On Monday, Senator Jeff Flake of Arizona introduced legislation that will nullify President Donald Trump’s tariffs on steel and aluminum. Flake additionally warned that the White House is intent on courting “economic disaster” with such policies.
“If we enter a trade war, we risk reversing those gains we have made. We in Congress simply can’t be complicit as this administration courts economic disaster in this fashion,” Flake said.
Flake, who has been a vocal critic of President Trump, called on his colleagues from the Senate floor. The Senator, who is retiring after 2018, said that if the government is worried about tariffs, and if they support free trade or would like to continue to see economic gains, then Democrats and Republicans alike should support his legislation.
“You can be pro-growth; you can be pro-tariff, but you can’t be both. …I would urge my colleagues to join me in exercising our constitutional oversight and to invalidate these irresponsible tariffs,” he said.
Late last week, President Trump announced that the nation would be imposing a 25 percent tariff on steel imports and a 10 percent tariff on aluminum imports; and he went on to add later, that exemptions would be given to Canada and Mexico as they are in the midst of negotiating a bigger trade agreement.
Trump’s move has been met with a great deal of scrutiny among congressional Republicans – and leadership has signalled that they will do their best to mitigate the financial penalties that will arise.
Flake’s legislation to nullify the tariffs will most certainly be faced with an uphill battle – as even in passing, the President’s signature would be required on the bill. In order to override a possible veto situation, the proposal could be forced to see two-thirds support from both chambers in Congress.
On Monday, Flake criticized Trump’s rhetoric, saying that trade has the tendency to be used as a “scapegoat” during campaigns. The President had taken a hard-lined stance on trade agreements throughout his presidential campaign.
“I understand free trade is sometimes a challenge. I understand that it’s a challenge on the campaign trail, certainly. It’s often easier to point to a shuttered factory and blame trade or immigration or some other convenient scapegoat,” Flake said.
- America needs more critical thinkers like Flake in Politics – don’t you wish that he wasn’t retiring after 2018?