Congressional Republicans Unlikely To Act To Counter Trump On Tariffs

The Associated Press

The Associated Press

Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-WI) speaks to the media after a House Republican conference on Capitol Hill in Washington Thomson Reuters WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Paul Ryan said on Thursday the United States should initiate "surgical" actions against China to stop it from dumping steel and aluminum instead of President Donald Trump's broader tariff plan.

While watchdog groups argue the payment may have violated federal elections law, Ryan - who was in Atlanta to speak with Home Depot employees about the Republican tax cut bill - indicated he couldn't care less.

Arizona's GOP congressional contingent is giving President Trump's tariff proposal mixed reviews.

Trump, who announced his decision surrounded by steelworkers, said he was fulfilling a campaign promise.

Republicans fear Trump's action risks distracting voters and disrupting the US economy just months before the midterm election that will test his protectionist policies, populist rhetoric and chaotic approach to the presidency.

"I disagree with this action and fear its unintended consequences".

The looming departure of White House economic adviser Gary Cohn, a former Goldman Sachs executive who has opposed the promised tariffs, set off anxiety among business leaders and investors anxious about a potential trade war.

Trump said he was "defending America's national security" by imposing the tariffs.

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"Our factories were left to rot, and to rust all over the place".

Another law grants extensive powers to the president to negotiate trade agreements, allowing some 15 accords to be struck since 1979. Others have said Congress needs to claw back some of the constitutional authority on trade that they have willingly handed over to the executive branch over the years.

There are a handful of Democrats who are on board with Trump's move, though. Sen.

Lawmakers have a finite amount of time to try to soften the tariffs.

Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., introduced legislation that would nullify the tariffs. He said he plans legislation that would nullify them. "Going ahead, that could all be reversed with a trade war", Flake said.

The White House, however, held out the possibility of exemption or delayed execution of the order for some countries, notably neighbours Canada and Mexico with which the USA has been engaged in talks aimed at a revamp of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) that Trump has been insisting upon.

"This isn't just bad for farmers and ranchers in Nebraska who need to buy a new tractor, it's also bad for the moms and dads who will lose their manufacturing jobs because fewer people can buy a more expensive product", he said.

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