US Senate overwhelmingly approves symbolic motion challenging Trump's tariffs

Jack Daniel's whiskey displayed at Rossi's Deli in San Francisco

Jack Daniel's whiskey displayed at Rossi's Deli in San Francisco

Lawmakers have finally acted on their frustration with the Trump administration's growing use of tariffs.

The upper chamber approved the measure in a 88-11 vote. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., to ensure Congress can exercise oversight in the implementation of national security-designated tariffs on steel and aluminum imports from Canada, Mexico, and the European Union, according to a news release from Corker's office.

The administration on Tuesday ramped up its trade dispute with China by announcing a possible second round of tariffs targeting a $200 billion list of Chinese goods.

The resolution instructs the committee working on differences between spending bills passed by the House and Senate to add a rule giving Congress a say on whether tariffs can be imposed in the name of national security.

Some lawmakers have spoken out against his policies on trade and in other areas but they have not used tactics such as withholding votes for his nominees as a way of influencing the White House. Many countries have responded by imposing retaliatory tariffs on USA products.

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Sen. Bob Corker, who co-authored the bill, called it a "baby step" meant to build momentum, since the committee doesn't have to follow the measure's instructions.

Section 232 is the provision of trade law that gives the president authority to unilaterally level tariffs if he determines that foreign imports threaten USA national security.

Trump's multi-front trade war, they charged, is killing jobs in the USA and driving friends away, just when they're needed to counter the real economic menace: China. "This is an abuse of presidential authority".

Trump was in Brussels on Wednesday meeting with world leaders gathered for the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation summit, and trade was on the president's mind. In a series of Twitter posts, Trump said "other countries' trade barriers and tariffs" harm USA farmers. "Get a vote and it's dropped", Flake said. Corker said no one ever anticipated that a president would use that authority the way Trump has done. "I believe he wants only one thing for America, and that's results and a level playing field with the rest of the world", Perdue said. Todd Young noted Thursday as both Republicans and Democrats on the Senate foreign-relations committee slammed President Donald Trump's confrontational trade policy.

"The administration's global Section 232 tariffs on steel and aluminum - now imposed on all but a few countries - are hurting the very workers and families the administration aims to protect while doing little to address a real problem in the global economy, which is overcapacity in steel", said Mr. Bolten in his written testimony.

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