Senate voices protest over Trump's aluminum, steel tariffs

How Trump's trade war could affect your wallet

Trump's tariffs on aluminum and steel draw protests from Senate

Although the provision is toothless, it represents the first concrete step by Republicans toward reining in a protectionist agenda that has upended decades of GOP dogma in support of free trade.

He was referring to recent moves by President Donald Trump to impose levies on imports of steel and aluminum from close allies including Canada, Mexico and Europe, and plans for some tariffs on automobiles and auto parts.

It was far from clear, though, that the large number of Republicans who voted in support of Wednesday's non-binding language would be willing to vote for legislation that would actually impose limits on Trump's authorities on trade.

"I'm very concerned about the president's trade policies and I think we all should be", Senator Bob Corker, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said at a hearing on tariff policy.

The administration on Tuesday ramped up its trade dispute with China by announcing a possible second round of tariffs targeting a $200 billion list of Chinese goods.

Wednesday's vote does not achieve that goal either.

"Our overriding concern now is that those gains will be entirely reversed by major missteps in USA trade policy", Bolten said.

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Sen. David Perdue, R-Ga., called on lawmakers to give the president "space" to negotiate better trade deals. He said he would do everything in his power to defeat any efforts to rescind them, but said he agreed that Congress should have a role when the tariffs are determined.

"The president is taking a different approach, sometimes controversial, but I believe he's a pragmatist". It asks senators selected to join their House counterparts in a conference committee on an appropriations bill to add language to amend the process of tariff imposition to require greater input from Congress.

Brown said he was voting in favor of the non-binding measure because Congress "should have a role in all trade policy".

Much of the hearing focused on the national-security tariffs, which the president was allowed to impose without Congress's usual say over trade measures.

Many Republicans argued that the tariffs were an abuse of presidential power, and lamented congressional decisions over the years to cede its constitutional authority over trade to the executive branch.

"It's not just an abuse of power ... it's also, I know, offensive to the Canadian people", Corker told the National Post later about the steel tariffs.

Lawmakers blasted witness Manisha Singh, assistant secretary of state for business and economic affairs, for what they say is the administration's failure to spell out a trade strategy and what they called unwarranted attacks on US allies.

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