Senate tries to take a hand in Trump’s tariff war

By Erica Werner | Washington Post

WASHINGTON – The Senate voted resoundingly Wednesday to seek a congressional role in some of President Donald Trump’s tariff decisions, a symbolic rebuke reflecting growing GOP alarm over the president’s trade war.

The 88-11 vote came on a non-binding procedural measure asserting “a role for Congress” when Trump imposes tariffs in the name of national security, as he’s done with steel and aluminum tariffs on Canada, Mexico and the European Union.

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Although the provision is toothless, it represents the first concrete step by Republicans toward reining in a protectionist agenda that has upended decades of GOP dogma in support of free trade. Republicans have spent months wringing their hands over Trump’s trade moves and arguing against them in public and private, but have failed to do anything to stop them.

Wednesday’s vote does not achieve that goal either. But supporters presented it as an important statement, and potentially a first step toward ultimately passing legislation giving Congress veto power over some of Trump’s trade moves.

“Let’s be clear. This is a rebuke of the president’s abuse of trade authority,” said Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz. “I’m so glad that Congress is finally, finally pushing back on this. We have neglected our constitutional role.”

Previous efforts by Sens. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., and Patrick Toomey, R-Pa., to hold a vote on legislation requiring congressional sign-off on national security tariffs have been blocked, in one case by GOP leadership. Corker and Toomey said they plan to keep trying and expressed hope that Wednesday’s vote would provide momentum.

“This is a vote for Congress to assume its rightful role. It’s a baby step,” Corker said. “I hope to have legislation coming …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Business


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