Monday, March 05, 2018

Republicans in Congress move to block Trump tariffs

"Congressional Republicans are maneuvering to stop President Trump from levying harsh tariffs on steel and aluminum imports, arguing the move strikes at the heart of their economic agenda and could even cause political blowback heading into the 2018 midterms," The Washington Post reports.

AshLee Strong, a spokeswoman for House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.), said in a prepared statement, “We are extremely worried about the consequences of a trade war and are urging the White House to not advance with this plan. The new tax reform law has boosted the economy and we certainly don’t want to jeopardize those gains.”

On Twitter this morning, Trump linked the tariffs with the renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement, thus increasing pressure on Canada and Mexico: “Tariffs on Steel and Aluminum will only come off if new & fair NAFTA agreement is signed.”

"Senior officials said Sunday they don’t expect key partner countries such as Canada and Mexico to be excluded" from the tariffs, The Wall Street Journal reports. "Those two countries and others were exempted when former President George W. Bush imposed broad steel tariffs in 2002."

The Journal said in an editorial Friday, “The economic damage will quickly compound because other countries can and will retaliate against U.S. exports. Not steel, but against farm goods, Harley-Davidson motorcycles, Cummins engines, John Deere tractors, and much more.”

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