- Kevin Lamarque/Reuters
- Two GOP senators, Orrin Hatch and Bob Corker, said Tuesday lawmakers could reign in President Donald Trump’s trade authority to block the president’s recent tariffs.
- “If the administration continues forward with its misguided and reckless reliance on tariffs, I will work to advance trade legislation to curtail presidential trade authority,” said Hatch, the Senate Finance Committee chairman.
Two top Republican lawmakers on Tuesday issued fresh warnings to President Donald Trump and hinted they could make legislative attempts to reign in his trade fights.
Sen. Orrin Hatch, the Republican chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, has previously expressed concerns about the damaging effects of Trump’s tariffs on the US economy. He took the warnings a step further Tuesday by suggesting that legislation may be needed to prevent further escalation.
“If the administration continues forward with its misguided and reckless reliance on tariffs, I will work to advance trade legislation to curtail presidential trade authority,” Hatch said during a speech on the Senate floor. “I am discussing legislative options with colleagues both on and off the Finance Committee and I will continue to do so.”
While most Republicans have expressed concern with the tariffs, most GOP members have stopped short of suggesting a legislative response to their party’s president. But given recent news about the detrimental impact of the tariffs on US companies like Harley-Davidson, the tide may be finally shifting in Congress.
The Senate passed a nonbinding resolution condemning the tariffs by a vote of 88 to 11 last Wednesday. While the vote was symbolic, GOP Sen. Jeff Flake – a vocal critic of many Trump policies – called the vote a “rebuke of the president’s abuse of trade authority.”
Sen. Bob Corker, another of the loudest critics of the president’s trade policy and an author of the resolution, suggested Tuesday that other GOP lawmakers were coming around to his plans to take trade policy authority back from Trump.
“The dam is finally breaking. Thankfully,” Corker tweeted. “As the president taxes Americans with tariffs, he pushes away our allies and further strengthens Putin. It is time for Congress to step up and take back our authorities.”
Trump has imposed tariffs on steel and aluminum imports, as well as Chinese goods, using two relatively obscure, decades-old trade laws. Allies including Canada, the European Union, and Mexico have charged that the actions are illegal under international trade rules.
Trump has also threatened a tariff on imported vehicles and auto parts, which would represent a massive escalation of the current trade battles.
While Hatch offered a warning to the president, the long-time senator from Utah also stressed that he wanted to work with the administration to address trade concerns first.
“I would much rather work with the administration to advance a trade agenda that serves the interests of the American people and job creators,” Hatch said.