The Hill: GOP leaders signal they will try to narrow Trump's tariffs

Donald Trump

Sen. Jeff Flake said Thursday he will draft legislation to nullify President Donald Trump's tariffs on steel and aluminum imports, calling them "a marriage of two lethal poisons to economic growth - protectionism and uncertainty".

While watchdog groups argue the payment may have violated federal elections law, Ryan - who was in Atlanta to speak with Home Depot employees about the Republican tax cut bill - indicated he couldn't care less.

European Union leader Jean-Claude Juncker also warned President Trump against imposing the tariffs, saying that EU nations would retaliate by placing similar tariffs on US imported products like Kentucky bourbon and blue jeans.

Trump, who announced his decision surrounded by steelworkers, said he was fulfilling a campaign promise.

The president reiterated that he would levy tariffs of 25 percent on imported steel and 10 percent on aluminum but would "have a right to go up or down depending on the country and I'll have a right to drop out countries or add countries".

There will nearly certainly be broad legal challenges of the Trump administration claim that protecting US steel and aluminum producers is necessary for national security, John Cornyn of Texas, the second-ranking Republican senator, said Friday.

Trump said he was "defending America's national security" by imposing the tariffs.

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Business leaders, meanwhile, continue to sound the alarm about the potential economic fallout from tariffs, with the president and CEO of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce raising the specter of a global trade war. "Our factories were left to rot and to rust all over the place", Trump said.

Republicans worked for days both behind the scenes and with public pleas to try to get Trump to back down, or significantly curtail, his threat of tariffs.

The tariff proclamation excludes Canada and Mexico and leaves the door open to sparing other countries on the basis of national security. House Speaker Paul Ryan released a statement following the tariff announcement that included no mention of any legislative effort or remedy.

There are a handful of Democrats who are on board with Trump's move, though. Sen.

Lawmakers from both parties said Trump's action on trade would hurt the economy and increase prices for consumers and businesses. "There is a lot of concern among Republican senators that this could sort of metastasize into a larger trade war", Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., told reporters.

"This isn't just bad for farmers and ranchers in Nebraska who need to buy a new tractor, it's also bad for the moms and dads who will lose their manufacturing jobs because fewer people can buy a more expensive product", he said.

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