Trump's unlikely allies on trade: Democrats

Nellie Chapman
March 13, 2018

"I disagree with this action and fear its unintended consequences", House Speaker Paul Ryan said.

Noting that the United States should focus on China's metals sales that are "trans-shipped" through other countries at unfair prices, Ryan said: "I really think the best policy is to be surgical and specific".

One of the GOP's major donors, Charles Koch, wrote in The Post: "The administration's recent decision to impose major steel and aluminum tariffs - on top of higher tariffs on washing machines and solar panels - will have the same harmful effect". For good measure, he lectured Trump and his enablers: "Tariffs will not add thousands of American jobs".

The tariffs will not initially apply to Canada and Mexico, the president said, adding security and trade partners could negotiate to seek exemptions.

Since taking office, no issue has pitted Trump against his allies in Congress more than the tariff dispute has.

Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., introduced legislation that would nullify the tariffs.

Even Senator Tom Cotton, a reliable ally of the president, made the case against the tariffs.

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The rally was sprinkled with mentions of Saccone and the election in general, but for the most part, according to The New York Times, was "in-his-element Trump, vintage 2016: Rambling and fiery, boastful and jocular - the part of being president that he loves perhaps the most".

Sen. Mike Lee, a Republican from Utah, is proposing legislation that would generally require future tariffs to get congressional approval. "The Department of Defense assesses that its programs are able to acquire all the steel and aluminum necessary to meet national defense requirements".

Even some of Trump's most ardent defenders seemed ready for a fight.

"Simply put: This is a tax hike on American manufacturers, workers and consumers".

Whatever Washington lawmakers opt to do, they will have to reach a two-thirds majority vote to overcome a presidential veto - forcing Republicans to find support among the Democratic opposition, a challenge in its own right. It is the biggest break in Republican unity during the Trump administration so far. Metal industry trade groups in China called for retaliation, targeting imports ranging from "stainless steel and electronics to coal and farm products", as Market Watch reported. It's a tax. It's big government. And it's a recipe for killing growth.

In making the long-awaited announcement Thursday, Trump says the USA industry has been "ravaged by aggressive foreign trade practices".

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