Senators Praise McConnell on Canceling August Recess

Leroy Wright
June 9, 2018

A bipartisan group of 10 senators introduced longshot legislation Wednesday that would require Congress to sign off on tariffs imposed in the name of national security, defying President Donald Trump on a bedrock issue that once defined the GOP.

But he says he'll pitch the idea more broadly when Republican senators convene Tuesday for their weekly lunch.

"Middle-class families will have their pockets picked with the aid and help of our Republican friends in the House and Senate", Schumer said.

Corker, who has had other brushes with Trump in the past, said last week that imposing tariffs against trading partners "is the wrong approach and represents an abuse of authority intended only for national security purposes".

Toomey, who was re-elected in 2016 and thus insulated from immediate voter blowback, engaged with the Trump administration on tariffs as early as March 8, calling them a mistake. It's not any different from him meeting with Kim Jong Un and, if they reach a deal, him bringing it to the Congress for approval. "I'd love to see a shutdown if we don't get this stuff taken care of", Trump warned at an immigration roundtable in February, just days before the last funding deadline.

That means it would undercut what has become a primary weapon in the administration's hardline ongoing trade negotiations with countries across the world - including close USA allies in the EU, Canada and Mexico. They want to lift recent steel and aluminum tariffs as well as those being proposed on goods from China. Brazil, Argentina and Australia agreed to limit steel exports to the U.S.to avoid tariffs.

This has anxious some Republican lawmakers who strongly back principles of free trade, warning that Trump could trigger a trade war that would destabilize the economy and ultimately hurt American workers. For a 60-day period following submission, legislation to approve the proposal will qualify for expedited consideration, guaranteeing the opportunity for debate and a vote.

The amendment advanced on the floor, and Democratic Sen.

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"To speak so disrespectfully - and, to me, in a demeaning tone - to the lieutenant governor, who happened to be the presiding officer, who happens to be a woman, really took my breath away", said Senator Shelley Mayer, one of two newly elected Democrats who have left that party just shy of the majority. "Until we can have reciprocal relationships, we will not have free trade, we will not have fair trade", Kudlow said.

In North Dakota, exporting is critical for farmers, ranchers and manufacturers, Heitkamp said, "but the administration's wrongheaded trade policies are putting their livelihoods in jeopardy".

The ruling GOP majority of the Senate suddenly adjourned the Senate's session for the week on Thursday when it became clear that the Republicans could not obtain the 32 votes needed to pass a bill due to the continued absence of a Navy-bound senator that tips the otherwise equally divided chamber membership.

The Senate will now recess for one week in August instead of four, said McConnell, R-Ky.

Corker acknowledged that an attempt to add the legislation to a defense measure may fail.

It's not as though the current Congress accomplished so much that it needs the break.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce quickly endorsed the proposal, saying "this modest proposal to clarify congressional prerogatives is welcome and long overdue".

"The US business and agriculture community is profoundly concerned about how newly imposed tariffs - and the inevitable foreign retaliation arriving in the next few weeks - will lead to lost American jobs", Bradley said in a statement.

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