Donald Trump found a tariff loophole and dove right through it to impose tariffs on our closest neighbors, Canada and Mexico, plus the EU, China. and others. The great divider must want to alienate the U.S. from century-old alliances. He may be succeeding.
Normally, the House and Senate would work to rein in an out-of-control president. It is their responsibility, but the Republican-led Congress has been strangely frozen in time. Stealing children from the arms of mothers’ seeking a safe harbor did not even move them to action. It took messing with tariffs to kick-start them.
Then, the wealthy conservative Republican donors, the Koch brothers, jumped onboard in a surprise move, joining the opposition to Trump.
Senator Bob Corker (R-TN) will not run again after this term, so he apparently feels freer to express his point of view. He plans to introduce a vital defense bill with an amendment limiting Trump’s ability to impose tariffs.
The bills called for the president to get Congress’ approval on tariffs tied to the national security loophole.
The idea that the man sitting in the Oval Office has imposed steel and aluminum tariffs on Canada using the grounds of national security is absurd. They are probably our closest ally — at least so far.
In a tweet, Trump wrote:
‘The US has made such bad trade deals over so many years that we can only WIN!’
The way the bill would work is that the president would have to send Congress his or her tariff proposals on nation security grounds. Then, its members would have to approve it within 60 days. The bill would not only apply to future requests, it would be retroactive for the previous two years.
Senator Cory Gardner (R-CO) was concerned about the commander-in-chief’s ability to veto this bill and said “doing anything up here is like pushing a major boulder uphill,” according to CNN:
‘Recognize that any legislative solution has to be signed by the President.’
Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) told CNN:
‘I don’t think there is a legislative response. Congress has already given the President pretty unilateral authority on trade matters, so I think we’re going to continue have the conversation and use the powers of persuasion.’
When reporters asked the senator if his powers of persuasion worked, he smiled:
‘Sometimes. Not always, but sometimes.’
Corker thought his bill received a good response:
‘It was warmly received. There will be some who have hesitations over politics.’
Senator Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND) was “very concerned:”
‘I’m very concerned about what is happening with trade kind of the whole big picture, and I think at some point here we need to have a discussion about the President’s ability to do things that are very disruptive to our economy in a unilateral fashion without congressional approval support.’
Senator Pat Toomey (R-PA) said this would force a tariffs vote:
‘We have a lot of tactics available to us. We’ll see. I’m hopeful we can do this in a cooperative fashion, but we’ve got lots of tools available.’
Gardner believed that Democrats were happy with Trump’s actions:
‘I think that there’s a lot of Democrats who are quietly like ‘look, this is great what he’s doing.’
Corker had several Democrats were working with him on this bill, and he had good bipartisan support.
Featured Image via Getty Images/Chip Somodevilla.