GOP Senator introducing bill to nullify steel tariffs

BY KAT SHEPHERD / MARCH 12, 2018 /

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Arizona’s Republican Sen. Jeff Flake has made no secret of his contempt for President Donald Trump. After suggesting over the weekend that Trump should be challenged in the 2020 primaries, he went on to introduce legislation Monday to invalidate Trump’s steel and aluminum tariffs.

According to Flake: “If we enter a trade war, we risk reversing those gains we have made. We in Congress simply can’t be complicit as this administration courts economic disaster in this fashion.”

The Hill reports: Flake… made a wide-reaching pitch to his colleagues from the Senate floor, saying if they are concerned about the tariffs, support free trade or want to continue the recent economic gains then they should support his legislation.“You can be pro-growth; you can be pro-tariff, but you can’t be both. … I would urge my colleagues to join me in exercising our constitutional oversight and to invalidate these irresponsible tariffs,” he said.

Trump’s plan to slap a 25 percent tariff on imported steel and a 10 percent tariff on imported aluminum were met with pushback from congressional Republicans. But legislation invalidating the tariffs would be a hard sell, as Trump would need to sign the bill.

The report continues: That could force any proposal to need two-thirds support in both chambers of the Republican-controlled Congress in order to override a potential veto.

Flake, on Monday, appeared to knock the president over his rhetoric, saying trade is sometimes used as a “scapegoat” during campaigns. Trump had taken a hard line on trade agreements during his presidential campaign.

“I understand free trade is sometimes a challenge. I understand that it’s a challenge on the campaign trail, certainly. It’s often easier to point to a shuttered factory and blame trade or immigration or some other convenient scapegoat,” he said.