Republicans in Congress, businesses brace for tariffs

The Washington Post  The Washington Post

The Washington Post The Washington Post

Rushing in to try to stop Trump as he blindly readies his plan to impose stiff tariffs on steel and aluminum imports, angry Republican politicians, especially red state representatives, are getting an up-close look at what it's like dealing with an erratic, illogical president.

In 1832, the state of SC attempted to declare as null and void the federal government's tariffs, a declaration of a very strong version of states rights that would rear up again when SC led the movement of states to secede from the US during the civil war. Specifically, Kansans are concerned about China retaliating on USA sorghum exports. The probe was authorized under the seldom-used Section 232 of the 1962 Trade Expansion Act, which gives the president broad powers to impose restrictions on domestic security grounds.

Come to think of it, why did all these Republicans - who heard Trump's anti-immigrant and anti-free trade message over and over again in the campaign - not believe him? "This is very hard, I think, to address by legislation, and it's obvious the president certainly has his mind made up", Roberts said. For good measure, he lectured Trump and his enablers: "Tariffs will not add thousands of American jobs".

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"I'm disappointed because we just passed a tax bill and this kind of flies in the face of that".

Both Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch of Utah and Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee Chairman Ron Johnson of Wisconsin are planning hearings in coming weeks about the decision.

When Trump first brought up tariffs last week, "no one at the State Department, the Treasury Department or the Defense Department had been told that a new policy was about to be announced or given an opportunity to weigh in in advance", according to an NBC report. Furthermore, using "national security" as an excuse to unilaterally impose tariffs opens the door for other countries to do the same - allowing them to bypass long-established worldwide trade rules to gain an unfair advantage over American businesses and workers. Party leaders have voiced rare public concern about the president's policies. They believe that the tariffs could stimulate a trade war between the US and China.

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To block the tariffs, even temporarily, opponents would have to convince a judge that they're likely to win and that they'd suffer irreparable harm if the tariffs go into effect.

The Business Roundtable also blasted Trump: "These tariffs are a major unforced error by President Trump, putting America's economic progress at risk".

"I think we're going completely the wrong direction", Flake said. Roy Blunt, R-Mo.

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"I seriously question whether you'll have enough Republican senators who want to cross the President in this way", Flake admitted to reporters on Tuesday. Jeff Flake on Sunday said President Trump needs a 2020 challenge from someone who holds Flake's traditional conservative views.

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