The GOP is attempting to slow down President Trump’s fierce tariffs by introducing new laws that force him to seek Congressional approval. The new proposed legislation gives the GOP and other members of Congress up to 60 days to review, approve, or reject each tariff, giving lawmakers much more time to decide whether they’re in America’s best interest. The GOP’s plan does also include fast-track capabilities to ensure control and limit red tape in emergent scenarios.
• The proposed resolution passed through the Senate today, but including language in the budget that would limit presidential decisions when it comes to trade does not have to be included in the budget. However, the vote makes it clear that the Senate thinks Trump is abusing his power.
• GOP leaders have indicated that rapid-fire tariffs are putting the US at risk, especially with regard to countries like Mexico and Canada. Both have fired back with harsh tariffs on some of the US’s most critical industries in recent months.
• Congressional approval would slow down the process of creating new tariffs to control influx and outflux, which has been a significant part of the President’s plan to drive business back onto home soil.
• Not everyone agrees with the approach; even some of Trump’s staunchest supporters worry about the impact to American businesses. Exports to Canada and Mexico make up a significant portion of the US’ GDP; similarly, a high degree of American industry relies on foreign products.
• The GOP believes tariffs are needed, but that their creation must be balanced “in the interest of national security.” The introduction of approval legislation would ensure that any tariffs approved don’t backfire by damaging the economy or crippling industry in the process.
• If approved, the new measure will be retroactive back to 2016, when Trump first stepped into office, impacting all tariffs under Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962. It isn’t clear whether this would cause current tariffs on the steel industry to be repealed until they are re-approved by Congress.
• President Trump believes that such a change could significantly damage the US’s ability to put their foot down on trade inequality. He warned Republican Sens. Bob Corker (Tenn.) and Pat Toomey (Pa.) not to move forward with the plan in a recent telephone call.
• Corker agreed that Trump isn’t happy with his suggested changes, but indicated that his displeasure would not stop them from moving forward. “I talked at length with the president about it today. He’s obviously not pleased with this effort,” he explained, saying only that the had had a “heartfelt conversation.”
• Corker also stated that there is significant bipartisan support for stemming the President’s power to create new tariffs. “I don’t think there’s anybody on our side of the aisle that doesn’t understand that the 232 authority is being greatly abused.” He also stated that he has “responsibilities” to do what’s best for the country.