Due to Trump’s recent rhetoric on the possibility of placing tariffs on both steel and aluminum imports several Republicans are voicing concern and wanting Trump to reconsider the move. The causation of this concern is the recent economic and political backlash occurring. Spokeswomen Ashlee Strong for House Speaker Paul Ryan stated the following statement, “We are extremely worried about the consequences of a trade war and are urging the White House to not advance with this plan” (NPR). Likewise, many Republicans fear that the possibility of a trade war will have devastating impacts on the progress that has come from the recent tax law overhaul.
However, President Trump has downplayed these concerns. Trump voiced his backing for the tariffs by stating that the United States has been ripped off by both friend and foe in a trade thus there must be a punishment placed on these countries. However, President Trump did state that his Administration and he are renegotiating the North Atlantic Free Trade Agreement and are hoping that the new deal will succeed and will be signed soon, but Trump did state that if talks stall then he plans to terminate the free trade agreement. Yet, Congress is currently seeking countermeasures it can take against President Trump on this issue, but many Congressional leaders won’t seek defense if Trump goes ahead with the tariffs.
The Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady, R-Texas, and the panel’s trade subcommittee chairman, David Reichert, R-Wash., have jointly drafted a letter to the President of the United States voicing concerns over the impacts of the new tariff regiment being proposed.
Both Brady and Reichert are seeking additional signatures for the letter. Thus, overall it is in the hopes of many congressional members to “avoid a confrontation with the administration and instead work with the president to enact trade policies the broader GOP can get behind” (NPR).
Moreover, many of the Republicans hope that both the President and themselves can work on a party coherent policy on the trade that benefits the President’s already signature tax overhaul legislation and not destroy it. Additionally, it is expected that even the Senate Finance Chairman Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, will also do his part by mailing out another letter calling for the reconsideration of the proposed tariff regime. This is because he feels that the proposed tariffs will have a negative impact on the economy as well as the belief that the move will have consequences that will undermine any of their recent successes with the new tax overhaul legislation. Therefore, Senate Finance Chairman Orrin Hatch voiced that the ultimate takers of the punishment will be both the American firm and individual, who purchases the steel and aluminum products.
Yet, even with all the calls to step back from the implementation of tariffs, President Trump has not backed down on his intentions. Overall, this stance that Trump has taken is the simplest discontinuity with the Grand Old Party (aka GOP) on economic philosophy on trade. However, several Rust Belt Democrats have been the only cheerers for this policy stance.