"Going ahead, that could all be reversed with a trade war", Flake said.
The Arizona Republican explained that he couldn't get re-elected in his party right now because he believes in free trade and has expressed reservations towards the president, who is a member of his party.
"It's a conundrum, really, because you do not want 100 senators and our counterparts in the House doing basically any trade initiative".
"The Constitution gives the responsibility to the Congress and the Congress has consistently delegated these powers to the executive branch", Sasse said.
The Trump administration's economic plan to implement a 25 percent steel tariff and a 10 percent aluminum tariff, and with potential exemptions for bilateral trade partners, is being met with resistance within the president's own Republican Party. Lawmakers like Roberts fear retaliation from foreign nations on US exports, and agriculture is primed to take a hit.
Red state leaders are freaking out, and not only because majority oppose Trump's protectionist agenda: Many realize the real damage could come when US trading partners strike back - and the states that are going to pay the highest price are the GOP states that voted for Trump.
US trade policy has always been written with the intent to give the president broad authority to handle worldwide trade without Congress nitpicking.
While Republicans came out against the trade measure, Flake is the first to announce a legislative response. "This is very hard, I think, to address by legislation, and it's obvious the president certainly has his mind made up", Roberts said.
In the case of these tariffs, the Republican leader used a 1962 law authorizing the president to tax certain imports in the name of national security protection - legislation rarely invoked in the past except in the notable case of oil. Even if Congress does act, it would likely need 67 votes to override an expected presidential veto in the Senate, a massive undertaking in a deeply divided body. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, said.
"Simply put: This is a tax hike on American manufacturers, workers and consumers", Hatch said on Twitter. And Democrat Conor Lamb, who is proving to be competitive in next week's special election in a Trump district outside of Pittsburgh, also backed the proposal - even using it to outflank his opponent, Rick Saccone, who also supports tariffs...
One of those bills is by Sen.
According to Section 232 of a USA trade law, the president can impose tariffs on imported materials for national security purposes. Roy Blunt, R-Mo. "And I don't blame my colleagues for just saying, 'Hey, you know, I'm just not going to comment anymore.' But I think it's our responsibility, at least at some point, when he goes so far, to stand up and say, 'This is not normal".
Trump, who announced his decision surrounded by steelworkers, said he was fulfilling a campaign promise.