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Trump conquers Republicans on trade

1 203 0
03.12.2019

President Donald Trump is winning at least one trade war: The one with his own party.

Free-trading Republicans have feuded with the president for years now, and his decision on Monday to reimpose tariffs on Brazil and Argentina brought new criticism from GOP senators — right as he needs them to fend off the impeachment inquiry threatens his presidency.

Yet despite the complaints from Senate Republicans that Trump is eroding his party’s free trade bona fides, the GOP seemingly can’t — or won’t — rally the votes to handcuff the president. Competing proposals that would give Congress more sway over certain tariffs have been languishing in the Senate Finance Committee, leaving more establishment-minded Republicans little option but to sit back and gripe and wonder what just hit them.

“I’m not a tariff person and he knows that,” said Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa). “If we can arrive at a good [trade] deal, that’s great, but I really, I hate the tariffs."

Trump’s move to deploy tariffs on the aluminum and steel imports for national security reasons is particularly galling for some.

"This provision is exclusively meant for national security threats. Yet, the president has acknowledged that the real purpose of this action is to combat currency manipulation — which does not pose a national security threat," said Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.). "Even if this action were legitimate, the........

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