known.

"I am ready to clarify the situation behind the mass hysteria, but only through lawyers or testifying in the Senate," Veselnitskaya said in an interview broadcast Wednesday on Kremlin-funded RT television.

"If the Senate wishes to hear the real story, I will be happy to speak up and share everything I wanted to tell Mr. Trump," she added. That appeared to be a reference to Veselnitskaya's previous statement that the meeting with Trump Jr. focused on U.S.-Russian adoption policies and a U.S. sanctions law.

Veselnitskaya has denied working for the Russian government. She has not responded to repeated attempts by The Associated Press to reach her for comment.

Congressional investigators in both parties have said they want to hear from those involved in the meeting. The top Democrat on the Senate intelligence panel, Virginia's Mark Warner, said Wednesday afternoon that the panel hasn't yet invited Veselnitskaya to testify, but he wants to hear from her and others who attended.

Warner said "it's still being worked out" whether some of his committee's more high-profile witnesses, including Trump Jr. and Manafort, should testify publicly or privately. The Senate and House intelligence panels conduct most of their interviews in private, but occasionally hold open hearings.

Warner said Trump Jr. has "no security clearances that I am aware of, so he should be able to testify in public."

The GOP chairman of Senate Judiciary panel, Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley, told Iowa reporters Wednesday that he's been talking to Trump Jr.'s lawyer and "didn't get any pushback" when suggesting he testify this week. But he said "it's kind of rushy" to call him in so quickly, and said Democrats had requested documents and emails that they wanted to see before a hearing.

Grassley had said he would subpoena the witnesses if necessary.

The Senate Judiciary Committee hearing will review a law that oversees the registration of foreign agents. The panel has been investigating one of the participants at the Trump Jr. meeting, Russian-American lobbyist and former Soviet military officer Rinat Akhmetshin, as part of its probe into the law.

The top Democrat on the Judiciary panel, Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California, said this week that special counsel Robert Mueller has cleared Trump Jr. and Manafort for public testimony. Mueller is conducting the Justice Department's investigation and Grassley has said he wants to avoid conflicts.

The House Intelligence Committee is also probing the Russian meddling, and the top Democrat on that panel, California Rep. Adam Schiff, says the committee is contacting participants in the Trump Jr. meeting. Referencing Feinstein's comments about Mueller's clearance, he said his committee may consider public hearings "for particular witnesses" but noted it rarely holds open hearings. 

The House panel is "reaching out to participants in the meeting with a request for testimony and documents, so that is very much in process at the moment," Schiff said.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[17M Fewer Insured Under Republican Obamacare Repeal: CBO ]]> Wed, 19 Jul 2017 18:05:16 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/mitchmcconnellfeuerherdIIIVV.jpg

A Republican Senate bill to repeal Obamacare would cause 17 million fewer people to have insurance within one year, premiums to jump by 25 percent, and insurers to pull out of counties across the country, according to a new report by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office.

The legislation, dubbed the Obamacare Repeal Reconciliation Act, would eliminate Obamacare’s taxes and, starting in 2020, cut off funding for its Medicaid expansion and for federal subsidies to buy private insurance. It would also end the individual mandate that penalizes people for not having insurance. The bill would reduce deficits by $473 billion over the next decade.

After 2020, the CBO estimates, half of the nation’s population would live in a county where there were no insurers at all in the individual market, NBC News reports. By 2026, 32 million fewer people would have insurance compared to Obamacare and premiums would have doubled.



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Democrats Call on Vote Fraud Panel Co-Chair to Step Down]]> Wed, 19 Jul 2017 10:39:04 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-624664360-trumpkobach.jpg

House Democrats criticized President Donald Trump's voter fraud commission on Tuesday and demanded that co-chair Kris Kobach step down ahead of the commission's first public meeting on Wednesday, according to NBC News.

Fifteen Democratic members of the House Judiciary Committee, as well as state election officials, privacy and civil rights advocates, voiced concerns at a voting rights forum about the Commission on Election Integrity's recent letter requesting sensitive voter information.

Top Democrats called on Vice President Mike Pence, the panel's chair, to dismiss Kobach, Kansas' secretary of state and an advocate for strict voter identification laws.



Photo Credit: Drew Angerer/Getty Images, File]]>
<![CDATA[State Hackers Targeted UK Energy Companies During Election: Report]]> Wed, 19 Jul 2017 08:39:28 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/nuke-plant.jpg

Power supplies and other utilities in Britain were hacked by state-sponsored cyber criminals during last month's general election, according to a document from the U.K.'s electronic spy agency GCHQ that was obtained by the tech news site Motherboard.

Some infrastructure systems “are likely to have been compromised” but no supplies were affected, GCHQ said in the document. There is no suggestion the election was affected.

NBC News has not been able to verify the contents of the document, reportedly produced by the agency’s National Cyber Security Centre.

The report comes after U.S. officials said that Russia was likely behind recent intrusions at American power plants.



Photo Credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS]]>
<![CDATA[Voters in Trump Counties Support Policies, Not Style: Poll]]> Wed, 19 Jul 2017 11:05:51 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/trump+obamacare+ley+salud+republicanos.jpg

In counties that helped give Donald Trump the presidency in 2016, voters support his stances on American jobs and foreign affairs but don't seem to like his personal style, according to a new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll.

In the 439 key "Trump counties" polled, 75 percent support his bargaining with global companies to keep jobs in America. There was also majority support for his response to North Korea's missile tests and Syria's chemical weapons, as well as his travel ban.

However, 62 percent oppose Trump's use of Twitter to express his opinions. A majority also opposed his attempt to replace "Obamacare," his refusal to release his tax returns and his dealing with Russian interference in the election.

The NBC/WSJ poll, conducted July 8-12, surveyed a total of 600 adults in the 439 counties and has an overall margin of error of plus-minus 4.0 percentage points.



Photo Credit: Joe Raedle/Getty Images, File]]>
<![CDATA[Trump, Putin Had 2nd, Private Meeting at G-20 Summit]]> Tue, 18 Jul 2017 19:06:53 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/putin-trump.jpg

President Donald Trump met with Russian President Vladimir Putin a second time during the G-20 summit earlier this month, a White House official confirmed to NBC News.

Trump spoke to Putin at the end of a couples-only social dinner at the summit in Hamburg, Germany, the official said. The pull-aside conversation is considered less formal than an official bilateral meeting, which Trump and Putin also shared at the summit.

The White House did not previously disclose or offer a record of the meeting at the dinner, where Putin was seated next to first lady Melania Trump.

The New York Times described it as a private, hourlong conversation and the contents of the meeting remain unknown. 



Photo Credit: AP, File]]>
<![CDATA[12 Percent in Key Trump Counties Back GOP Health Care Effort]]> Tue, 18 Jul 2017 18:49:18 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/214*120/AP_17019801482842.jpg

Twelve percent of Americans living in “Trump counties” support the GOP efforts on health care, according to an NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll.

Respondents to the survey from 439 counties in 16 states where Donald Trump won in the 2016 election were asked about their views on the health care legislation passed in May by the House of Representatives, NBC News reported Tuesday.

Among Trump voters in these counties, just 25 percent believe the House Republican health care bill is a good idea, while 16 percent think it’s a bad idea and 59 percent are unsure or have no opinion.

Senate Republican efforts to reform health care came to a halt on Tuesday when the plan to repeal Obamacare and delay replacement was opposed by three senators.



Photo Credit: Evan Vucci/AP, File]]>
<![CDATA[Trump Says He's Ready to Let 'Obamacare' Fail]]> Tue, 18 Jul 2017 14:40:05 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/DIT_NAT_TRUMP_OBAMACARE_071817-150040112240500001.jpg

President Donald Trump said he was disappointed that Republicans have been unable to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act and said the best way forward would be to let it fail.

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<![CDATA[GOP Senators Pull Support For Health Care Bill]]> Tue, 18 Jul 2017 13:36:43 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/gop-senators-reject-latest-hc-bill.jpg

President Donald Trump took to Twitter on Tuesday to blame a failed GOP-backed health care bill on "all of the Democrats and a few Republicans," just hours after two key GOP senators yanked support for their party's health care bill, effectively killing it.

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<![CDATA[Voters Unregister After Trump Panel's Data Request]]> Tue, 18 Jul 2017 10:12:21 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/voting-panels.jpg

A few thousand voters in Colorado, Vermont and other states are removing themselves from state voter rolls, fearing that personal information could be revealed by President Donald Trump's voter fraud commission, NBC News reported.

The Presidential Commission on Election Integrity, which was formed in May to study "vulnerabilities" in the American election system, sent a letter to all states requesting voter information on June 28.

From then until Friday, over 3,700 voters in Colorado had their names struck from the rolls, including over 2,000 Democrats and nearly 400 Republicans, according to the secretary of state's office.

Chris Winters, the Vermont deputy secretary of state, said that it is difficult to pinpoint exactly why 372 voters in his state — which is not complying with the commission — have asked to unregister. "We try to discourage people from trying to get off the voter rolls," he said.



Photo Credit: Joe Raedle/Getty Images, File]]>
<![CDATA[Trump, Lawyer Downplay Trump Jr.'s Kremlin Meeting]]> Mon, 17 Jul 2017 20:58:35 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/214*120/Trump+Lawyer+Defend+Son.png

President Donald Trump and his lawyer continue to make rounds to media to downplay a meeting between Donald Trump Jr. and a Kremlin-connected Russian lawyer during the 2016 presidential campaign.

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<![CDATA[Health Care Vote Delayed by Senator's Surgery]]> Mon, 17 Jul 2017 19:39:36 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/LV54M0717_MP4-150033018673100001.jpg

Republican leaders are delaying the health care vote on Capitol Hill, as they wait for Sen. John McCain to recover from surgery to remove a blood clot above his eye.

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<![CDATA['Made in America' Week Renews Focus on Trump's Companies]]> Mon, 17 Jul 2017 19:03:08 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/AP_17198779340639.jpg

President Donald Trump celebrated American-made products on Monday, and in doing so brought renewed attention to his own family's production and sale of goods made overseas, NBC News reported.

“We want to build, create and grow more products in our country using American labor, American goods, and American grit,” Trump said at a White House event kicking off the administration's "Made in America"-themed week.

"We are going to put that brand on our product because it means that it's the best," Trump added. He then signed an executive order aimed at better supporting American companies and protecting U.S. workers.

But White House aides have struggled to answer questions about the Trump Organization’s and Ivanka Trump’s decisions to manufacture a number of products overseas in places like China and Mexico.



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Guest Worker Boost Comes Too Late, Some Small Businesses Say]]> Mon, 17 Jul 2017 18:03:38 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/John-Kelly-cree-que-DACA-puede-ser-ilegal-434183013.jpg

The Trump administration acted Monday to allow 15,000 more visas this year for temporary seasonal workers, but some business owners say the effort comes too late.

Under authority from Congress, Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly extended the cap on H2B visas, which cover non-agricultural guest workers in seasonal industries like landscaping, fishing and resorts.

Local economies in New England and the Great Lakes with small round-year populations rely on the program to cope with a major surge in business over the summer.

Jane Nichols Bishop, who runs an agency in Mashpee, Massachusetts, that works to secure visas for local businesses, said earlier this month that the H2B program serves to fill temporary, often minimum-wage jobs that Americans don't apply for.

“It’s not that Americans don’t want work, it’s that Americans don’t want these jobs because they’re back-breaking hard work,” Bishop said. “You’re standing on your feet in the heat of the kitchen peeling onions and washing dishes until 2 in the morning.”

A federal law caps the number of available H2B visas at 66,000 a year. Until last year, guest workers who had already participated were not counted toward the cap.

But after Congress effectively reduced the number of guest workers allowed in for the summer, it gave DHS the power to authorize more visas in May.

Some employers have complained that relief on the issue was coming too late into the season, given the two months it took DHS to take action on increasing the visa cap.

“There are still so many hotels and restaurants that have been impacted by this in a negative way,” Steve Hewins, president of the Maine Innkeepers Association, said after Monday's decision. “It’s still going to be weeks before any of the workers who are available can make it here.”

The Colony, an oceanside hotel in Kennebunkport, Maine yards away from a Bush family property, may not even hire some H2B visa workers this year because they would only be arriving by summer's end, general manager John Martin said.

DHS spokesman David Lapan told NBC News that Congress gave his department the authority to allow additional visas at least six months later than normal.

Last year, the federal government allowed 13,382 additional visas beyond the cap in order to meet seasonal demand.

Sarah Mace Diment, the owner of a bed and breakfast in Ogunquit, Maine, called the delay on the issue "ridiculous" and said that the additional visas are only a "drop in the bucket" that may not fulfill business needs.

“I have no idea if I’m even going to get a visa once they’re processed,” Diment said. “It’s going to be anywhere from a three to six-week process to see if I get my visas, and by then we’re talking mid-August.”

Because tourist season in Maine runs until September or October, the six workers she’s currently missing will only be able to help her make up a fraction of the peak season, Diment said.

Sam Bradford, the CFO of Mac’s Seafood on Cape Cod, said that the DHS announcement is only the first step in a complex process.

Starting Monday, business owners can mail in applications, which must then be reviewed and approved by DHS, Bradford said. Afterwards, the business must hire a candidate, submit paperwork, schedule an interview at the local embassy, and secure a plane ticket for the worker to come to the US.

While President Trump has expressed his opposition to guest worker programs, he has made an exception for the H2B visa — one his Mar-a-Lago resort regularly applies for in order to supplement its staff.

"This does help with American businesses continuing to prosper," a senior DHS official told NBC News.

Because businesses applying for the program must state that they will be irreparably harmed without a workforce boost, the additional visas are consistent with an "America First" policy, the official said.

But Daniel Costa, who directs immigration research at the left-leaning Economic Policy Institute, said that the H2B program lacks enough enforcement to make sure American workers can benefit.

As it stands, Costa said, employers can advertise jobs to Americans with unusually low wages and create a “fake labor shortage” that they’re then allowed to fill with vulnerable, easily exploited foreign workers.

“Nationally, there isn’t actual evidence of labor shortages people talk about,” he said. “That doesn’t mean there aren’t some shortages in some places, but there need to be rules in place to ensure that a fair wage is being offered to American workers first.”

And while more visas may create a workforce boost, the damage — and its effect on other industries — may already be done.

Mike Hutt, director of the Virginia Seafood Council, said that crab and oyster companies on the Virginia coast provide much of the business for local boat and net manufacturers.

“If there aren’t enough workers to come in here legally, we’re going to have a weak economy, and we’re going to lose segments of the economy we have that already depend on these workers,” Hutt said.



Photo Credit: Win McNamee/Getty Images]]>