Congressional Republicans threaten action over Trump's tariffs


Republican lawmakers opposing President Donald Trump's imposition of steel and aluminum tariffs said the White House may face lawsuits to block the duties, even as legal experts cast doubt that the cases would succeed. Ryan told Home Depot Inc. employees how they and their company will be helped by the tax cuts passed a year ago.

The tariffs will not initially apply to Canada and Mexico, the president said, adding security and trade partners could negotiate to seek exemptions.

"Members of the Senate, myself included, are concerned about the scope of the proposed tariffs on steel and aluminum and their impact on American citizens and businesses, including many I represent in Kentucky", McConnell said.

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.

House Speaker Paul Ryan of Wisconsin said he disagrees with the tariffs and will "continue to urge the administration to narrow this policy".

The looming departure of White House economic adviser Gary Cohn, a former Goldman Sachs executive who has opposed the promised tariffs, set off anxiety among business leaders and investors anxious about a potential trade war.

Trump last week indicated that he would impose 25 per cent tariff on imported steel and 10 per cent on imported aluminum.

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The president has said the tariffs are needed to reinforce lagging American steel and aluminum industries and protect national security.

His colleague Mike Lee, of the ultra-conservative Tea Party, immediately claimed congressional powers as defined in the Constitution's first article - which says the power to tax belongs to the legislature - promising "to make sure these tax hikes are never enforced".

Johnson said he expected Trump's action, which takes effect in 15 days, to be challenged in court.

All 435 seats in the House will be on ballots. "Don't weaken his hand", said Rep. Lou Barletta, R-Pa., a Trump ally who is running for the Senate in November.

"Unless the president reverses course, it will be American consumers, workers and families who will lose", Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein of California said. And Sen. Jeff Flake said he was already working on legislation to nullify the tariffs. He said he plans legislation that would nullify them.

The White House, however, held out the possibility of exemption or delayed execution of the order for some countries, notably neighbours Canada and Mexico with which the United States has been engaged in talks aimed at a revamp of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) that Trump has been insisting upon. "Far more jobs will be lost for other factory workers", Sasse said. "There may be people who lose less".